Eliminate Your Bad Hermeneutics – Amos 8:5 On Weekly Sabbath Abrogation

Amos 8:5 On Weekly Sabbath Abrogation

There are poor interpretations that are being passed on to some young preachers from old generation Bible College students as well as teachers. Some of these bad interpretations are based on poor grammar or lack of proper exegesis. I’ve heard retorts among Bible college students as early as 1960 when I first entered Bible school. One of these is an argument on the termination of the Sabbath Day observance.

The usual declaration of a Seventh Day Adventist is that there is no statement in the Bible that the Seventh Day would be terminated but that it is a mark of the covenant with God and that even in the new era the Sabbath Day would still be there as suggested in Isaiah 66:23. I’ve heard fellow students in practice debates and practice argumentations who said, “I can read to you that the end of the Sabbath was prophesied.” In Tagalog it was expressed like this, “Mababasa ko na mayroong pagnanais na magtatapos ang Sabbath.” In Iloco the challenge would be, “No maibasak nga adda panagtapos ti Sabbath Day, awatem a saan nga agnanayon ti panagngilin iti Sabado?”

This bluff is based on Amos 8:5. But a simple analysis of the context and even the grammar of verse 5 do not state a prophecy on the cessation of the Sabbath Day observance. That’s where those teachers and classmates in 1960 failed. And this failure is being passed on to some pupils.

I would like to counsel older generation Bible students to stop using Amos 8:5 as a proof text in argumentation and practice debates on Sabbath keeping . The conclusion that Amos 8:5 tells of a forthcoming cessation of Sabbath Day observance is not supported by the context and it is also ungrammatical.

Amos 8 tells of the materialism of Judah and the people’s disregard for the Law of Yahweh. Connect this longing and practice of the Jerusalem inhabitants in the time of Nehemiah (chapter 13) and you could easily feel the disregard of the sacredness of God’s law. The people were asking when the weekly Sabbath day would end so that they could open the gates and do business. In the time of Amos or Nehemiah, there was an official announcer who would shout to mark the end of the Sabbath day. That was what the business men were asking. Virtually they were saying, “Sige na, sabihin nyo na na tapos na ang 24 hours Sabbath Day at buksan na nyo ang pintuan upang maglako na kami.” Amos 8:5 was not a prophecy on the abrogation of the Sabbath Day contained in the Decalogue of Exodus 20.