Reading INTO Mark 2:27 – the most common Adventist error on defending the Sabbath

An Adventist friend, a good friend but a theological “adversary” posted on Facebook today:

“If the Sabbath was given only during the time of Moses and according to Jesus “the Sabbath was MADE for MAN” (Mark 2:27) therefore MEN came to exist only during the time of MOSES!” “As long as MAN exists, the SABBATH should also exists because the SABBATH was MADE for MAN.”

A common Adventist argumentation, this interpretation rises and falls on the “correct” interpretation of the context of Mark 2:27. In 2005, I posted a reply on this subject. This, however, shares a more detailed explanation on the context of Mark 2:27 and how this verse has been erroneously used by Adventists to prove a point that wasn’t there.

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In Mark 2:27-28 the Pharisees had made the 7th day Sabbath exceedingly important. They had made the Sabbath the important thing to them man’s needs were only secondary at best. Jesus wanted to make the point to the religious leaders and the people that the Sabbath was not more important than man. The Sabbath was for the benefit of the people and not the other way around. Jesus in saying that he was Lord of the Sabbath was pointing out that he possessed the ultimate authority over the Sabbath. I like the way the Jerusalem Bible puts it, “…so the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath.” In other words, the Pharisees do not have the authority to condemn Jesus over what they considered a Sabbath violation for he is master and Lord of the Sabbath.

This dispute with the Pharisees arose not over the question of who was supposed to keep the Sabbath, but rather over how the Sabbath was to be kept and who had the authority to determine how the law was to be applied. The SDA belief that here Jesus is teaching that all mankind must keep the 7th day Sabbath is not found in the text. Jesus and the Pharisees knew that the Sabbath was only for the Jews. Neither Jesus nor the Pharisees were concerned with the question of who must keep the Sabbath. Such a concern is limited to the SDA church and other sabbatarians. Let us note that in the text it does not say “all mankind” but just “man”.  Compare this fact with other universal text found in the New Testament and you will see a marked difference. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). “I will pour out a portion of my spirit on all mankind” (Acts 2:17). “…for he wants all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). “The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). These universal texts  contain the word “all” that is missing from Mark 2:27. The reason for this is that Mark 2:27 is not a universal text. It refers to the Jews only. This interpretation is in complete harmony with the rest of Scripture (see Exodus 16:22-23; 20:8-11; 31:16-17; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Nehemiah 9:13-14; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).

To sum up we have a text that is not at all concerned with who was to keep the 7th day Sabbath. The concern was with who had the authority to interpret how the Sabbath was to be kept by those under the Law. The text gives no indication that it is a universal text as it simply says, “man” not “all mankind” as in universal texts. In addition we must remember that Jesus was certainly well aware that the Bible says that the 7th day Sabbath was a sign of the Mosaic Covenant between God and Israel not between God and the world. Therefore, Mark 2:27-28 in no way is saying that the Sabbath is a requirement for all mankind to observe forever.

Jesus actually taught that human needs come before the legal requirements of the Law. This whole dispute with the Pharisees arose when they saw Jesus allowing his disciples to harvest grain on the Sabbath because they were hungry. “Have you not read what David did when he was in need and he and his men were hungry?” (Mark 2:25). Jesus’ point was that David “gave it to his men” (v. 26) thus he broke the legal requirement of the Law for a human need. And a greater one than David is here. “That is why the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (v. 28). The idea that all people must observe the Sabbath based on this text is a classic example of reading into a text something that is completely foreign to it.

  • James Ratcliff

    Problems reading scriptures? Isaiah 66:22For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
    66:23And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
    the new earth and new heavens oh let's disobey God who is the saints? Rev. 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Rev. 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

  • James Ratcliff

    Look up Sabbath the pronoucation is Shabbath now let's break it down Sha= the eternal, Ab the root word of Father (abba), and beth or bath= the house of. So the the word sabbath translate to the eternal fathers house. what is testamonie? Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
    WHy is this important? Ezekiel 20:12Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them. God says hurt not my servant till they have been sealed Rev 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads what is the seal? the Fourth Commandment exodus 20:8-11

  • James Ratcliff

    Seal requires three things 1) name ,2) title, 3) the area of authority, in order for the President to sigh something onto law he signs it Barack Obama(name) The President (title) of the United States of America(area) Look at Exodus 20:11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
    1)(name) Lord, 2)(title) Made(creator), 3)(area) Heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them. Now if I would say that Now Jesus died on the sixth day and waited till the first day to rise why? So that he kept the Sabbath and you can worship on the day bhe rose hum i see a flaw in your understanding. Genesis 2:2 says the Sabbath was made before man even sinned Exodus says keep the Sabbath after sin, and Isaiah 66:22 says after sin is destroyed we will still keep the Sabbath, if we accept Jesus do we not recognized as seeds of Abraham?

  • James Ratcliff

    1 John 2:3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    2:4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 3:21Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
    3:22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
    3:23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
    3:24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

  • James Ratcliff

    Did Jesus keep the Sabbath? Did Jesus come to be an example to the world? Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 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. 5:19 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. 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
    Are you sure you want to teach against what Jesus says here?

  • Jassratt

    I don't know how i arrived at your sight but with God there is no accidents I was brought here for a reason and i see now but as usual Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.

  • Subwaytwins

    When God rested on the Seventh-day, The rest He entered into was continual. In other words, a never ending rest. He extended that rest to mankind. When man sinned, he created a work that not even he was able to complete. For years, all the way from Adam who committed this sinful act up until Jesus this work was not fulfilled. The law provided a temporal rest. I say temporal because the sacrifice for sins was still needed. When Jesus came on the scene, He completed the work that Adam was unable to complete. Now, Jesus has sat down at the right hand of His Father. This denotes, that Jesus has entered a rest that is without ceasing and all who receive Christ, now, enter into this same rest that is without ceasing. Mark 2: 27, 28. Declares Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. In other words, He is the Master of it. It is a hard to proclaim to some that Jesus and the church are one. To some it is hard to say I am Jesus. I am some what struggling to type it now. However, it is so. Paul declares in Ephesians 1 that the church is the completion of Christ. Gal. 2:20 declares I am crucified with Christ, yet I live. But it is Him living and operating in me. In this earthen vessel.
    What does all this mean. All that Jesus is, I AM. Jesus is the Sabbath. He is rest. God is Sabbath. He is rest. So are we.
    God and Jesus are now operating from there place of rest. Amen. Adam, before sin, opearted from his place of rest.
    When I get in Christ I operate, too, from my place of rest. Amen.
    A Former SDA member
    Scriptual references
    Genesis 2:1-4
    Romans 5:12-19
    Hebrews 10:11 and 12

  • Blaynewayne

    Conclusion to this post:
    Breaking sabbath commandment for a human need (<–understandable)


    Abolishing sabbath commandment (<–not understandable)

    PS-I don't follow the Saturday sabbath