Remember the Sabbath day

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A common Adventist argument is that “remember the Sabbath” means that the Sabbath existed prior to this instruction.

Remember your dentist appointment.

Am I asking you to remember/think back on your dentist appointment?

Or am I asking you to remember, when the future time comes, to get your teeth checked?

Strong’s H2142
zakar
zaw-kar’
A primitive root; properly to mark (so as to be recognized), that is, to remember; by implication to mention; also (as denominative from H2145) to be male: –  X burn [incense], X earnestly, be male, (make) mention (of), be mindful, recount, record (-er), remember, make to be remembered, bring (call, come, keep, put) to (in) remembrance, X still, think on, X well.

Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions
H2142
zakar
BDB Definition:
1) to remember, recall, call to mind
1a) (Qal) to remember, recall
1b) (Niphal) to be brought to remembrance, be remembered, be thought of, be brought to mind
1c) (Hiphil)
1c1) to cause to remember, remind
1c2) to cause to be remembered, keep in remembrance
1c3) to mention
1c4) to record
1c5) to make a memorial, make remembrance
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 551

Recognise <— this is what God is telling them.

If we use the meaning of the Hebrew to translate it “Recognise the Sabbath day,” that destroys the Adventist position that God was telling them to look into the past.

Observe the day.

That is why the parallel passage in Deut 5:12 uses a different word:

Strong’s H8104
shamar
shaw-mar’
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard;
generally to protect, attend to, etc.: – beware, be circumspect, take heed
(to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard,
reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).

H8104
sha^mar
BDB Definition:
1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to keep, have charge of
1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life
1a2a) watch, watchman (participle)
1a3) to watch for, wait for
1a4) to watch, observe
1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)
1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain
1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)
1a8] to keep, preserve, protect
1a9) to keep, reserve
1b) (Niphal)
1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware
1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
1b3) to be kept, be guarded
1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed
1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 2414

The part about thinking back is not to think back and recall the Sabbath. It’s about thinking back and recalling the Exodus from Egypt.

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