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How important is your name? What does it mean to you?
What’s in a name? A lot - when it comes to the name Seventh-day Adventist.* Understanding our name leads us to a greater understanding of and involvement in the Great Controversy between good and evil. It demonstrates and challenges involvement in both God’s glory and His creation.
What does the name Seventh-day Adventist mean to you? Does it inform your daily life? Some ask this question by saying, “Are you a Seventh-day Adventist or a SEVEN-day Adventist?” Meaning does the name of your denomination define your church or your life? Let’s explore what it means to be focused on and driven by both the “Seventh-day” and the “Adventist” that combine to identify us as a people.
The first part - “Seventh-day” - reaches back.
For ancient Israel, Sabbath was a reminder of freedom from the oppression of Egypt. In Deuteronomy, as Moses recounts the commandments of God to the people of Israel prior to entering the Promised Land, he says, “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15).**
They were slaves in Egypt. We were slaves to sin. God planned and executed a perfect rescue mission. He saved His people - both now and then, us and them. Sabbath recognizes and remembers our freedom from sin, our salvation, and our abandonment of all that is from the old life. On Sabbath we stop pining for Egypt. We rest. We worship. We reconcile. We celebrate. On Sabbath, we remember.
“Seventy-day” reaches even further back than the Egypt rescue mission. It reaches to a time before humanity needed saving from anything. A time of perfection. A time of beginnings. A time when God walked the Earth with mankind. Sabbath is a reminder that our God is the Creator of all that is good. “By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation” (Genesis 2:2-3).
We were created to live in cooperation with creation. We are to care for it, to work the ground, to rest the ground. “God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27). And the next day, He rested - as a memorial of creation. The Sabbath reminds us to care about creation. Resting is a big part of that. We are not to overuse or abuse the Earth or our own bodies. The seventh day, each week, is a day to remember not just that you are free from slavery to sin, but that you were created in God’s image.
There is much more that could be said about the first half of the Seventh-day Adventist name. Isaiah, speaking for God, promises this special day of communion, memory and promise will exist forever when he writes, “All mankind will come to worship Me from one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another” (Isaiah 66:23). The Sabbath - the seventh-day - is from creation to eternity.
But “Seventh-day” is only half of what the name Seventh-day Adventist represents.
** Continued in Seventh-day “Adventist” tomorrow **
"The Sabbath" - The Desire of Ages, pp. 281-289