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Answers to Objections

Objection 35

Noted astronomers have discovered that our world is twenty-four hours behind the rest of the universe in point of time. The Bible record of Joshua's long day—twenty-three hours and twenty minutes—and of the turning back of the sun forty minutes in Hezekiah's day, accounts for this twenty-four hours. Hence both Jews and Seventh-day Adventists are wrong about the time of the Sabbath. Our blessed Lord brought the Sabbath and the first day of the week together, merging them into the glorious day on which He arose from the dead, the day we celebrate as the Sabbath.

Briefly, the answer to this remarkable objection is as follows:

  1. It proves too much, which is the most fatal weakness of any piece of reasoning. According to it the Sabbath and Sunday were merged long before the resurrection. They were virtually merged at the time of Joshua, with a forty-minute refinement at the time of Hezekiah. That is all other way of saying that the Jews actually kept Sunday. And if that be so, then certainly most Christians today are not keeping either the Sabbath or Sunday, for they are keeping the day that follows immediately after the day held sacred by Jews.

  2. Is it reasonable to believe that God would answer the prayer of His servant Joshua in such a manner as to confuse tile reckoning of time so that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to give obedience to the Sabbath law? Sundaykeepers today ring the changes on what they describe as the legalistic quality of the Jewish dispensation, declaring that everything was governed then by rigid law in contrast to our present period of grace. And they never fail to remind us that the Sabbath law was so exacting in those times that a man could be put to death for breaking that law.

    But now, behold, we are asked to conclude that Moses had scarcely gone to his rest before the Lord worked a miracle through Joshua that broke the cycle of time and certainly gave to the Sabbath an elasticity that has never revealed itself in the Christian Era. At least no one has ever claimed that the sun has been made to stand still in the Christian age.

    We read of Nehemiah's holy jealousy for God's day that led him to close the gates of Jerusalem as it began to grow dark on the eve of the Sabbath. What a fine opportunity that would have been for his opponents to remind him that only a short while before, in the days of Hezekiah, there was a difference of forty minutes in the arrival of the Sabbath, and that therefore it was quite an elastic affair anyway, and no one should be exercised about the matter. But we find no record of anything like this occurring in the dispute between Nehemiah and those who were breaking the Sahbath. We do find references there and elsewhere throughout the Old Testament that discuss the divine obligation of the Sabbath and the penalties that would descend upon the disobedient. Neither Nehemiah nor any other of the inspired writers were aware of shifting time. Their messages all breathe the conviction that the Sabbath is a fixed day, the reckoning of which can be easily computed, so definite indeed that the guilty have no excuse, and should justly suffer dire punishment.

  3. The closing verses of the twenty-third chapter of Luke and the opening verse of the twenty-fourth chapter forever settle the question of the relationship of a certain day to the Sabbath command. Christians generally are in agreement that Christ was crucified on Friday, and that He rose on Sunday. The day in between is described as "the sabbath day according to the commandment." The language is simple and explicit. Anyone who reads the Sabbath commandment and wishes to free himself from all uncertainties of the logical discussion has only to read this passage in Luke.

    We need not be astronomers, we need not have a knowledge of all past time, or be able to settle all the dark questions about chronology, in order to be clear concerning the Sabbath commandment. Luke, who along with the other Gospel writers gave us the inspired record of the Saviour on which our Christian religion depends, informs us that there is a certain day which is "the sabbath day according to the commandment.'' It is the day following this that Sundaykeepers revere. Luke knew nothing about a merging of days because of Joshua and Hezekiah. The day that Christ lay in the grave is the sabbath day according to the commandment," and the next day is described simply as "the first day of the week."

  4. However, someone may inquire at this point, "But what are you going to do about the Bible record concerning Joshua and Hezekiah?" We don't believe we need to do anything about the record. We are very willing to let it stand, and we believe it. We insist only that all the rest of the record in the Bible also be permitted to stand, such as the references that have been cited. The Bible is always its own best interpreter. If, despite amazing and baffling miracles, we still find God's prophets commanding obedience to a definite holy day, and Luke informing us that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath day according to the commandment, then we are in no darkness whatever as to how to give explicit obedience to God's command. The shadow on Hezekiah's sundial was never intended to cast a shadow on the Sabbath, nor did God work a bright miracle to help an ancient warrior in fighting the battles of the Lord so that modern warriors might find weapons to aid them in their fight against God's Sabbath command. What an irony if the additional light given on that eventful day of battle long ago should throw darkness ever afterward on the Sabbath, indeed, should give us neither a definitely defined Sabbath day nor a clear-cut Sunday, but something that was forty minutes from being either until Hezekiah's day.

  5. It is always a favorite strategy in debate to claim that eminent scientists are on your side. Perhaps some astronomer has worked out certain cycles back through the millenniums that lead him to conclude there is a difference of twenty-four hours in time between our world and the rest of the universe. We say "perhaps," for we have never heard of such a discovery. But what of it? We do not have to travel into interstellar space to find a difference in reckoning. We can cross the Pacific and find a difference of twenty-four hours. Yet no matter on what side of the Pacific a man lives, there seems to be no difficulty in keeping the accurate reckoning of time down through the centuries. In fact, Sundaykeepers in Australia are just as certain that they are keeping the correct first day of the week in cycles of seven from the resurrection day as are those in the mother country, England. Indeed, in both countries the certainty is so great that Sunday laws have been enacted to enforce observance of the day. It is bad enough for Sabbath opponents to attempt to lose the seventh-day Sabbath by traveling around the world, though they never lose Sunday, but what is to be said for the man who seeks to carry us into the uncharted reaches of interstellar space in order to lose God's holy day? However, we would say right here that for anyone to make a sweeping claim as to the exact relationship in time of our solar system to all the rest of the universe is to make a claim that cannot be substantiated.

  6. Finally, it should be remembered that the Bible way of reckoning days is from sunset to sunset. Therefore, the lengthening out of the day in some miraculous way in Joshua's time would not break the cycle of seven in counting days according to Bible reckoning. After all, we are dealing with a Bible institution and not with a question of chronometers or stop watches or even astronomers. We need not explore the mystery of the long day in Joshua's time in order to be sure that we keep the correct time in relation to God's holy Sabbath day.

For a scientific, astronometric account of the "lost day," see our page at this link.

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