Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University



Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.


My editorial comments will briefly mention the following topics:


1) Update on Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?


2) Popular Beliefs Adopted by Adventist Seminaries


3) Australian Distributor of my books


3) Spanish translation of Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?


4) The PDF Version of all my Books Can Be Downloaded


5) Package Offer of my FOUR SABBATH BOOKS:

         From Sabbath to Sunday,

         The Sabbath Under Crossfire,

         The Sabbath in the New Testament, and

         Divine rest for Human Restlessness

         All the FOUR BOOKS for only $50.00, instead of $100.00


6) Complete Package of 14 Albums with a total of 41

         DVD disks, with all the live lectures of myself,

         Prof. Jon Paulien and Prof. Graeme Bradford,

         for only $150.00, instead of $1650.00.  See details

         at the end of the newsletter.


7) An Incredible Offer on New 3000 Lumens HITACHI

         projectors for only $1000.00.  Only a few projectors

         available. See details at the end of the newsletter.




The third printing of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical?  came out last week. We were anxiously waiting for its delivery in order to process the large orders we received from overseas and American churches.


Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? is proving to be by far the most popular and best-selling book I have written.  The reason is that the book meets the urgent need for a witnessing publication that Adventists can give with confidence to people inquiring about our faith.


Many Adventists have emailed me messages of appreciation, saying that they have waited for years for a book like Popular Beliefs that shows why the most popular Catholic and Protestant popular beliefs are unbiblical, while the less-popular Adventist beliefs are biblically correct.


Popular Beliefs Adopted by Adventist Colleges and Seminaries


Popular Beliefs  is widely used not only for witnessing, but also for teaching at our colleges and theological seminaries. For example,  we received orders from the School of Theology of Friedensau Adventist University in Germany. Last week. Prof. Denis Fortin, Dean of our Andrews University Theological Seminary, requested a supply for the class he teaches on Roman Catholic Theology.


Several professors told me that Popular Beliefs  is ideal for some of their Bible classes, because it traces the historical origin and theological development of the major Catholic and Protestant heresies popular today.


As a church historian by training and profession, I have spent 15 months tracing historically and examining biblically 10 popular beliefs (heresies) in a calm, objective, and non-confrontational way. The ultimate goal is to lead ruth-seekers to appreciate the biblical validity and contemporary relevance of our Adventist beliefs.


Did Your Church Order a Supply of Popular Beliefs?


If your church has not yet order a supply of Popular Beliefs, we will be glad to process your order at this time, since we have just received the third printing.


Popular Beliefs is an ideal gift for any non-SDA attending evangelistic meetings this Fall. As you know, evangelistic lectures can only touch on the highlights of our message, leaving many questions unanswered in the mind of the visitors. Popular Beliefs fill in the gaps by offering compelling answers to frequently asked questions.


To make it possible for many Adventist Churches to use Popular Beliefs  for evangelistic outreach and for the personal growth, we offer the book at this time for only $6.60 per copy for a case of 30 copies, instead of the regular price of $30.00 per copy. This means that for $200.00, your church can order a case of 30 copies of Popular Beliefs. We will pay the mail expenses to US destinations.  The details for ordering the book are given at the end of the newsletter or by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_35  or call us at (269) 471-2915.


Two Copies for the Price of One


At this time I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the pastors and lay-members who have actively promoted and distributed  Popular Beliefs to their church members. Without your promotional efforts, the book would not have been reprinted three times in three months.


To make it possible for all our pastors and local church leaders to become acquainted with this timely book, we are offering until September 15, 2008, two copies of Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? for the price of one. This means that for $30.00 you can order two copies, one for yourself and to give to your pastor or a local church leader.


After reading Popular Beliefs many pastors have ordered the book by the case of 30 copies for only $6.60 per copy.  Many churches have ordered 100 copies at the special offer of $5.00 per copy, to give to non-SDA attending the Mark Findley’s Satellite program Discoveries  2008 or other evangelistic meeting in the Fall.


But, there are still many pastors and churches that are unaware of the release of this powerful witnessing book Popular Beliefs. This newsletter reaches only about 35,000 readers. Thus I need your help in promoting this timely book.


Thank you for introducing your pastor and local church officers to this timely book. To facilitate your effort, I am offering you two copies for the price of one. The details for ordering the book are given at the end of the newsletter or by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_35  or call us at (269) 471-2915.




For a long time I have been praying that the Lord would help me to find Adventists with marketing skills, interested to distribute my books in major English-speaking countries. If you are interested to offer this service in your country, please contact me by email <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> or by phone (269)-4712915.


On my part, I am willing to offer to any distributor my books at 75% discount and ship them by sea-freight which is very economical.  For $500.00 I can ship by sea-freight one cubic meter of books, which is over 1000 books. Feel free to contact me if you are interested to distribute my 20 books and recordings in your country.




At this time I am pleased to announce that Ivan Jakovac, an Australian Adventist who operates a Storage Business, has offered to distribute my books and recordings in Australia at a considerable cheaper price than in the USA. The reason is that he will order large quantities that will be shipped by sea-freight, which costs a fraction of the airmail.


This is the name and address of the distributor:


Ivan Jakovac

Albury Storage

107 North Street Albury NSW 2640


Phone 02 6021 8088


Mobile 0406 854 500


email:  <ivan@alburystorage.com.au>


web site:  <http://www.alburystorage.com/>


If you live in Australia, feel free to contact Ivan Jacovac by phone or email. You will save time and money.  For example, the cost of airmailing to Australia one copy of Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?  is $40.00, that is, $30.00 for the book and $10.00 for the airmail. You can order the same book from Ivan Jakovac for about half of the price. The reason is that I will ship the books to Ivan by sea-freight, which costs a fraction of the airmail.


The first shipment should reach Ivan Jacovac in about a month. The reason is that we were out of stock during the past two weeks, while waiting for the third printing. So please allow some time for your order to be processed. In the future your orders be processed immediately.


For a description and picture of each book, click at this link:





Hispanic readers of Biblical Beliefs: Are They Biblical?  have been urging me to translate and publish the book in Spanish. In fact, some of them have raised the money to pay  for the translation, editing, art-work, and lay-out of the book.


The translation is in full progress and will be completed by the beginning of October.  The translator is Claudia Blath, is a professional translator of the Asociacion Casa Editora Sudamericana.  According to our schedule the Spanish edition  LAS CREENCIAS POPULARES, ņSON BÍBLICAS? will be printed and ready for distribution by October 31, 2008.  You can see the cover of the Spanish book and read a description by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/spanpop.htm


To facilitate a massive distribution of Las Creencias Populares, ņSon Bíblicas? we are offering the book at a special pre-publication price.  For details click at this link http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/spanpop.htm or call us at (269) 471-2915.




At the request of several fellow-believers, I am offering at this time the package of my four volumes on the Sabbath for only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00. The title of the four books are: From Sabbath to Sunday, The Sabbath Under Crossfire, Divine Rest for Human Restlessness, and The Sabbath in the New Testament.


The Lord has used these four books to lead hundreds of people to accept the Sabbath and join our Adventist Church. A detail description of each book is given at the end of this newsletter. You can also see the picture and the description of these four books, by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/sbooks.htm




At the request of American and Overseas readers who need immediate access to my books, often for a personal research project, we have decided to make it possible to download all the 20 books offered online in a PDF version.


The advantage is speed and saving. You can immediately download a PDF version of any of my books for only $15.00, instead of waiting for days or weeks to receive a printed copy which costs $40.00 to airmail overseas.


To download a PDF copy of my books simply click this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=37&osCsid=a5769f896270d26a770e18e1354ce7f1  If you have a problem, we can take your order by phone.  Call us at (269) 471-2915.





For the first  time we offer the complete Package of 14 Albums with a total of 41 DVD/CD disks, for only $150.00, instead of $1650.00. The package contains 41 professionally recorded live, video lectures by Prof. Bacchiocchi, Prof. Jon Paulien, Prof. Roy Gane, Prof. Graeme Bradford, and sacred concerts by Soprano Cristina Piccardi. See details at the end of the newsletter.


NEW HITACHI PROJECTORS 3000 LUMENS FOR ONLY $1000.00.Only a few projectors available. See details at the end of the newsletter to order one.



Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University


In the last newsletter, “A Biblical View of Work,” we noted that both work and rest are grounded in the pattern of work and rest established by God at creation. Since God worked six days and rested on the seventh day, we are invited to follow His example by doing likewise. Thus both work and rest are a creation ordinance grounded in God’s example and provision for our well-being.


Historically, Religious vocations  have been viewed as more important in the sight of God than secular occupations.  The understanding has been that ministers have been called by God to fulfill sacred vocations, while the laity has been obliged by mere necessity to perform secular occupations.


We found that the Bible rejects this sacred-secular dichotomy, declaring the sanctity of all legitimate work, no matter how common. We serve God not only within the sacred confinements of church employment, but also in all secular occupations.  The Biblical view of work as a calling opens the way for Christians not only to be diligent in their work but also to glorify God through their work.


Several readers expressed their appreciation for refuting the misconception  that working for the church as a preacher, teacher, or administrator, is a higher form of calling than working for a secular organization. This misconception has led some Adventists to give up a successful careers in the business world, in order to serve God more fully in the Gospel ministry. The problem with this mentality is the failure to recognize that we are Christ’s “ambassadors” (2 Cor 5:20) in the world, no matter what our profession might be. Our greatest need is to teach our members how to fulfill their calling in the work place.


Objectives of this Newsletter


This newsletter continues our study of the biblical view of work and leisure, by focusing on the secular and biblical view of leisure. First, we shall look at some of the problems posed by the secular view of leisure. We shall see that the leisure-oriented mentality of our society is impacting our educational, political and religious institutions.  To attract most people, some churches have developed a more entertaining style of worship service with drama, bands, fellowship dinners, concerts, entertaining preachers and other leisure-oriented programs.


Second, we shall consider leisure from a biblical perspective. We shall see that God has created us with capacity and need for work and leisure. He ordained that we set a boundary to our work so that we can have leisure time for our spiritual, mental, physical, social and emotional needs. Such needs have been intensified by the rapid pace of modern life, especially in the work place, which causes considerable tension, stress, and in some cases, nervous breakdown.


For the sake of brevity I have shorten considerably the original essay and I have eliminated the footnotes.  The intent is to make this essay more readable.




Leisure is the flip side of work. They both belong together and together they make up our daily lives. Both of them are creation ordinances. Our well-being depends on our satisfaction in both.  Thus our study of the Christian view of work would be incomplete without a consideration of the Christian view of leisure. The two are interrelated theologically and existentially. 


Theologically,  if we view our work as a divine calling to serve God and mankind, we will also view leisure as a divine gift to delight in God’s goodness and to experience His rest and renewal.  Existentially, the more pleasure we find in our work and the more  pleasure we are likely to experience in our leisure.  Before examining the Biblical understanding of leisure, we shall attempt to define the meaning of leisure and to examine some of the leisure problems of our secularly minded society.


A Definition of Leisure


The most common definition of leisure is that portion of time that remains for doing what we like to do, after we have satisfied the requirements of work and of basic needs. This means that the more time we spend working and the less free time remains for leisure.  Our time falls in three basic categories: time for existence in which we meet our biological requirements of eating and sleeping; time for subsistence in which we work at our job to provide for our needs; time for leisure in which we do what we like to recover from fatigue, to foster social relationships and to pursue cultural and spiritual objectives. 


Ideally leisure should free our minds from immediate daily concerns so that we can reflect upon ultimate concerns. It should be time for rediscovering the meaning and purpose of our lives,  for enjoying a creative or recreative experience, for renewing the physical, mental and spiritual components of our being.  Unfortunately for many leisure fails to fulfill these noble objectives because they have lost their spiritual roots. They  seek to find meaning in their lives by spending their leisure time passively consuming goods and services rather than actively pursuing cultural and spiritual objectives 


The Rise of Mass Leisure


Leisure is not a new reality.  What is new today is that leisure is no longer the privilege of nobility and social elite but is part of the lives of the masses. Even more significant is the longer lifespan and shorter ratio of working to non-working years. 


What all of this means is that today there are more people than ever before in human history, who have more leisure-time and more money to spend for leisure pursuits.  Leisure time activities have become the nation’s leading industry as measured by people’s spending.


A Leisure-Oriented Lifestyle Poses Serious Problems


As Robert Lee puts it, “American society is shifting from a primary focus on work to one on leisure, from production-oriented to a consumption-oriented economy.”   A significant contributing factor to this change is the boring nature of work for many Americans.  “A significant numbers of American workers are dissatisfied with the quality of their working lives.  Dull, repetitive, seemingly meaningless tasks, offering little challenge or autonomy, are causing discontent among workers at all occupational levels.”


To overcome the dissatisfaction and drudgery of their job, many   people turn to leisure without discriminating judgment and selectivity.   The result is that the moral and intellectual quality of most people’s leisure pursuits is alarmingly low.  Paul Elmen analyzes this cultural malaise in his book The Restoration of Meaning to Contemporary Life.  He notes that generally leisure time is characterized by “boredom, the search for distraction, the fear of spending time by oneself, sensuality, escape into comedy, violence, and the appeal of horror (the fun of being frightened).”


Watching Rather than Doing


One wonders how much meaning and ultimate fulfillment can people find in diversions which involve watching or listening rather than doing.  Many people spend a great deal of their lives being spectators, watching other people are doing, rather than being participants, doing what they watching.  They reason: Why spend some of the leisure time to cook when there are good restaurants in town? Why take time to grow a vegetable garden when  farmers provide roadside stands full of fresh produce at a reasonable price? Why take time to sit down and pound on the piano when one can hear Rubinstein play superb music simply by inserting a disk or tape in the Hi Fi system? Why play basketball in the driveway with the kids when one can watch a professional game on TV?


Such a mentality looses sight of the fact that we do not grow simply by being spectators, watching or listening passively to the performance of others. We need to become involved, to be part of the action. It is more fun to do it ourselves, even if our performance is substandard.  


The Danger of Secular Leisure


The growing availability of leisure time without the necessary moral and spiritual resources to use it, poses a serious danger to our society.  “In truth,” Gordon Dahl observes, “for million of Americans—hard-working Americans—leisure has  come to mean little more than an ever more furious orgy of consumption.  Whatever energies are left after working are spent in pursuing pleasure with the help of an endless array of goods and services.  This is ‘virtuous materialism’ par excellence.  It offers men the choice of either working themselves to death or consuming themselves to death—or both.”


Historians often recognize the connection between how a people use or abuse their leisure time and the growth or decline of their civilization.  For example, as the Romans became wealthy from the booty of wars, they also became leisure-oriented, spending their days in idleness watching violent gladiators fights,  chariot races,  circus shows, and banqueting.  Their indulgence in destructive leisure activities, weakened their moral and physical fiber, and contributed to the decline and fall of the Roman empire.


What happened to ancient Rome serves as an omen to what could happen to our society today.  Near the turn of the century Rudyard Kipling, the renown English writer,  wrote with “prophetic” insight that “the curse of America is sheer, hopeless, well-ordered boredom; and that is going to be the curse of the world.”   Unfortunately few people recognize the moral and social threat posed by the rise of leisure in industrialized societies.  Those who have the greatest amount of leisure time seem to be morally and spiritually the least equipped to make good use of it. 


The reality of mass leisure in the hands of many people without moral restraints is frightening.  Free time gives them the freedom to engage in activities destructive to themselves and others.  Over a century ago Ellen White wrote with prophetic insight on the danger of idleness: “Idleness is one of the greatest curses that can fall upon man; for vice and crime follow in its train.  Satan lies in ambush, ready to surprise and destroy those who are unguarded, whose leisure give him opportunity to insinuate himself into their favor, under some attractive disguise.  He is never more successful than when he comes to man in their idle hours.”


As Christians who are called to be a transforming influence in the world, we cannot ignore the “leisure problems” of our secularly-minded society. To meet the challenges posed by leisure we need first of all to identify some of the “leisure problems” of our society.


Leisure Defines for Many their Self-identity and their Choices


A major leisure problem is that many today define their identity and values on the basis of leisure activities rather than of occupational pursuits. Traditionally people have found their identity in their occupations. Teachers, mechanics, architects, doctors, masons, printers, painters, salespersons, have expressed their personality through the dominant interest in their profession. This is no longer true for many people today. 


The new heroes of the American society are entertainers and popular artists. Those who cater to leisure are more important in the estimate of many people than those who are responsible for the political, religious,  and economic life of the nation.


While the majestic basilicas and cathedrals in Western Europe are practically empty on Sunday, catering mostly to tourists, the sport arenas, the cinemas, the dancing halls, the night clubs, the beaches, are packed to capacity.  These have become the new sanctuary where people flock to find meaning and satisfaction in their lives. The situation is very similar in all industrialized nations.  Leisure time is used primarily to pursue self-centered pleasures, inimical to Christian values.


Secular Leisure Influences Church Programs and Attendance 


Another leisure problem of our time is its impact upon educational, political and religious institutions. Some studies indicate that the importance of leisure in the live of people has transformed even religion into a leisure-oriented activity.4


Kenneth Roberts observes that “the major Christian denominations have ceased to make heavy moral demands upon their congregations . . . and have incorporated new pleasurable elements” in their church programs, such as choirs, social functions, fellowship dinners, movies, concerts.   Some churches  offer even dancing parties and bingo as part of their  “evangelistic” strategy.  It is a proven fact that those churches that have developed an entertaining style of worship service with drama, bands, singing, entertaining preachers and other leisure-oriented programs, attract the most people.     


Is it possible for Christian Churches to compete with professional entertainers for the leisure time of people?  Should Christian Churches become exciting and inexpensive leisure centers where with a freewill offering one gets some food for thought together with plenty of good food for the stomach and fun for the whole family? The answer is obviously NO. But a negative answer does not solve the problem of how to reach with the Gospel the pleasure-seeking people of our society.  This is a challenge that the church needs to address.


The Pursuit of Leisure Has Become for Many a Form of Idolatry


The pursuit of leisure controls and shapes the lives of many to the extent that it becomes their idol.  While some are tempted to deify work, perhaps even more tend to make leisure their chief aspiration.  While some people are workaholics, others are footballaholics, jogaholics, golfaholics, rock music addicts, and television junkies.                                                                                                        


Our human nature is so constituted that we need to serve some god or other.   If we do not live to exalt the God of the Bible we will inevitably become enslaved to some other gods.  Many make a god of their addictions to sports, movies, dancing, gambling, rock music, sex, drugs, drinking.  These idols control their lives, occupy their leisure time, and drain their financial resources.  To the extend that we are not living to glorify God and to enjoy Him in all that we do, we have fallen into some form of idolatry by worshipping created things rather than the Creator Himself (Rom 1:25).


Leisure becomes an idol when one spends all the free time and resources on having fun. No time is left for worshipping God or helping others.  Pleasure-seeking is seen by many as the height of wisdom and virtue.  Maximizing pleasure is regarded as the highest goal and achievement.  Western culture is largely hedonistic, that is, pleasure oriented. Christians are constantly exposed to its influence through the media and social relationship.


Unfortunately many fail to achieve the hoped-for relaxation and regeneration of their being during their leisure time.  The reason is the neglect of their inner spiritual needs and resources.  Believing that leisure, entertainment or even physical rest per se are adequate to rest weary bodies, many seek and pay only for the rest provided by the sanctuaries of our materialistic society: the football field, the amusement park, the beach, the dance-hall, the restaurant, the ski-resort, the national park, et cetera.  Such leisure or entertainments places and activities by themselves, however, provide at best a temporary evasion, but leave an internal spiritual emptiness which is at the root of much exhaustion and inner tension.


Leisure Serves to Refresh People for More Productive Work  


Another leisure problem is the utilitarian view of leisure. While some view work as necessary to pay for their leisure pursuits, others view leisure and recreation as necessary to refresh themselves for more productive work. Unfortunately the Christian work ethics have sometimes been misinterpreted as sanctified workaholism, thus making leisure subservient to work. 


Some Christians see leisure as a periodic pit stop to refuel before further work.  From a Biblical perspective this is indeed one of the functions of leisure.  We rest on the Sabbath to experience physical, moral and spiritual renewal before we go back to work.  However, as we shall see, in the Bible leisure activity has intrinsic value in itself. It offers us an opportunity to experience the abundant life by enjoying the goodness of God’s creation.


The utilitarian mentality wishes to minimize the leisure time devoted to rest and recreation in order to maximize the time spent in productive activity.  Such a mentality is an obstacle to leisure even if does not prevent people from engaging in leisure pursuits.  It is impossible to fully enjoy leisure time while constantly worrying or feeling guilty about the precious time being taken away from the obligations of work. By bringing the concerns for productivity into leisure time, the workaholic impoverishes the quality of leisure time that stems from its detachment from work.


To truly enjoy leisure time it is important for Christians to recognize that God does not expect us to spend all our time in productive activity. Leisure time is not meant for putting bread on the table or clothes in the closet.   The Sabbath commandment summons us, as we shall see, to detach ourselves from work on a regular basis so that we can experience the goodness and beauty of God’s creation in the world above, within and around us.  Detachment from work is essential for the appreciation of work itself.




Our brief survey of some of the leisure problems of our society has shown that the increase in leisure time has not resulted in a corresponding increase in personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Some of the problems we have identified can be briefly summarized in five points.


First, those who have the greatest amount of leisure time seem to be morally and spiritually the least equipped to make good use of it.  They often spend their leisure time passively watching TV or listening rock music without discriminating judgment and selectivity.


Second, many seek to escape the boredom of work and the frustrations and uncertainties of life by using their leisure time to find refuge in the world of sports and entertainment. The heroes of the entertainment world serve to define their self-identity and their moral choices. Unfortunately their identity and values derive from the world of fantasy which does not equip them to face the real world.


Third, the leisure oriented mentality of our time is impacting upon our educational, political, and religious institutions, causing them to become more leisure and pleasure oriented.  This leisure orientation  makes people oblivious to the fact that life is not only play but also work, not only pleasure but also pain, not only distraction but also discipline. An exclusive leisure orientation can have catastrophic consequences, making people incapable to face the harsh realities of life.


Fourth,   for some people leisure has become an idol which absorbs all their free time and resources. No time is left for worshipping God, developing oneself, or helping others. Pleasure-seeking is for them the height of wisdom and virtue.


Five,  the premium our society places on work makes it difficult for some people to fully enjoy their leisure time because they feel guilty about the precious time leisure takes away from the obligations of work. The utilitarian mentality impoverishes the quality of leisure time that stems from its detachment from work.


The identification of the negative leisure problems we are facing today,  has set the stage for the study of positive Biblical principles that can guide us in dealing with this important area of life. The study will be our next task.




Leisure Finds its Origin in God Himself, the First to Rest from Work


Before embarking in our study of the Biblical view of leisure, it is important to note that most of the leisure problems we face today were unknown in Bible times. The short-working week did not exist. The daylight hours from sunrise to sunset (about 12 hours) were working time and the evening-night hours from sunset to sunrise (about 12 hours) were leisure time (Ps 104:22; John 9:4), occupied mostly by eating and sleeping. 


A 12 hours working day leaves little time and energy for leisure activities. It was the weekly Sabbath and the annual festivals (which were also called Sabbaths—Lev 23:24, 32;) that gave the Israelites rest from work and thus freedom to enjoy leisure activities.  This means that to understand the Biblical view of leisure, we need to begin by examining the meaning and experience of the Sabbath rest.  We shall see that the Sabbath rest served as paradigm, that is, a model for the use of leisure time in general.  


Rest is a Creation Ordinance


In the Bible both work and rest began with God at creation by His divine example. He is the first one to put in a full week of work and also the first One to rest at the end of each day of the creation week.  After each day of creation He stopped to enjoy what He had created, pronouncing it “good.”


The partial rest at the end of each day of creation finds its culmination in the complete day of rest of the seventh day: “On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.  So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation” (Gen 2:2-3).


In this brief passage twice we are told that God ”rested” on the seventh.  Later in redemptive history the creation work and rest of God is given as the basis for the Fourth Commandment which enjoins us to work six days  and to rest on the Sabbath after the similitude of God Himself (Ex 20:11). Thus, in the Bible both work and rest stem from God’s creational example and command.


The Meaning of God’s Rest


Since God’s Sabbath rest is the model and basis of human Sabbath rest, it is important for us to understand the meaning of God’s rest.  The essential meaning of the Hebrew verb shabat which is twice translated “rested” in Genesis 2:2-3,  is “to stop, to desist, to cease from doing.”  Thus in the creation story the rest of God is a rest of cessation and not a rest of relaxation.   To express rest from physical exhaustion, the Hebrew employs a different verb, namely nuah, which is also translated in English “to rest.”  The latter occurs in Exodus 20:11 where God’s pattern of work and rest in creation is given as the basis for the commandment to work six days and rest on the seventh. 


In Genesis 2, however, the verb used is shabat because the function of God’s rest is different. It serves to explain, not why we should rest but rather how God felt about His creation: He regarded it as complete and perfect and to acknowledge it, God stopped. He stopped doing creative marvels, not to renew His strength, but  so that He could have leisure time to enjoy the beauty of His creation and the fellowship of His creatures. 


At the end of each day God proclaimed His creative accomplishments “good” (Gen 1:3, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31), but on the seventh day He took time out to leisurely delight in the goodness of His creation.  This tells us that leisure as free time for delight and fellowship began with God Himself at creation. By His own example God teaches us the importance to stop our work at regular intervals so that we can have time for leisure, that is, free time for God, ourselves and others.


Leisure as Rest from Work is a Divine Commandment


The model of God’s rest at creation became a requirement for mankind in the Ten Commandments. The Fourth Commandment, as we saw earlier in this chapter,  explicitly enjoins us to work six days and to rest on the seventh day. The reason given is the pattern of work and rest established by God at creation: “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it” (Ex 20:11).


The Sabbath commandment shows that God’s design for human life is a rhythm of work and rest, working time and leisure time. Each takes its meaning from the other and is not complete without the other.  The command to rest on the Sabbath is also a command to work six days.  Here work and leisure are integrated into an harmonious cycle that is fundamental to understand the Biblical view of leisure.


The divinely ordained rhythm of work and rest is part of the order of creation. God has made us so that we need to respect this rhythm of working six days and resting on the Sabbath to ensure our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  The leisure of the Sabbath as free time for rest, worship, fellowship, service and recreation is a divine ordinance that our work oriented society is largely ignoring at the peril of its health. As the Christian faith is declining and the deification of work and pleasure is increasing, the Biblical function of the Sabbath is largely being lost.


Rest and Rejoicing in the Old Testament


God’s provision for human rest from work is pervasive throughout the Old Testament. The annual feasts, for example, were days free from work. In fact, the phrase “you shall do no laborious work,” is repeatedly used to describe not only the Sabbath (Lev 23:3) but also each of the feasts (Lev 23:8, 21, 25, 31, 35).  Two of the annual feast, namely, the Feast of Unleaven Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles (harvest festival) lasted a whole week (Lev 23:9-14; Num 28:18, 25, 26).


Like the weekly Sabbath, the annual festivals gave to the people leisure time which they spent in formal worship gatherings (“holy convocation”—Lev 23:3, 21, 23, 26, 35) as well as in informal fellowship and feasting.  God did not expect the people to spend the Holy Days in continuous worship, meditation and contemplation.  On the contrary God instructed the people to bring money with them at the annual harvest festival so that they could buy all the food they desired (“whatever you desire”—Deut 14:26) and enjoy food and fellowship with their family members (“you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household”—Deut 14:26).


An interesting insight into the mood of celebration of the annual feasts is provided by the Psalms 120 to 134 which have the common heading “A Song of Ascent.”   These Psalms were sang or recited by the people as they “went up” (ascended) to Jerusalem for their annual pilgrimages.  The themes for celebration in these Psalms include divine deliverance, national peace, agricultural prosperity, vanity of work without God, the blessedness of the home, the value of fellowship, exhortation to hope. 


The joyous nature of the annual festivals is shared by the weekly Sabbath as well. It is noteworthy that there is no mention of church attendance in the Sabbath commandment.  God enjoins us to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy ” not by attending Sabbath school and the church service, but by working six days and resting on the seventh day unto the Lord. In other words, the essence of the Sabbath rest is not church attendance, but God-oriented leisure time. It is evident that participating in a “holy convocation” like at the annual feasts, is an ideal way to spend the leisure time of the Sabbath.  But the point here is that there is more to Sabbath rest than going to church. There is the opportunity to enjoy its leisure time savoring the goodness of God’s creation, or as Isaiah puts it, “to take delight in the Lord” (Is 58:14).


God-Centered Leisure


Properly understood the Sabbath commandment affirms the human right to leisure time by granting us freedom from work.  This freedom is guaranteed to all, including servants, strangers,  and “dumb beasts” (Ex 20:10; 23:12; Deut 5:14).  The Sabbath rest, then, reveals God’s concern for the leisure rights of the defenseless of our society—those who in Bible times had no recourse or protection against the exploitation of others.


The Sabbath rest reveals also God’s concern for the workaholics who find their ultimate fulfillment in their work.  The Sabbath rest teaches us that the chief aim of our life should be not to make a god of our work but to allow God to work in us. By freeing us from work, the Sabbath liberates us from the temptation to deify work and makes us free and available for God, ourselves and others.  We stop our work on the Sabbath to allow God to work in us more fully and more freely.  The Sabbath rest teaches us that salvation is by grace and not by works, that is, by resting in the assurance of God’s creative and redemptive accomplishments for us, rather than by working to earn the right to be saved.


In the Scripture the Sabbath rest is a qualified leisure time.  It is not a frivolous leisure time but “solemn rest, holy to the Lord” (Ex 31:15; 16:23-25; 20:10; Lev 23:3).  While the Sabbath rest is given to mankind (Ex 16:29; Mark 2:27), yet it belongs to Yahweh (Ex 16:23, 25;  Is 56:4;  58:13; Mark 2:28). Therefore our human rest on the Sabbath, and by reflex during the weekdays,  is not a self-centered hedonistic pleasure seeking, but God-centered leisure time.


The Godward orientation of the Sabbath leisure time, serves for the Christian as a model for the leisure time of the week days as well.  The God-centered rest and rejoicing that we experience on a larger scale on the Sabbath  is a model of what we can experience on weekdays on a smaller scale.  Thus the Sabbath leisure as a God-centered experience of rest, renewal, fellowship and service sets the pattern for the weekdays leisure as well.


Rest in the Life of Jesus


During His extraordinarily busy ministry, Jesus sensed the need to retreat to quiet places for prayer and renewal. This is a typical experience: “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.  And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land” (Mark 6:45-47).


Jesus protected the right to leisure time of his disciples as well, as exemplified by the following incident: “The disciples returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.  And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:30-31).


These passages are significant for our understanding of leisure because they reveal, as Leland Ryken puts it, “that Jesus did not reduce life to ceaseless evangelism.  God draws a boundary to every type of work, even the work of proclaiming the gospel and helping people in their physical needs.”56   


The story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) fittingly illustrates Christ’s appreciation for leisure moments.  The story features two contrasting personalities.  Martha, an activist, who was so concerned about fixing a meal for Jesus, that she could not seat even for a moment to savor the presence and fellowship of Christ.  Mary, a calmer personality, recognizing the significant of the occasion took some time out from her domestic work to leisurely enjoy a conversation with Christ.  The Lord commended her for having “chosen what is better” (Luke 10:42; NIV).  This incident reveals Christ’s appreciation for leisure time to savor  the fine things of life such as friendship, conversation and fellowship.  How relevant this is for many today who like Martha are so “anxious and troubled about many things” that they have no time for being still, even for few moment, to listen, to admire, to reflect, and to cultivate the friendship of God and fellow-beings.


Summing up, leisure is grounded on the principle of the Sabbath rest that God has established at creation to ensure our well-being.  In the Bible God call us not only to work, but also to rest.  Thus both work and rest are a divine calling and design for us. Rest from work at the end of each day and more fully on the Sabbath day provides us with the time for God-centered leisure activities.


Past Anti-Pleasure Mentality


Leisure has not fared well in Christian history because of its association with pleasure which has generally been regarded as bad. If pleasure is bad then obviously leisure is bad also.  A major reason why early Christianity adopted a negative attitude toward pleasure is because it grew out of the Greco-Roman world that, to use the words of J. I. Parker,  “was in the grip of a frenzied pleasure-seeking mentality.”  The upper class spent their time in sensual pleasures, banqueting, carousing, and watching circus shows in which the blood of gladiators and animals flowed freely. Thus it is not surprising that Christian writers spent more time attacking sinful pleasures than enjoying the legitimate ones.


The early Christian disdain for pleasure was carried over into the Middle Ages in which many Christians sought to attain holiness by renouncing any form of pleasure and devoting themselves to ascetic practices (mortification of the flesh) often within the confines of a monastery.  The recovery of the positive Biblical view of pleasure came with the Reformers and the Puritans.  They rejected the dualism between body and spirit, material and spiritual, and insisted on the Christian right to enjoy the goodness of God’s creation. 


Leisure to Appreciate Beauty


In the light of the rise and fall of pleasure-oriented leisure in Christian history, it is important to find out what the Bible has to say about leisure. We have already established that leisure as rest stems from God’s creation rest which forms the basis of the Fourth Commandment which enjoins us to rest unto the Lord on the seventh day.


The question we need to address now is:  Does the Bible approve spending leisure time in nonproductive activities? Is the function of leisure strictly utilitarian, namely, to contribute to our ability to work? Or can leisure be enjoyed for its own sake? Can we spend our leisure time appreciating or practicing arts like painting, music, crafts, writing, without feeling guilty about it?


To find an answer to these questions we will start  again from the creation account where we find that God created many things purely for the sake of beauty and delight. Consider the variety of pretty flowers scattered throughout the fields.  They occupy space in the fields without bringing any food on our tables. They are there because God in His generosity has seen fit to provide us not only with food for our stomach but also with delight for our eyes.


The garden that God planted for Adam and Eve was both functional and artistic.  We read that “out of the ground the Lord made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Gen 2:9).  This text suggests that from the very beginning God’s plan was that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) by enjoying the goodness and beauty of His creation.


The prophets envision the restoration of the Edenic delight and joy in the coming kingdom (Is 11:6-9).  Zechariah describes the playful celebration of the future kingdom, saying:  “And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the street” (Zech 8:5; cf. Jer 30:18-19; 31:4, 13-14). The vision of joyful celebration in God’s original creation and final restoration supports the legitimacy of joyful leisure in this present world.


The nature Psalms offer us good examples of enjoyment of beauty.  Psalm 19 expresses the Psalmist’s ecstatic admiration of the heavens, saying: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (v.1). With poetic fantasy the Psalmist compares the sun to a “bridegroom leaving his chamber” and to a “strongman [who] runs his course with joy” (Ps 19:5-6). Such poetic descriptions are indicative of leisurely contemplation of the heavens. 


God-Centered Pleasure


One of the clearest Biblical affirmation of the human right to enjoy pleasure comes to us from the book of Ecclesiastes.  Here Solomon discusses the human search for meaning and pleasure from two different perspectives: one God-centered and the other self-centered.  From a self-centered perspective the Preacher explains how he tried to find pleasure through the accumulation of wealth and goods. He confesses that “I kept my heart from no pleasure” (v. 10), yet he came up empty.  “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and striving after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” (Ecc 2:11). Self-centered pleasure-seeking is self-defeating and sooner or later brings boredom and dissatisfaction.


From a God-centered perspective, however,  Solomon found that a person can find legitimate enjoyment in all what God provides: “There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God;  for apart from him who can eat or who can find enjoyment?  For to the man who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy” (Ecc 2:24-26; cf. 3:11-13; 5:18-19). 

      The same appeal to enjoy God-given pleasure is given in other places. For example, the Preacher says: “Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do” (Ecc 9:7; cf. 9:9; 11:7).  In these passages we find the ideal of godly pleasure which is not an escape from the material world to a spiritual realm, but the legitimate enjoyment of the ordinary things that God provides. 


Leisure in Christ’s Life


The same positive attitude toward the enjoyment of God’s gifts, is found in the New Testament.  The chief example of social leisure is Christ Himself.  At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus took time to attend a wedding at Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-11). A wedding celebration lasted several days, usually a week. Jesus did not feel guilty for taking few days off at the very outset of His ministry to enjoy a festive wedding celebration.  No only did He sanction with His presence the wedding party, but He also contributed to keep the party going by turning water into good unfermented wine. 


The wedding of Cana is not the only incident that reveals the convivial lifestyle of Jesus.  On numerous occasions during His public ministry Jesus took time to enjoy the friendship and hospitality of people, some of whom were judged undesirable. Luke contrasts the ascetic lifestyle of John the Baptist, with the convivial lifestyle of Jesus of whom it could rightly be said: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34).  His critics were offended at such behavior and chided Him saying: “Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Luke 7:34).


The fact that Jesus took time in His busy ministry to enjoy the friendship and hospitality of people, indirectly and yet forcefully shows that Christ recognized the need for leisure time to cultivate friendship and build relationships.  Christ’s example shows us that work and leisure belong together. Both are needed to experience meaning and fulfillment in our lives.


Pleasure in the New Testament


A similar positive attitude toward the enjoyment of God’s gifts is found in Paul’s instruction to Timothy concerning the wealthy:  “As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnished us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim 6:17).  “Here,” as Leland Ryken points out, “we learn three important principles about enjoyment. One is that God is the giver of all good things.  Second, he gives them so that people can enjoy them.  Third, the misuse of them consists not in the enjoyment of them but in trusting them and making idols of them.”


The Biblical vision of the world to come also affirms the legitimacy of pleasure.  Revelation describes the new world as a place where there is no more pain and death (Rev 21:1-4), a place where Christ “will guide them [the redeemed] to springs of living waters” (Rev 8:17). If the world to come is without pain, it means that pain is bad and pleasure is good. Ultimately this is what makes the difference between heaven and hell. If leisure and pleasure characterizes the life of the redeemed in the world to come, then it should be part of the redeemed life of this present world as well.


Leisure Affected by Sin


The positive view of leisure and pleasure we have found in the Bible, would be incomplete without mentioning its negative aspect.  The Fall has affected leisure like everything else in this world. Pleasure has two faces like the two sides of a coin. It may be good and holy or it may be bad and sinful.  What makes the difference is  not always the pleasure activities in themselves, but the intent in pursuing them.  Eating, drinking, making love, listening to music, playing games or whatever, can be good or bad, holy or unholy depending on the intention  for doing them. 


If the intent for pursuing pleasure activities is to honor God, to delight in His goodness to us and to express fresh thanksgiving to Him, than our pleasure is holy and bears the fruits of the Spirit like “love, joy, and peace” (Gal 5:22).On the other hand, if the intent for pursuing pleasure activities is to satisfy self-indulgent desires, without concern for God or others, then the pleasure activities become what Paul calls “the works of the flesh” which include “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery . . .drunkenness, carousing and the like” (Gal 5:19-21).


Leisure has great potential for degenerating into immorality because there is something inherently self-indulgent about it.  It is something  we reward ourselves for our accomplishments.  This is not bad in itself, but it can easily become self-centered indulgence when a person has no greater purpose in life than to please his or her sinful desires.


Leisure Redeemed by Christ


The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ’s redemption restores us our whole being, including our work and leisure.   Christ makes us new people, with new motives, attitudes and values.  The newness that Christ brings to our lives includes a new purpose for our leisure time. This challenges us to make  leisure the growing time of our human spirit. A time to enrich our spiritual life with prayer, devotional reading and worship. A time to experience physical rest and restoration. A time to growth culturally and intellectually. A time to cultivate friendship and to alleviate sufferings. A time to rediscover life in its fullness.     

      Summing up, leisure and pleasure are part of the good gifts that God has given us to enjoy.  God filled this world not only with useful things for our bodies but also with delightful things for our eyes. The Bible affirms the human right to enjoy the ordinary things that God provides. By His teachings and example Christ summons us to use our leisure time to grow spiritually, socially and aesthetically.  Sin has affected leisure by turning it in  self-centered indulgence. But leisure, like everything else, can be redeemed from its abuse and become part of our new life in Christ.


Leisure Gives Us Time for God

      The Christian life finds its meaning in relationship to God and other people.  We have been created as social beings. “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:9), was God’s assessment of Adam without a human companion. God remedied the “not good” situation by creating for Adam the most beautiful bride this world has ever seen.  This tells us that we have been created for fellowship and not for solitude.


To cultivate friendship and fellowship takes time. This is why leisure is such a vital part of the Christian life. When we are free from the obligations of our daily work, in leisure we have time to cultivate our relationship with God, ourselves and others.

As Christians we serve God both during our working time and leisure time. God calls us to serve Him both through our work and through our leisure.  Yet there is a difference between the service we render to God while working from that which we offer Him during our leisure time. While working we serve God subconsciously like Martha, pursuing the demands of our job. During our leisure time we serve God consciously like Mary, by giving Him our undivided attention.


The rapid pace of modern life can easily squeeze prayer and devotion our of our daily lives.  In our frantic rush we too, like Martha, can become “anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41), so that we have no time left to seat at the feet of Jesus and fellowship with Him.


To avoid the risk of crowding out the Lord from our lives, it is important to set aside each day some of our leisure time for communing with the Lord.  This is especially true on the Sabbath when God invites us to consecrate the whole day to Him by giving Him priority in our thinking and living.  Such a totally conscious response is not possible during the week when our leisure time is more limited and our mind are occupied by many pressing demands.


Sabbathkeeping originated at creation as God-centered leisure time. To a genuine Sabbathkeeper all the Sabbath activities,  whether they be formal church worship or informal fellowship and recreation, are an act of worship because all of them spring out a  heart who has decided to honor God during the Sabbath hours.   By contrast, Sundaykeeping, as I have shown elsewhere, originated in early Christianity as an hour of worship followed by ordinary activities.  An interplay of Jewish, pagan and Christian factors contributed to this historical change.


The recognition of this historical reality has led some scholars to propose “the abandonment of rest on Sunday as a Christian practice,”  and the retaining of Sunday only as a communal worship hour.  To accommodate those who wish to have their Sunday completely free from any worship obligations,  “as many as 10,000 churches across North America,” according to the Sunday  magazine, are offering an alternative worship service on Saturday night.     


Loss of Sense of Holiness


This trend must be seen as the logical outcome of the historical abandonment of the Sabbath as a day of God-centered rest and the adoption of Sunday as an hour of worship.  This change has facilitated the next step, namely, the recent attempt by many churches to shift even the hour of Sunday worship to Saturday night, in an attempt to accommodate those who wish to spend their Sunday leisure time pursuing their own pleasures without the interruption of church attendance.   The result of this development has been the loss of the understanding and experience of Holy Time.  For many Christians the Holy Day has become a holiday, a day to seek for personal pleasure and profit.


In the light of the prevailing materialism, hedonism and secularism which are enslaving so many lives and threatening the very survival of Christianity, Christians need today more than ever before the Sabbath day which is designed to liberate us from the tyranny of things and to enable us experience the presence, peace and rest of God for which we were created.  Our life is a measure of time and when we consecrate some of our leisure time exclusively to God, we show in a tangible way that God really counts in our lives.


Leisure Gives Us Time for Ourselves


Leisure is needed not only to maintain a dynamic spiritual relationship with the Lord, but also to satisfy our physical, emotional and social needs.  God has created us with capacity and need for work and leisure. He ordained that we set a boundary to our work so that we can have leisure time for our spiritual, mental, physical, social and emotional needs. Such needs have been intensified by the rapid pace of modern life, especially in the work place, which causes considerable tension, stress, and in some cases, nervous breakdown.


Each one of us needs to develop interest outside our profession in order to develop a more rounded personality.  A great deal of my work is people and research oriented.  I spend many hours each week either teaching, preaching, conducting seminars or reading and writing. To relax I need to disengage myself from people and books.  I love to work with my hands: tiling, painting, building a shed or new shelves, landscaping outside the house, repairing chairs, the toaster, the juice-maker, leaking faucets, etc.. It seems that at our home there is plenty to do to fill all my leisure time.  Working with my hands is fun, relaxes my mind and teaches me valuable object lessons for my ministry.


Be a Participant Instead of a Passive Spectator


In our society many people spend their leisure time passively watching TV, movies, sport events, or listening to rock music.  For these people taking a break from work means doing nothing, just sit and “vegetate.”   They spend their free time in company of leisure equipment such as TV or record players.


When people spend their leisure time just sitting and watching for the good things of life to happen, they develop a closed-in, apathetical, uncritical, passive attitude toward life. They expect purpose and satisfaction to come to their lives just by purchasing the latest leisure equipment and turning a knob.  But Jesus reminds us that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:35). Applied to leisure this means that the possession of the latest leisure equipment and programs does not guarantee a rich leisure life. 


From a Christian perspective an overly stimulated lifestyle with ceaseless distractions undermines the quality of leisure as much as idleness. The Christian goal of leisure is not to seek for pleasure through a multitude of distractions, but to experience the abundant life by opening up ourselves to live out our leisure time in the creative love of God.


Leisure Gives Us Time for Personal Growth


A final aspect of leisure in relation to ourselves, is the opportunity it provides to discover and develop ourselves. Freed from our work obligations, we can spend some of our leisure time to get in touch with ourselves. We can take some time to assess our goals, motives, and attitudes toward God, people, ourselves and work.


In an age of changing and conflicting values, leisure can open the door for moral reflection, for the development of moral consciousness and responsibility. There is an urgent need today to help people build a lifestyle based upon the principles of the Word of God.  Leisure offers us the opportunity to take some time each day to better acquaint ourselves with the Biblical principles of human conduct and to internalize them.


Leisure Gives Time for Others


Leisure offers us the opportunity not only to find God and ourselves, but also to reach out unto others. The Christian faith is not a self-centered solace, but an others-centered service.  Leisure is a key ingredient of the Christian lifestyle because it provides the time to share with others our love, concern and service.


In the first place leisure gives us the time and the opportunity to come closer to our family members. The daily work scatters the family in different directions. Father and mother to their respective work and children to school.  During the working hours of the day there is little if any family life together. It is during the leisure hours of the evening and the Sabbath that parents and children have the opportunity to draw closer to one another through leisure activities.


 Leisure, especially on the Sabbath, offers us time and opportunities to come closer to our marital partner.  We are helplessly witnessing an ever-increasing rate of broken marriages.  The rapid pace of modern life, punctuated by differing professional and social interests, contributes to the estrangement between many husbands and wives. The sharing together of leisure time can strengthen marital relationships by providing a relaxed atmosphere in which to experience a more intimate fellowship and interaction.


The quality of a marriage relationship depends largely on the degree of communication and understanding that exists between the two partners.  Leisure provides husbands and wives to come closer and listen to each other.  They can share thoughts, concerns, joys, and duties together.  They can walk, visit, play, laugh, and relax together. The togetherness that leisure time provides can help husbands and wives to overcome feelings of estrangement and thus solidify their marital relationships.


The Christian faith sensitizes our conscience toward the needs of others.  Speaking of the leisure time of the Sabbath, Christ said that the Sabbath is the day “to do good” (Matt 12:12),  “to save” (Mark 3:4), “to loose” (Luke 13:12) men and women from physical and spiritual bonds, and a day to show “mercy” (Matt 12:7) rather than religiosity.  What is true for the leisure time of the Sabbath is also true for the leisure time of the weekdays.


In every church, school, community there those who are hurting physically and/or emotionally. Often we learn that a relative, a church member, a colleague or a neighbor is physically ill or emotionally distressed. The pressure of our working schedule may cause us to neglect such needy persons. It is during our leisure hours that  we can take time to visit the sick, comfort the afflicted, and help the needy.  When we share our friendship and concern with the needy we honor God and enrich our lives with a sense of satisfaction and restful achievement.


 Leisure Calls for Responsible Stewardship


Leisure is God’s gift to us to enhance the quality of our life. God created not only food to sustain life but also “every tree that is pleasant to the sight” (Gen 2:9).  Moreover, God also gave us rest from work, that is, leisure time to enable us to delight in the beauty of His creation.


Being a gift from God, leisure calls us to exercise responsible stewardship.  We are stewards of the leisure time God gives us in the same way as we are stewards of the money, skills, opportunities He offers us. Stewardship means responsible management of the resources God commits to our trust, using them in a way that harmonizes with His will. Applied to leisure, stewardship involves values, time, and our well-being.


Our life is a measure of time and the way we use our time is indicative of our priorities. To be responsible stewards of leisure means to use its time in a way that it will fulfill the purposes outlined earlier.  If the time we spend pursuing fun activities such as games, parties, socials, leave us with no time for our devotional life, church work or family responsibilities, then it is evident that our use of leisure time is unbalanced.  By Christian standards a leisure pursuit becomes an idol when it consumes a disproportionate amount of time, interest and financial resources.                                                      


To be good stewards of our well-being we need to maintain a proper balance among four major categories of leisure activities.  First, physical activities such as sports, games and recreation.  Second, cultural activities, such as reading, enjoyment of arts, attending concerts or educational programs. Third, festive activities such as celebration of  birthdays, graduation, weddings, or commemoration of national holidays.  Fourth, religious activities, such as devotional exercises and participation  in church services or programs.  A full leisure life embraces all these activities.




Leisure is a divine creation and not a human invention. It was established by God Himself when He rested at the completion of creation, not to renew His strength, but to have leisure time to enjoy the beauty of His creation and the fellowship of His creatures.  God’s creation rest served as a model for His commandment not only to work, but also to rest.  Thus both work and rest are a divine calling and design for us. Rest from work at the end of each day and more fully on the Sabbath day provides us with leisure time for God, ourselves and others.


The Bible teaches us that leisure and pleasure are part of the good gifts that God has given us to enjoy.  By His teachings and example Christ summons us to use our leisure time to grow spiritually, socially and aesthetically.  Sin has affected leisure by turning it in self-centered indulgence. But leisure, like everything else, can be redeemed from its abuse and become part of our new life in Christ.


Leisure gives us the opportunity to show our love to God by consecrating our time to Him in prayer, devotion and worship. Leisure gives us the opportunity to show respect to ourselves as we take time to meet our physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs.  Leisure gives us the opportunity to show concern towards others as we take time to come closer to our family






As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the seminars scheduled for the month of September 2008.  We wish to extend a warm welcome to those of you who live close to the location of our seminars. Our new seminars with Words and Songs will touch your heart and expand your mind.



Location: 217 East Lane North, Wembley, Middlesex  HAO 3NG

For directions and information call Pastor Michael Anim at 01923 661 212



Location: 609 St. Albans Road, Garston, Watford, Hertz WD25 9JL.

For directions and information call Pastor Ian Sleeman at 01923 606130



Location: 259 Little Road, Fulham, London SW6 7LL

For directions and information call Pastor Clive De Silva at 0208 384 1710



Location: 515 Harley Lester Lane, Apopka, Florida 32703

For direction and information call the church office at (407) 869-0680



Location: 401 North Williamson Boulevard, Dayton Beach, FL 32114

For information and diretions call Pastor Bill Barrett at (386) 255-5144.




An Update on the Amazing Impact of this Best-selling Book!


Though Popular Beliefs  came out less than three months ago, I have received already a significant number of positive responses from church leaders, editors, and scholars of different denominations. An Evangelical Pastor called me to inform me that my book The Sabbath Under Crossfire helped his congregation to accept the Sabbath. Now he was eager to order a case of Popular Beliefs because he feels that the book will help his congregation to accept other vital Bible truths.


An editor of an Evangelical magazine ordered a case of 30 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?  After reading it, he sent in for another 30 copies and encouraged their book store manager to place an order for 100 copies which we have already sent.


Popular Beliefs Expresses my Gratitude to God for His Healing


When I read these encouraging messages, I can only say: Thank you God for extending me life and giving me wisdom and grace to research and write Popular Beliefs.  When I was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on February 2007, one of my deep regrets was the inability to complete this important project during the remaining few months I was expected to live. I promised to the Lord that if He would extend my life, I would put forth my best efforts to complete Popular Beliefs, to express my gratitude to Him for His providential healing.


The Lord has answered my prayer by prolonging my life. Grateful to God for a new lease on life, I fulfilled my promise by devoting every spare moment of this past year to complete Popular Beliefs, designed to call many truth-seekers to “come out of her my people” (Rev 18:4)


When Popular Beliefs came off the press on April 25, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude to God for restoring my health and for enabling me to complete this important research project. I felt that an appropriate way to express my gratitude to God, was to plan for a dedication service for the book. In a special way the service was a re-dedication  of my life to His service. About 30 fellow believers, including three medical doctors and a few teachers, attended the dedication service at our home.


 My Legacy to our Adventist Church


In many ways  Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? represents for me my legacy to our Seventh-day Adventist Church.  This may be my last and hopefully my most important contribution to the mission of our Adventist church. All my previous 17 books are making a contribution by helping truth-seekers to understand and accept fundamental Bible teachings held by our church.  But the impact of Popular Beliefs is already proving to be greater than any of my previous books, because it examines, not one, but 10 popular beliefs, which are biblically wrong.


A Most Effective Witnessing Publication


Popular Beliefs  is a much needed witnessing book that you can give with confidence to friends who want to know why their popular beliefs are unbiblical and the Adventist beliefs are biblical correct. Each of the 10 popular beliefs is traced historically and examined biblically. The ultimate goal is to lead people to appreciate the validity and value of our Adventist beliefs.


My Sincere Hope


I have written this book with the earnest desire to help Christians of all persuasions to re-examine their popular beliefs in the light of the normative authority of the Bible. At a time when most Christians still hold to popular beliefs that derive from human traditions rather than from biblical revelation, it is imperative to recover those biblical truths that God has revealed for our eternal salvation.


It is my fervent hope that this book, fruit of many months of dedicated research, will help Christians of all persuasions to “come out” of the Babylonian confusion of popular but unbiblical beliefs, and accept  God’s glorious plan for our present life and our future destiny.




To facilitate a massive circulation of Popular Beliefs, I have decided to continue to offer the book at the following substantially discounted prices:


         2 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? for the price of one, namely $30.00 for two copies. Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $10.00 for  AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.


         10 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $10.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $30.00 ($100.00 for 10 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $50.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.


         30 copies (one case) of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $6.65 per copy ($200.00 for 30 copies).  Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $100.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.


           100 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $5.00 per copy, postage paid. ($500.00 for 100 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $300.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination. 


NOTE: We can ship by sea-freight up to 1000 copies of Popular Beliefs (up to a cubit meter) to any foreign destinations for only $500.00. This reduces the cost of mailing to only Ę50 per book.  Fee free to contact me for further details.




You can order Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? in four different ways:


(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_35


(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.


(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.


(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order as soon as we receive it.




The Spanish edition of Popular Beliefs: Are the Biblical? (LAS CREENCIAS POPULARES, ņSON BÍBLICAS?) will be out in two months by October 31, 2008.


You can read in Spanish a description of the book and view its cover, by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/spanpop.htm


At this time you can order  LAS CREENCIAS POPULARES, ņSON BÍBLICAS? at the pre-bublication price of $6.00 per copy, instead of $30.00.  For details click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/spanpop.htm




At the request of several Adventists, who are interested to use my Sabbath books for sharing the message of the Sabbath, I am offering the package of the four books for only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00.  The price includes the mailing expenses to US destinations.


This is a brief description of the FOUR SABBATH BOOKS




Description. This book presents the results of five years of painstaking research done by  Dr. Bacchiocchi at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on how the change came about from Saturday to Sunday in early Christianity. The book has the distinction of being the first publication written by a non-Catholic ever to be published with the Catholic imprimatur-approval. The book documents the role of the papacy in changing the Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity.




Description. This book complements From Sabbath to Sunday by offering a stirring theological presentation of the relevance of the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath for our tension-filled and restless society. You will find in this book practical principles on how to experience through the Sabbath the Savior’s rest and peace in your life. The book has been translated in fifteen languages, helping many to discover the Sabbath as a day of joyful celebration of God’s creative and redemptive love.




Description. The book analyzes in a systematic way the most common arguments used to negate the continuity and validity of the Sabbath for today. With compelling Biblical reasoning, it unmasks the fallacies of the attempts made to reduce the Sabbath to a Mosaic institution, fulfilled by Christ and condemned by Paul. The final chapter, “Rediscovering the Sabbath,” offers an informative update on the rediscovery of the Sabbath by numerous religious groups and church leaders.



 Description. In this book Dr. Bacchiocchi summarizes his extensive research by presenting four  basic reasons for the permanence of the principle and practice of Sabbathkeeping in the New Testament. The second half of the book answers a wide variety of questions often asked about the Sabbath. To the delight of many the new edition includes a chapter by Mrs. Bacchiocchi where she shares 20 of her family’s favorite Italian Sabbath recipes.




You can order the package of the FOUR SABBATH BOOKS in four different ways:


(1)  ONLINE: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/sbooks.htm


(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.


(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.


(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order as soon as we receive it.





This offer may sound too good to be true. At this time we are offering together as a package all the 14 DVD/CD albums which contains 41 live, video lectures for only $150.00, instead of $1650.00.


This package contains 41 professionally recorded live, video lectures with all the lectures of Prof. Bacchiocchi, Prof. Jon Paulien, Prof. Roy Gane, Prof. Graeme Bradford, and Soprano Cristina Piccardi.


Until now these recordings were sold separately, costing considerably more.  But to make it possible for many to benefit from all these timely messages, we offer them together as a package for only $150.00, instead of the regular price of $1400.00.


You can view the picture of all the 14 ALBUMS and read a detailed description of them, just by clicking at this link:http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm


The Package Includes the Following 14 Albums:


1)  PROF. BACCHIOCCHI AND CRISTINA PICCARDI’S DVD Album with Sabbath Seminar with Words and Songs recorded at the Loma Linda SDA church. The album contains three DVD disks with 6 hours of lectures and sacred songs.


2) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S newly recorded DVD ALBUM called ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR.  The album contains 2 video powerpoint lectures: The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages and How to Build a Happy and Lasting Marriage. These two lectures summarize the highlights of Bacchiocchi’s two books Wine in the Bible and The Marriage Covenant. Two separate files with 225 powerpoint slides are included.


3) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM containing 10 video powerpoint lectures on the SABBATH/ADVENT SEMINAR.  Some of the lectures show the documents Prof. Bacchiocchi found in Vatican libraries on the role of the papacy in changing the Sabbath to Sunday. This album contains the popular powerpoint SABBATH/ADVENT seminars Prof. Bacchiocchi presents in many countries.


3) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM on CRACKING THE DA VINCI CODE. The album contains a two hours video lecture, professionally taped with a virtual studio as a background. A separate file with 200 powerpoint slides is included. The two video lectures reveal the prophetic significance of Dan Brown’s neo-pagan false worship promoted through his book and film. The two hours video lectures will  help you appreciate the role that The Da Vinci Code plays in the prophetic endtime battle between true and false worship.


4) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM on THE MARK AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST. The album contains two hours professionally recorded video lecture and a separate powerpoint file with the 200 slides used for the lecture. The project was commissioned  by Prof. Jon Paulien and Prof. Ranko Stefanovich, who are the foremost authorities on the book of Revelation. With the help of 200 beautiful slides the video lecture shows the origin and historical use of 666.  You will see stunning pictures of papal tiaras, including disputed one with the pope’s tittle Vicarius Filii Dei.


5) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S CD ALBUM with all his BOOKS AND POWERPOINT LECTURES. The album consists of two disks. The first disk has all his 20 books and over 200 articles. The second disk has the 2000 slides and script of 25 of Prof. Bacchiocchi’s popular PowerPoint presentations.


6) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM on THE PASSION OF CHRIST.  The album contains the 2 hours live interview conducted by 3ABN on Prof. Bacchiocchi’s book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History. The live video interview show that that this movie is a strict Catholic film that in a subtle and deceptive way promotes fundamental Catholic heresies.


7) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S  MP3 AUDIO ALBUM which contains 2 disks with 22 AUDIO LECTURES on  on Marriage, Music, Temperance, Dress, Sabbath, Second Advent, State of the Dead, and others. You can enjoy these lectures while driving, working, or relaxing. Ideal for listening in your car while driving.


8) PROF. JON PAULIEN’S newly released DVD ALBUM video seminar on Simply Revelation.  The four live video lectures focus on the essential messages of Revelation and their relevance for today. This mini Revelation Seminar will offer you and your congregation fresh insights into the Book of Revelation. Currently, Prof. Paulien is preparaing a new Revelation Seminar at the requst of the General Conference


9) PROF. JON PAULIEN’S CD ALBUM with a dozen of his books, and all his articles. You will find in this collection a priceless resource to enrich your understanding and experience of biblical truths. Prof. Paulien examines fundamental biblical beliefs in a profound and yet popular way.  He is a recognized expert on the book of Revelation. Several of his books will help you to unlock the secrets of Revelation.


10) PROF. GRAEME BRADFORD’S DVD ALBUM with a two hours video lecture on Ellen White. He shares the highlights of his book More than a Prophet. The album contains also Prof. Bradford’s the publications and articles. A searchable data base enables you to access  Prof. Graeme Bradford’s published and unpublished writings, including his the latest book More than a Prophet.


11) CRISTINA PICCARDI’S CD ALBUM REJOICE IN THE LORD. The album consists of 11 sacred songs recorded with Marcelo Caceres, Professor of piano at Andrews University.  The CD Album includes Gospel songs like How Great Thou Art, He Shall Feed His Flock, Softly and Tenderly, The Holy City, etc. You can play this audio recording in your car CD player, or on any CD or DVD players you have in your home.


12) CRISTINA PICCARDI’S DVD ALBUM SING UNTO THE LORD. This DVD Album contains 12  sacred familiar songs that were recorded during a live sacred concert presented at Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church. This is a video recording that you can enjoy in your living room and play in your church.


13) CRISTINA PICCARDI’S DVD ALBUM BY HIS GRACE.  This DVD album consists of 16 sacred songs recorded in Loma Linda with four high-definition cameras.  The songs cover the major themes of God’s creative and redemptive love. Her marvellous singing will touch your heart and inspire you to devote your life more fully to the Savior.


14) PROF. ROY GANE’S NEW DVD ALTAR CALL: SACRIFICE, SANCTUARY, AND SALVATION. The DVD contains four live video lectures on the relevance of the message of the sanctuary for today.You will learn how to get in touch with Jesus in the Heavenly Sanctuary where He is working to bring to completion His redemptive mission.  Prof. Gane is righly recognized an Adventist authority on the sanctuary which he currently teaches at Andrews University Theological Seminary.




You can order the complete package of 14 DVD/CD Albums, which contain 41 live video lectures and powerful soprano singing, for only $150.00,  instead of the regular online price of $1650.00, in four different ways:


(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm


(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.


(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.     


(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check for $150.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.





Two days following my 69th birthday, I learned that I had advanced-stage colon cancer requiring immediate surgery. Later I was told that the cancer had spread to the liver, infesting 90% of the organ and making its prognosis bleak. Several oncologists that I consulted, confirmed that I had Stage 4 terminal liver cancer, with only a few months to live. All what they could do was to prolong my life with chemotherapy for a few months or a year at best. No Cancer Center, including Loma Linda Cancer Center, had a clinical trial program for liver cancer. The impression I received is that nothing could be done to heal my cancer: I was doomed to die in a few months, at most a year.


Driven by my faith in God and optimistic attitude, I sought another opinion at the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana, which is located only one hour away from Andrews University, where I live. Following a two-hour consultation with Dr. Seza Gulec (see the picture at my website by clicking http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen), a pioneer in the field of nuclear oncology, I learned that my cancer was terminal but treatable with a combined strategy of chemotherapy and microsphere embolization - a treatment unavailable at most cancer centers. Within one month, the innovative treatment reduced the presence of liver cancer by almost 80% and decreased total tumor volume from 2435cc to 680cc. Within two months, two more treatments reduced my cancer by 95%.


Today I feel like a new man with a new lease on life. I feel like an old car with a decent looking body and a brand new motor. I have more energy than I have had earlier in my life. I can only thank God for His providential leading to the right place and for using the latest research to restore my health.


Click here to see the pictures of the various stages of my cancer: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen


The Goshen Center for Cancer Care is one of the few treatment facilities in the world to offer this breakthrough technology primarily due to the commitment of Dr. Gulec. A world-renowned physician, Dr. Gulec has dedicated years to research and develop the combination therapy, which greatly increases survival rates in those with advanced types of cancer. He has also authored landmark publications in lymphatic mapping, sentinel node biopsy, radioguided surgery and radionuclide therapy. Dr. Gulec currently leads the endocrine surgery, hepatic oncology, molecular imaging and positron emission tomography programs at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care.  To learn more about Dr. Seza Gulec click:  http://www.cancermidwest.com/main.asp?id=217


Truly I can say that I believe that the Lord providentially placed me in contact with Dr. Gulec, who has done for me what appeared to be impossible.  The Lord has used Dr. Gulec to give me a new lease on life. He is so proud of my recovery that he uses me as a show case at international nuclear oncological conferences. Now I feel like a new man energized to serve the Lord in a greater way in the sunset years of my life.  Somehow I feel that I have more energy now than I had at 25 years of age.


You can contact the CENTER FOR CANCER CARE in Goshen, Indiana in the following ways:


1) PHONE: (888) 491-4673


2) EMAIL: sgulec@goshenhealth.com


3) WEBSITES: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen  or  http://www.cancermidwest.com/




HITACHI has released the new CP-X401 3000 lumens projector, which  has an impressive high resolution, low fan noise, and a wealth of connectivity options. The most impressive feature of this projector is the incredible price of only $1000.00 to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries. I HAVE RECIVED ONLY A LIMITED SUPPLY AT THIS PRICE. The price includes a carrying case, a remote, DVD and VIDEO cables, and a three years replacement warranty.


To receive detail information about this projector as well as on other models offered to us by HITACHI at a substantially discounted price, feel free to call us at (269) 471-2915.




If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.


The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.


You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67


If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.




If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at about 30% discount.


The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that best suits your church, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.




            If your travel plans call for a stop in London, you will be pleased to learn about a most gracious Adventist couple that offer the best accommodation and breakfast I have ever enjoyed. It has become my home away from home when in London.  See details at: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm   Their new home phone numbers are: 020 8429-3140 or 020 8819-5708