Bible Study Guides – The Sabbath After Eden

October 8, 2006 – October 14, 2006

Key Text

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 307, 308.


“Before the Fall our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which was instituted in Eden; and after their expulsion from Paradise they continued its observance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 80.

“A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day. [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; [it is] that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, Lord, [art most] high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.” Psalm 92:1–10.

1 What did Adam and Eve obtain after they had disobeyed God? Genesis 3:5.

note: “In the Garden of Eden was the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil. . . . And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat.’ Genesis 2:9–17. It was the will of God that Adam and Eve should not know evil. The knowledge of good had been freely given them; but the knowledge of evil,—of sin and its results, of wearing toil, of anxious care, of disappointment and grief, of pain and death,—this was in love withheld.” Education, 23.

“It was not the will of God that this sinless pair should have any knowledge of evil. He had freely given them the good, but withheld the evil. Eve . . . ate, and was delighted with the fruit. It seemed delicious to her taste, and she imagined that she realized in herself the wonderful effects of the fruit. She took the fruit and found her husband and related to him the words spoken by the serpent, and told him that by eating the fruit she had felt, instead of death, a pleasing influence. As soon as Eve had disobeyed, she became a powerful medium through which to occasion the fall of her husband.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 41, 42.

2 Did having the knowledge of sin then exclude Adam and Eve from observing the Sabbath? Exodus 31:16, 17.

note: “Before the Fall our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which was instituted in Eden; and after their expulsion from Paradise they continued its observance. They had tasted the bitter fruits of disobedience, and had learned what every one that tramples upon God’s commandments will sooner or later learn—that the divine precepts are sacred and immutable, and that the penalty of transgression will surely be inflicted. The Sabbath was honored by all the children of Adam that remained loyal to God. But Cain and his descendants did not respect the day upon which God had rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest, regardless of Jehovah’s express command.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 80, 81.

3 How long has the ten-commandment law been in existence? Psalm 119:151, 152.

note: “The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. ‘Concerning thy testimonies,’ says the psalmist, ‘I have known of old that thou hast founded them forever.’ [Psalm 119:152.]” The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1886.

“The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was instituted in Eden. After God had made the world, and created man upon the earth, he made the Sabbath for man. After Adam’s sin and fall nothing was taken from the law of God. The principles of the ten commandments existed before the fall, and were of a character suited to the condition of a holy order of beings. After the fall, the principles of those precepts were not changed, but additional precepts were given to meet man in his fallen state.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 295.

4 Can God’s Law ever be changed? Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17.

note: “The Father did not yield up his dearly beloved Son without a struggle, whether to let guilty man perish or to give his Son to die for the lost race. It was impossible for God to change his law, or give up the smallest part of its claims, in order to save man; therefore he suffered his Son to die for man’s transgression.” The Signs of the Times, January 30, 1879.

“Through Jesus, God’s mercy was manifested to men; but mercy does not set aside justice. The law reveals the attributes of God’s character, and not a jot or tittle of it could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man’s redemption. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 11 Corinthians 5:19.” The Desire of Ages, 762.

“Could the law have been changed, Christ need not have died. But it was impossible for God to change.” Review and Herald, September 24, 1901.

5 Where in the Bible do we find the Sabbath clearly explained to us? Exodus 20:8–11; Deuteronomy 5:12–15.

note: “In the third month they came to the desert of Sinai, and there the law was spoken from the mount in awful grandeur. During their stay in Egypt, Israel had so long heard and seen idolatry practised [sic] that to a large degree they had lost their knowledge of God and of his law, and their sense of the importance and sacredness of the Sabbath; the law was given a second time to call these things to their remembrance. In God’s statutes was defined practical religion for all mankind. Before Israel was placed the true standard of righteousness.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1898.

6 What is our duty with regards to all ten of the precepts of God’s Law? Deuteronomy 27:9, 10, 26; 1 John 3:4; Romans 6:23; Ecclesiastes 12:13.

note: “In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowledge of God’s law, and they had departed from its precepts. The Sabbath had been generally disregarded, and the exactions of their taskmasters made its observance apparently impossible. But Moses had shown his people that obedience to God was the first condition of deliverance; and the efforts made to restore the observance of the Sabbath had come to the notice of their oppressors.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 258.

“John brings the commandments of God to view away down this side of the crucifixion of Christ, and shows their positive, binding claims upon men. Those who have taken the position that the commandments of God were done away when Christ hung upon the cross, are in harmony with the great deceiver. God has made his constitution and his laws, and he can encircle in his arms those who are obedient, and shield them from the powerful deceptions of Satan. When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath, and the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Review and Herald, July 15, 1890.

7 By the fourth commandment all are required to “remember” the One who created the heavens and the earth. How does the fourth commandment protect us from idolatry? Jeremiah 10:10–12 (cf. Exodus 20:3–6.)

note: “Every man in God’s world is under the laws of His government. God has placed the Sabbath in the bosom of the Decalogue, and has made it the criterion of obedience. Through it we may learn of His power, as displayed in His works and His Word. But today the world is following the example of those that lived before the flood. Now, as then, men choose to follow their own inclinations, rather than to obey the commandments of God. The inhabitants of the antediluvian world glorified themselves instead of commemorating the glorious works of creation. They did not obey the law of God; they did not honor the Sabbath. Had they done this, they would have recognized their duty to their Creator. This was the original and supreme object of the command, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.]” Signs of the Times, March 31, 1898.

8 What is the role of the Sabbath among the Ten Commandments?

note: “Every man has been placed on trial, as were Adam and Eve in Eden. As the tree of knowledge was placed in the midst of the garden of Eden, so the Sabbath command is placed in the midst of the decalogue. In regard to the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the restriction was made, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, . . . lest ye die.’ [Genesis 3:3.] Of the Sabbath, God said, Ye shall not defile it, but keep it holy. ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.] As the tree of knowledge was the test of Adam’s obedience, so the fourth command is the test that God has given to prove the loyalty of all his people.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1898.

9 How important is it that we come to know God? John 17:3.

10 Is there any danger that the people of God may forget Him? Deuteronomy 8:11.

11 What blessing is promised to the obedient? Isaiah 56:1, 2; 58:12–14.

note: “Here is our test which God has made, and He will fulfill His word, if human agents will show their love to God in keeping all His commandments. If they reverence the Sabbath, which is engraved on the first table of stone, they will keep the first three commandments, and the last six will reveal the duty of man to his fellow man; for the Sabbath sign is the covenant between God and man. It is the golden clasp which unites man to God in supreme obedience and reverence, and which unites man to his fellow man.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 89.

“In these last days there is a call from Heaven inviting you to keep the statutes and ordinances of the Lord. The world has set at naught the law of Jehovah; but God will not be left without a witness to his righteousness, or without a people in the earth to proclaim his truth. The door of the heavenly sanctuary has been opened, and no man can shut it, and the light of the Holy of Holies is shining into the world. The people of God have had their attention called to the ark of the testimony, and the law within it has been revealed with its unalterable precepts. In holy vision, John saw the remnant church on the earth, in an age of lawlessness, and he points them out in unmistakable language: ‘Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ [Revelation 14:12.] They are in harmony with that law that rests in the ark in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. The whole duty of man is summed up in its sacred precepts. In the heart of the law is the commandment enjoining upon man the observance of the Sabbath of Jehovah, which the world and the church have trodden under their feet. For centuries men have walked in blindness concerning the true Sabbath, and the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now is the day of reformation, and he calls upon men everywhere to repent. When the light of God’s disregarded commandment shone upon the path of those who sincerely loved God, they delayed not to keep his statutes. They realized that they must come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean, that they might claim the promise, ‘I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ [11 Corinthians 6:17, last part, 18.] They became the repairers of the breach that has been made in the law of God, because they turned away their feet from the Sabbath, from doing their pleasure on God’s holy day, and called the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and did honor him, not speaking their own words or finding their own pleasure.” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888.

Personal Review

A Test to Our Generation—“Now the question is, Will we ally ourselves with those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus? Will we cease to trample upon the Sabbath of the Lord our God? We want to be sure that we are the children of light; that we are following in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Example. The cross lies in our pathway, but shall we not take it up and bear it for his sake who bore the cross for us?” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888.

“The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.

“The Sabbath is a test to this generation. In obeying the fourth commandment in spirit and truth, men will obey all the precepts of the Decalogue. To fulfill this commandment one must love God supremely, and exercise love toward all the creatures that He has made.

“The time is coming when God’s people will feel the hand of persecution because they keep holy the seventh day. . . . The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, and who has always oppressed the people of God, will cause laws to be made enforcing the observance of the first day of the week. But God’s people are to stand firm for Him.” The Faith I Live By, 291.

Unflinching Testimony—“Let no one yield to temptation and become less fervent in his attachment to God’s law because of the contempt placed upon it; for that is the very thing that should make us pray with all our heart, and soul, and voice, ‘It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.’ Psalm 119:126. Therefore, because of the universal contempt, I will not turn traitor when God will be most glorified and most honored by my loyalty. . . .

“Shall Seventh-day Adventists relax their devotedness when all their capabilities and powers should be placed on the Lord’s side; when an unflinching testimony, noble and uplifting, should come from their lips? ‘Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.’ Psalm 119:127. When the law of God is most derided and brought into the most contempt, then it is time for every true follower of Christ . . . to stand unflinchingly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Ibid.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.