To answer misconceptions and intentional twisting of God’s Word by Eli Soriano in his blog “The True Sabbath for a True Christian is…” is the purpose of this article. I suggest to the readers to read his article first before reading down below.
Even Before Eli Soriano Was Born
“You were erroneously carried by the misinterpretation of these verses by the leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. When the Lord Jesus Christ said that, He “Is come not to destroy the laws and the prophets, but to fulfill”, authorities of the SDAC recklessly interpreted that the “laws” and the “prophets” meant by the Lord are the Ten Commandments;”
Once again in order for Mr. Soriano to lift himself up to the delight of his fans, Eli Soriano did his favorite style in criticizing others, Strawman Fallacy: by putting his own crafted words into others’ mouth, and attacking it as though he successfully refuted others’ beliefs.
Eli Soriano would like his readers to believe that SDAs do not regard the phrase “law and the prophets” as pertaining to the Old Testaments books. He wanted to imply that SDAs’ understanding of the phrase “law and the prophets” is the Ten Commandments only.
Unfortunately for Mr. Soriano, even before he was born SDAs already acknowledge the fact that the phrase “law and the prophets” or “the law, psalm, and the prophets” would mean the inspired books of the Old Testament. That is a no-brainer stuff.
Mr. Soriano Avoided The Surrounding Verses of Matthew 5:17
To prove his point that SDAs got it wrong, Soriano actually jumped immediately to Hebrew 10:7 and Luke 24:44 instead of looking for some clues first from the surrounding verses of Matthew 5:17.
Hebrews 10:7) “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
Note the phrase “written of me”, meaning, the will of God for Him to accomplish. Does it mean the Ten Commandments?
(Luke 24:44) “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”
Note again that He is going to fulfill those that were written in the Law of Moses, in the prophets and in the psalms concerning Him.
Yes, of course SDAs also believe that Jesus fulfilled the written prophecies concerning Him in the “law and the prophets” or the Old Testament. But that is not the only point of Matthew 5:17! Matthew 5:17 is actually the summary of Jesus’ relationship with the Scriptures (Old Testament books back then). If only Mr. Soriano will consider the next few verses he will realize that Jesus is telling him more than the “fulfilling of the prophecies concerning Him”.
Jesus knew that someday false teachers will come and will twist His words, and thus He gave examples in the very next verses. To be clear which law He was referring to, Jesus continued with this:
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments…” Matthew 5:19. Certainly Jesus was referring to the “commandments” rather than “the prophecies concerning Him”!
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill;..” Matthew 5:21. That’s it! Very straight forward. Jesus was referring to one of the commandments from the Ten Commandments!
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery…” Matthew 5:27. What else can we say? Crystal clear! Jesus, indeed, had the Ten Commandments in mind when He mentioned “do not think that I am come to destroy the law…”.
So do SDAs got it wrong when we say that Jesus was also referring to the Ten Commandments when He said that “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”? I don’t think so.
So do SDAS got it wrong when we teach that Jesus was referring to the Ten Commandments when He said “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”? The surrounding verses prove that Mr. Soriano is wrong.
Was Jesus Referring Only To the ‘Prophecies Concerning Him’ When He Mentioned The “Law and the Prophets” in Matthew 5:17?
Note again that He is going to fulfill those that were written in the Law of Moses, in the prophets and in the psalms concerning Him.
Mr. Soriano would like us to believe that it is only the prophecies concerning Jesus that He will fulfill when He mentioned the “law and the prophets” in Matthew 5:17.
Again, let’s look at the surrounding verses. Take note of the word “whosoever” in the next verses.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19
Does the word “whosoever” sounds that Jesus was referring only to the written prophecies exclusively for Him to fulfill? Not really. If Mr. Soriano is right, then the passage should say:
“If I therefore break one of these least commandments and I teach men, then I shall be called…. But if I shall do and teach Myself then I shall be called…”
See the point? Jesus used the word “whosoever” because He is talking about commandments and laws which others can obey as well, not only Himself! And thus He is not only referring to the prophecies exclusively for Himself to fulfill. He was also referring to the laws where anyone can obey and teach others.
And so the surrounding verses again prove that Mr. Soriano is once again hiding or avoiding the truth by not including the surrounding verses in his analysis of Matthew 5:17.
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The Righteous Are Exempted To Obey God’s Moral Law?
Why not the Ten Commandments? Because the Ten Commandments were not meant for Christ!
(1 Timothy 1:9-11) “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
Consider that the Ten Commandments were not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient! Jesus Christ is righteous and obedient.
Mr. Soriano wanted us to believe that the righteous are exempted in obeying the Ten Commandments. In my opinion, that is crazy, specially if it is being taught by somebody who boasts of being biblically-wise and God-sent. That teaching is exactly the words that Satan wanted to hear from the preachers of today: to neglect the very commandments of God!
I will let other Bible scholar who are more knowledgeable than Eli Soriano to comment on that verse.
It cannot be supposed, moreover, that the apostle meant to say that the law was not binding on a righteous man, or that he was under no obligation to obey it – for he everywhere teaches that the moral law is obligatory on all mankind.
To suppose also that a righteous man is released from the obligation to obey the law, that is, to do right, is an absurdity.
– Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes .
If only Mr. Soriano will study deeply and reconsider what he is preaching he will realize that what he is saying is indeed an absurdity!
Why will God, a God of law and order, exempts the righteous from obeying the law? So that righteous people will go back to lawlessness? Certainly not!
The righteous are declared righteous because Jesus cleansed them, and that the righteous love to do righteousness in contrast to doing lawlessness. It means that the righteous are the ones who are upholding and obeying God’s laws. The righteous are not exempted but followers of God’s law.
The Greek word for “made” in the phrase “the law is not made” in 1 Timothy 1:19 is κεῖμαι (keimai) which means “ to lie outstretched”. And thus the phrase “dikaiw nomov ou keimai” (the law is not made) can be appropriately translated as, “the law does not lie as a weight or burden upon a righteous man”, and it fits perfectly on the context of the passage.
If there is a “No Smoking” sign in a room, that message directly affects the smokers; it is a burden to them. But it doesn’t mean that non-smokers are now free to smoke in that room. Likewise, obeying God’s moral law is a burden to those who love in sinning. But it does not mean that the righteous are now exempted from obeying it.
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Preaching Is Part of Keeping The Sabbath Holy
He went into the synagogue, not to keep the seventh day Sabbath but, to preach the gospel.
Soriano’s logic is that if one is preaching on the Sabbath day then that person is not keeping the Sabbath. That is totally nonsensical. If so, then those Jews who were preaching and reading God’s words in the synagogue every Sabbath were not Sabbath-keepers as well! What a reasoning!
Further, the Jews had made many accusations to Jesus for Sabbath-breaking such as healing the sick on the Sabbath day, etc. But the Jews never accused Jesus of Sabbath-breaking by the reason that Jesus preached on the Sabbath day. And so the preaching on the Sabbath day is not the issue, Mr. Soriano.
Let us consider how the people regarded Paul’s preaching in Jerusalem. Did they count preaching as part of worship?
“…This man persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.” Acts 18:13
The people who witnessed Paul considered his preaching as part of worshiping God. So if Paul preached on the Sabbath day, why will not it be part of sabbath-keeping, Mr. Soriano, specially if a preacher did it inside a synagogue? Mr. Soriano was not even in the vicinity and yet he has the guts of saying otherwise!
Now let’s consider Paul’s testimony:
“… I went up to worship in Jerusalem..” Acts 24:12.
And so, those preachings that Paul did was part of his worship to God. Preaching is not the same as doing business transactions on the Sabbath day. Preaching is proclaiming God’s kingdom. Preaching, healing, visiting the needy are the many things a sabbath-keeper can do on the sabbath day. Those were Jesus’ examples and so we should follow. I hope Mr. Soriano will learn a lesson from here: that preaching is part of a worship especially if done on a Sabbath day, and thus it is one of the many beautiful ways of keeping the Sabbath holy.
…and when the Sabbath keepers heard his preaching, they rose up against Him, wanting to destroy Him. Why would Sabbath keepers destroy a fellow Sabbath keeper?
Because some of the Jews cannot accept His preaching. Plain and simple. The contention is in the content of the message. Just because the audience did not receive the message would mean that Jesus is not a sabbath-keeper? What kind of logic is that? Jesus’ sabbath-keeping is not dependent on the acceptance of the crowd.
Will Mr. Soriano also accept that he is not a worshiper of God if somebody from the crowd did not agree with his messages? I doubt it.
Mr Soriano Agreed and Sided With The Enemies of Jesus
We do not only apply logic here, but verses to prove that Jesus Christ did not keep the Sabbath being kept by the Jews.
(John 5:18) “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
A careful reading and understanding of John 5:18 will help us to see that the passage is a record of the Jews’ accusations to Jesus. John was only recording what happened, but it does not mean that John agreed with the accusations. Let us remember that there are three accusations the Jews made against Jesus here:
- That Jesus broke the Sabbath
- That Jesus cannot call God His Father
- That Jesus cannot be equal to God
Do we honestly think that John agreed with all of these accusations? Of course not. John was only recording those accusations but not necessarily agreeing to what the accusers had said.
In order for Mr. Soriano to use this verse against sabbath-keeping, he should agree with all the three accusations and not just picking whatever suit his points, otherwise it would only mean that he is using the verse out of its context. If so then he cannot be trusted since he is misusing or misapplying the passage.
As professed Christians, let us ask ourselves this question: If someone accused Jesus of something will you believe the accusation? As a follower of Jesus which side will you take, Jesus or His accusers?
Unfortunately for Mr. Soriano, he agreed, seconded, and sided to the enemies of Jesus by quoting John 5:18 to prove that Jesus allegedly broke the Sabbath. That’s the reality for Mr. Soriano. He’s willing to take the side of God’s enemies just to avoid the Sabbath-keeping!
Do you really believe that the Son of God is a law-breaker? a sinner? The same Jews who accused Jesus of Sabbath-breaking were the ones who accused of Him of being a sinner.
John 9:24 “The leaders called the man back and said, “Swear by God to tell the truth! We know that Jesus is a sinner.” CEV
Satan wants you to believe that, and he is using the false teachers of the past and of today to convince you that way.
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Mr. Soriano Added His Pre-conceived Interpretation in Mark 2:27
Why do I say that He is not under obligation to keep the seventh day Sabbath?
(Mark 2:27-28) “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
Notice that He is Lord, also, of the Sabbath. The Lord is not under the Sabbath but, Sabbath is under Him. The verse said that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
Notice how Mr. Soriano put his own words in the passage of Mark 2:27. He started with a correct statement since it is directly quoted from the Bible…
Notice that He is Lord, also, of the Sabbath.
Yes. That’s true.
The Lord is not under the Sabbath
Oops! Wait. The verse did not say that. The verse says “The Son of man is also Lord of the Sabbath”. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath but it does not mean that Jesus is exempted to God’s law. In fact, Jesus’ teaching is that if one wants to be a master (or lord) he needs to be a servant first–meaning a follower. Jesus never teach that a lawmaker is above the law.
All throughout the life of Jesus on earth, we can see that He was obedient to all godly laws–even to the consequence of sin–death.
Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” ESV
Even God Himself Obeys His Own Commandment!
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work.” Genesis 2:2-3
Instead of exempting Himself from obeying the sacredness of His holy day, He actually followed the keeping of the Sabbath by resting on His day, making the Sabbath day holy and special.
Sabbath made for man = The Israelites (Deuteronomy 5:15)
Well, not only for the Israelites, but also for those who wanted to have physical and spiritual rest in Jesus. (This blog will explain it more). The Greek word used is ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) which means “human being”. The Bible never says, “the Sabbath was made for the Jewish man” nor it says “the Sabbath was made for a certain race”.
The Sabbath was given to mankind long before any single Jew or an Israelite exists. Let us think of this:
Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man. If the Sabbath was made only for the Israelites, then why will God make the Sabbath in the Creation where not a single Israelite is present yet? How can the Sabbath be useful if the intended recipients are not present yet? Meaning the Sabbath which was designed to be a blessing for man (Mark 2:27) was useless for more than 2,000 years until the Israelites came into existence!
Is that how your god works, Mr. Soriano?
Not A Record In Acts That The Disciples Congregate in Keeping The Sabbath?
Nowhere in the book of Acts (that discloses the activities of the first century Christian) church can you find a verse that the disciples congregate in keeping the Sabbath.
A lot actually! But Mr. Soriano will not accept the verses because of his nonsensical reasoning that preaching is not part of keeping the sabbath holy. That was already discussed above. And so we will cite a different verse here where believers gathered together to worship.
” And on the Sabbath we went outside the town, by the river, where we had an idea that there would be a place of prayer; and, being seated, we had talk with the women who had come together..” Acts 16:13 (BBE)
Is that not enough, Mr. Soriano? Notice, Mr. Soriano, that they were looking for a place of prayer, and there was a gathering, and it was on a Sabbath day! (More on this topic here).
Mr. Soriano’s Understanding of “Not Doing Any Work on the Sabbath Day” Is The Same With Understanding of The Enemies of Jesus
(Matthew 12:1-2) “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.”
You must remember that it is prohibited for Sabbath keepers to do any work on the seventh day. That is why the disciples and the apostles were charged by the Jews for not keeping their Sabbath.
Unfortunately for Mr. Soriano, his understanding of “any works that should not be done in the Sabbath day” is the same with Jesus enemies’ understanding of it, which includes those godly and good works.
Did God really made a law where people cannot do good works for one day? That is not my God. My God wanted me to do good and godly works all throughout the week!
The Bible explains itself on what should or should not be done on the Sabbath day.
“If you keep your feet from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable; and if you honor it by not going your own ways and seeking your own pleasure or speaking merely idle words..” Isaiah 58:13 ISV
“If you keep the Sabbath with care, not doing your business on my holy day; and if the Sabbath seems to you a delight, and the new moon of the Lord a thing to be honoured; and if you give respect to him by not doing your business, or going after your pleasure, or saying unholy words…” Isaiah 58:13 BBE
And thus, if one will merely pick a fruit and eat it to fill his need there is no violation of Sabbath-keeping there, especially if those individuals were busy preaching God’s words all throughout the week. That is exactly the meaning of “the Sabbath was made for man”—so that man may enjoy the blessings of the Sabbath, and the Sabbath should not be a burden for man.
It is actually the Jewish manner of Sabbath-keeping that Jesus broke, and not the Sabbath itself. The Jews believed that no one can heal a person on a Sabbath because it constitutes a work. But Jesus said “yes you can do good on the Sabbath day. And that includes healing, preaching, doing good works”.
The SDAs follow Jesus’ example of keeping the Sabbath, and not the Jews’ example.
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Mr. Soriano Is Rebuilding the Gap That Jesus Already Nailed on the Cross
There is a holy day for Christians; not like the day regarded holy by the Israelites.
With Eli Soriano’s teaching, It would mean that in the new heavens and new earth there will be two groups of saints. One group that comes together and worships God on Sabbath days as what Isaiah 66:23 tells us:
“From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD. “
And another group of saints are those who stays where they are or just don’t take part with the first group on the Sabbath day since they believe that Jesus is their Sabbath. Is that how God designed it to be? Without unity? To each his own?
Again, Mr. Soriano Avoided the Surrounding Verses
There is a holy day for Christians; not like the day regarded holy by the Israelites. The Apostle Paul speaks of it to former 7th day Sabbath keepers who were converted to Christianity.
And so Mr. Soriano read Hebrews 4:4-9 and continued with this
This day of rest is what ‘remaineth’ for the people of God in the New Testament. …What is this day?
It is mentioned in the Psalms of David, according to Paul.
There you go! Again, he immediately jumped to another book and completely avoided the very next phrase that will surely answer his question!
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” Heb 4:9-10
The “rest” that Paul is referring to is the same “rest” which God did! And what “rest” is that? The answer is also in the surrounding verse!
“For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” Hebrew 4:4
“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
It is crystal clear that the “rest” Paul mentioning here is the seventh-day Sabbath which God Himself kept by resting from His works. And we witnessed that by considering the surrounding verses first, rather than jumping to other books right away.
A New Day For Sabbath?
“He again fixes a definite day—”Today”—saying long afterward through David, as already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrew 4:7
Well, even Mr. Soriano cannot tell what day is that: Sunday? Monday? No. Why? Because the verse is not telling of another day as a day from the week. It is simply telling another chance not to harden hearts. And what day is that chance? “Today!” And so it can be any day. Simply, the verse is not telling of another day as a replacement for the seventh-day Sabbath.
Mr. Soriano’s Is Changing What The Verse Says
This Day is Jesus Christ: the true Sabbath or rest for Christians.
Well, we don’t argue that anyone who accepts Jesus will have that rest that he is looking for. No argument on that. But the Bible is clear: that the “Lord of the Sabbath” is different from the “Sabbath” itself.
“The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath…” (Mark 2:27). The verse does not say “The Son of Man IS the Sabbath”.
Mr. Soriano is once again removing Jesus’ lordship by relegating Him as a mere day of the week. How many times will Mr. Soriano demote our Lord?
Summary and Conclusion
And so we found out that Mr. Soriano committed Strawman fallacy to show as though he had made a point against SDA beliefs.
We also saw that Mr. Soriano avoided surrounding verses and immediately jumped to other books, just like what he has done before, to avoid the Biblical truth and inserted his crafted reasoning which totally twisted what the very passage says, and thus misguiding his readers.
We also witnessed how Mr. Soriano sided with Jesus’ enemies by using their accusations to support his belief. We also witnessed that Mr. Soriano’s understanding of “not doing any work” is the same with the understanding of the enemies of Jesus.
Again we saw how Mr. Soriano demoted Jesus from being the Lord of the Sabbath into a mere day of the week.
And so how can we trust this self-proclaimed ‘man of God’? He is presenting himself as though he knows a lot from the Bible and yet once an honest Bible student analyzes his teachings and the result of it, it actually directs others away from the real truth of the Bible, and worse make our God a laughing-stock for others to mock!
Beloved readers, the Sabbath was made by God to be a blessing to mankind. After God created man, He instituted the Sabbath right away so that men will have this habit of making the seventh-day specially dedicated only for his Creator. That is the same Sabbath from Creation up to the New Jerusalem. Those who will be saved will continue to celebrate that one special day. There will be unity among saints in the new heavens and new earth. There is a laudable agreement on which day is that. God never instituted a different day in substitute to the seventh-day Sabbath.
And so it remains that the true Sabbath for the true Christians is God’s holy day, i.e. the Lord’s Day, the seventh-day Sabbath.