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  1. The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day
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  2. The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day

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In The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day, Sigve K. Tonstad recovers the profound and foundational understanding of God that can be experienced in the seventh day. He shows that Scripture has consistently asserted that the Sabbath of Creation is the Sabbath of the whole story of how God makes right what has gone wrong in the world.
Tonstad argues that the seventh day is the symbol of God’s faithfulness precisely when God’s presence seems to be in doubt. He demonstrates how God, through the seventh day, seeks the benefit of all creation. Inevitably, this leads to an investigation of how this universal symbol became obscured.

This sweeping work of biblical theology and historical analysis traces the seventh day as it is woven throughout Scripture and the history of Christianity. Its twenty-seven chapters consider, among other things, the relationship of the seventh day to freedom, to social conscience, to the “greatest commandment,” and to the enigmatic “rest that remains.” Tonstad engages the move away from the seventh day in early Christian history, the mindset in medieval Christianity, and the sobering long-term implications leading all the way to the Holocaust and the ecological crises in our time.

The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day will engage, illuminate, provoke, and ultimately inspire readers who enjoy a serious work presented in a style that is “luminous” and a “delight to read.”

“This will be a classic! Truly a magnum opus on the Sabbath, it is this generation’s most complete and insightful work on the topic. Not only does it satisfy the academic theologian with its fresh perspectives, but it also creatively shares practical gems that will inspire a lay believer.”

Lawrence T. Geraty, President Emeritus, La Sierra University
Past President, American Schools of Oriental Research

“Usually I have trouble reading for a long period such massive tomes as this, but Tonstad’s writing is so stimulating that I couldn’t put the book down! Tonstad is a master of both biblical exegesis and historical scholarship. I heartily recommend this book to all who love God and the Sabbath Day and to all who yearn to grow in that love.”

Marva J. Dawn, author of Keeping the Sabbath Wholly and In the Beginning GOD
Teaching Fellow in Spiritual Theology, Regent College

“Sigve Tonstad’s wide-ranging study of biblical teaching about the Sabbath offers fresh, provocative readings of texts from across the entirety of the canon, while constantly engaging the best recent scholarship. The result is a luminous, deeply encouraging book that beckons readers to understand the seventh day as a celebration of God’s gracious work of creation and God’s faithful intent to restore and heal all that is broken.”

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament
The Divinity School, Duke University

“Sigve Tonstad combines careful biblical theology with an insightful unfolding of history to reveal the story behind the story, well informed by a broad range of critical literature. All this is achieved with a literary finesse that makes it a delight to read despite the rigor of much of the theological discourse. Every pastor and theologian should read this book. It will transform the thinking on a matter of immense biblical significance.”

Edwin Reynolds, Professor of New Testament and Greek
Southern Adventist University

“This book is a broad and serious treatment of the Sabbath, a central biblical theme. Instead of dealing with criticisms often leveled against the Sabbath, Sigve K. Tonstad effectively develops biblical and theological teachings of the Sabbath. In addition to dealing with themes readers expect, the author also explores themes usually not addressed. This book deserves a careful reading.”

Nikolaus Satelmajer, Editor, Ministry
International Journal for Pastors

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Having read many books on the Sabbath, both in reference to the seventh-day and first-day, I find this book to be first rate. First, most books on the Sabbath fall into one of two categories--either apologetic--as in which day to keep or into the "Sabbath experience" category--as in how to enjoy the blessings of the Sabbath. Tonstad is unique in bridging this divide with fresh insights in both categories--my confession here is that I initially ignored this book thinking it would be simply warmed over insights and I already had a shelf full of Sabbath books. But Tonstad pleasantly surprised me with his fresh and challenging apologetics as well as weaving in inspiring views on the blessings of the Sabbath. Thus the highest compliment that I can pay this book is that on the subject of the Sabbath, out of the nearly 50 books on the Sabbath I own, no book combines these two subjects better--if I could only have one book on the topic, this would be it.
Sigve Tonstad has examined the seventh day of the Bible carefully and crafted a superb, holistic view of its theological importance. The link he finds between the creation narrative and New Testament thought is clearly something that should be examined by those who have dismissed the relevance of the seventh day and accepted an alternative. He has thoughtfully explored the influence of Hellenism on the emerging Christian church in the early centuries and identified its impact on the shaping of Christian belief and practice.

Tonstad, in his book, has contributed fresh and challenging understanding to a study that has engaged many scholars in recent years. He has confronted many of the conclusions of men like Rordof, Carson, Jewett and demonstrated their fundamental weaknesses, even though he has not engaged them directly. He has added to the insights of Bacchiocchi and given a deeper and more cohesive view that embraces a rich tapestry of Biblical unity on the subject. I... Read more
This book is written with great depth without being ponderous. This author is quite knowledgeable about Biblical scholarship including some relatively recent new approaches to understand Paul. This book is a survey of the subject through the whole Bible from its earliest mention in Genesis. The author reveals the connection between the Seventh-day and creation, the series of miraculous healings that Jesus performed on the Sabbath plus many other observations of great interest. My next reading of this book will be with the help of a hi-liter. This is very readable by both interested laypersons and scholars alike. This book cannot be praised too highly. A huge debt is owed to the dedication and scholarship of this thoughtful author.
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