"And he shall speak great words against the Most High,...and think to change times and laws."
"The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."
Catholic Mirror, Sept. 1893
"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters."
C.P.Thomas, Chancellor under Cardinal Gibbons
Did you know...
that St. Patrick worshiped on the seventh-day Sabbath and
believed in the 2nd Coming of Jesus?
that Count Zinzendorf brought the Sabbath to Pennsylvania?
that Roger Williams defended Sabbath-keepers?
that Luther's friend Carlstadt disagreed with Luther over the
that Sunday was called "the Mark of the Beast" by a 17th century
that the emperor of China had a monument erected in the 8th
century to commemorate the coming of Sabbath-keeping Christian missionaries?
that a Physician for three sets of Englands kings and queens
kept the seventh-day Sabbath and called the Pope "the triple crowned little
horned changer of times and laws?"
History is full of
these little known facts validating the Bible Sabbath kept by the earliest
Christians and until the present day. What a rich heritage we have to
study and share with our children the testimonies of men, women, and children
through the centuries, whose faith was purified by the darkest of times,
who held the Word of God as their only rule of faith and practice.
The great and precious Sabbath
truth has withstood the test of time, the fiercest opposition of the antichrist
and his forces, and the almost universal acceptance of the papal Sunday.
The story is an inspiring one the enduring and unchangeable prophetic word
that neither men nor angels, nor principalities nor powers, nor things present
nor things to come can overthrow. How much our appreciation and love of
the truth is strengthened by understanding what others endured in its defense!
The description of a beast is given in the New Testament book of Revelation chapter 13:14-18. "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
Identifying the Beast:
Now that we have read the quote we need to identify the beast, but before we talk about the Beast we need to understand the back-ground and history preceding the Beast. The best place to begin is in the book of Daniel, which deals greatly with prophecy, from the 6th century B.C. down to the end of time.
The interpretation of the symbols used in Bible prophecy has not been left to human guesswork. Prophecy is history written in advance, and the book of Daniel provides the key to understanding it. A beast in prophecy symbolises a king or kingdom. "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." Daniel 7:17 and "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth," Daniel 7:23 indicate this. Note that 'king' and 'kingdom' are used interchangeably. Daniel 7:3 states that these four kings "came up from the sea", and sea or waters in prophecy represents "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15. In chapter 7 of Daniel we have the then current, and future kingdoms of the world presented to the prophet. "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it." Daniel 7:4. This refers to the Babylonian Empire, which reigned supreme in Daniel's time.
"And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh." Daniel 7:5. This symbol too is the same as the one found in Daniel 2:39. The kingdom which followed Babylon was Medo-Persia. This was a dual monarchy with the Medes ruling first, the later the Persians. The prophecy indicates this aspect by noting that the bear 'raised up itself on one side'. The three ribs represented other powers overthrown in its rise to dominance, namely Lydia, Babylon and Egypt.
"After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it." Daniel 7:6. This symbol also represents the same power as the one presented in Daniel 2:39. It was the Grecian empire under Alexander the Great which overthrew the Persians, and when he died his kingdom was divided into four parts, as symbolised by the four heads.
The Fourth Beast:
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns." Daniel 7:7. This symbol is again the same power as the one represented in Daniel 2:40. The fourth universal power to rule the world after Daniel's day was pagan Rome. It was so different from any beast Daniel knew that he was unable to name it. It was indescribable. The ten horns are noted in Daniel 7:24 as "ten kings that shall arise". It is in fact that the Roman Empire was split up into ten smaller kingdoms between the years 351 and 476 A.D.
Their ancient and modern names are:
1. Alemanni - Germany
2. Franks ? France
3. Anglo Saxons - England
4. Burgundians ? Switzerland
5. Visigoths ? Spain
6. Suevi ? Portugal
7. Lombards - Italy
8. Heruli (No longer in existence)
9. Vandals (No longer in existence)
10. Ostrogoths (No longer in existence)
The Little Horn:
"I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things." Daniel 7:8. This verse gives two identifying marks to locate the 'little horn' in history. It came up 'among' the ten horns (kindgoms) and 'three' of the original ten were overthrown in its rise to power. Later, in Daniel 7:24, another identifying mark is given. The little horn would come up 'after' the ten horns. There is only ONE power in all history that fits this description. In Rome itself in the very centre of the fractured empire there arose after 476 A.D. the PAPACY, the one-man government of the Catholic church. In its rise to power three of the Gothic tribes, the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths, were overthrown and disappeared from history. The reigning power of these kings passed to the Pope. The power of the Papacy was established by the decree of Justinian in 533 A.D. and was carried out by force of arms in 538 A.D. with the overthrow of the Ostrogoths by Justinian's general, Belisarius.
More identifying marks are given in Daniel 7:25. It says that he "shall wear out the saints of the most High", indicating great persecution. No reader of history will deny the role of the Papacy in this. The dreadful persecution of the Dark Ages have indeed blackened the pages of history.
Then he shall "think to change times and laws". This the Papacy has done by disposing of the second commandment (forbidding the worship of idols) and changing the fourth (the only one dealing with time). A false day of worship has been set up in place of the original seventh-day Sabbath kept by Christ and the apostles.
The next identification leaves no doubts, as no other power on earth could fit the prediction. That is, he shall reign for 1260 years. This is mentioned twice in Daniel and five times in Revelation, as follows: "time, times, and an half" (Time = 1 Bible year of 360 days, times = 2 Bible years, an half = 1/2 Bible year; totalling 1,260) in Daniel 7:25, 12:7 and Revelation 12:14; "forty and two months" in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5; and "a thousand two hundred and threescore days" in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 (A prophetic calendar year of 360 days, or 12 months of 30 days each, is used in Bible chronology).
This power, then, would reign supreme for 1260 days, each day standing for a year, or 1260 years (Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34); from 538 A.D., when the last of the opposing 'horns' was uprooted, till 1798. In that year Berthier, one of Napoleon's generals, took the French army to Rome, made the Bishop of Rome, Pope Pius VI prisoner, and carried him to France where he died. The civil power of the Papacy finally ceased and a republic was set up in Rome.
But the prophecy regarding the Papacy didn't end there???..
Look at a few references regarding the Papacy's 1260 years of supremacy, in the book of Revelation. Starting at chapter 13 we find verses 1 to 10 talking again about the Papacy's rise to power out of the fallen Roman Empire, its great power during the 1260 years, and the deadly wound it received at the end of that period. Verse 3 says, "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." We see from Daniel 7:21, 22 that this power would exist right up until Christ's second coming.
We have now positively identified the Beast of Revelation 13:14 - 18 as the Papacy or the Roman Catholic Church, but who is the image of the beast that is mentioned?
The Beast With Lamb-like Horns Makes The Image To The Beast:
In between its deadly wound and its rise back to power another beast is brought to view in Revelation 13:11, 12. "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed."
'Then I saw another BEAST . . .'
The Symbols - The Meaning:
Arises out of the earth. Rev.13:11 -
Arises in some new vacant or sparcely populated land.
Arises about the time the sea beast is falling. Rev. 13:10 -
Grows into a nation about the time the Papal overthrow - (1798)
Has two lamb-like horns verse 11 -
Two Christ-like principles give it strength (civil and religious liberty)
Has no crowns on the horns verse 11 -
Not a monarchy - some form of republic.
Exercises power equal to the first beast. Rev. 13:12 -
Becomes a formidable if not supreme world power.
This "beast coming up out of the earth" is a nation that comes up in a wilderness area. It is a country discovered, not conquered. It has "two horns like a lamb" indicating youth, gentleness and represents civil and religious freedom. But "he spake as a dragon," "exerciseth all the power of the first beast" and "causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast."
Only one power in history meets these five prophetic specifications, namely the United States of America. We see from verse 14 that it began with a humble nature but turns arbitary towards the end of time. We see that it makes an Image to the Beast - an exact copy of what the Papacy was during its 1260 year rule. When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.
Prophecy reveals that America will exalt Sunday sacredness, which is the Mark of the Papacy's authority to make up its own laws; and that the whole world will follow! It is the boast of the Papacy that it can change the Law of God, the ten commandments. This will become the deciding issue in the future, even to the point of death (Revelation 13:14, 15.). The LAW of GOD or the laws of men?
Note that at this time "he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men" "insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Revelation 13:13 and Matthew 24:24).
The Papacy claims the change of the Sabbath to the first day of the week was her act and is the mark of her authority in religious things.
'Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?'
'Answer: Had she not such power she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.'
('A Doctrinal Catechism', by the Rev. Stephen Kennan, p.174)
'Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act . . . and the act is a mark of her ecclesiatical authority in religious things.'
'If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church.'
(Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal in a letter of February 10, 1920)
The Mark of the Beast:
IT IS NOT MERELY AN OUTWARD SYMBOL. If so, it could be forced on those opposed to it. Those who refuse the mark keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12); therefore those who have the mark do not keep them. Those who receive the seal of God are victorious over the mark of the Beast (Revelation 9:4, 15:2); thus the mark involves breaking the ten commandments, because the seal of God is found within His moral law (see below).
The fourth commandment (the seventh day Sabbath), which Rome has endeavoured to set aside, is the only precept of the Decalogue that points to God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus distinguishes the true God from all false gods. The Sabbath was instituted to commemorate the work of creation, and thus to direct the minds of men to the true and living God. The fact of His creative power is cited throughout the Scriptures as proof that the God of Israel is superior to heathen deities. Had the Sabbath always been kept, man's thoughts and affections would have been led to his Maker as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel.
That institution which points to God as the Creator, is a sign of His rightful authority over the beings He has made. The change of the Sabbath is the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who, understanding the claims of the fourth commandment, choose to observe the false in place of the true Sabbath, are thereby paying homage to that power by which alone it is commanded, namely the Roman Catholic Church.
The mark of the beast will be received on the forehead or in the hand - the forehead symbolising belief, the hand co-operation with the authority.
No one has the mark today. It will be received only when national or international Sunday law is enforced by legislation, to restrict the consciences of men, women and children in regard to their freedom of worship.
But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God, to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honour popery above God. He is paying homage to Rome and to the power which enforces the institution ordained by Rome. He is worshipping the beast and his image. As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honour in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremancy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome - "the mark of the beast." And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in trangression will receive "the mark of the beast."
The Seal of God:
A SIGN OR SEAL IS USED WITH THE SAME MEANING IN THE BIBLE IN CONNECTION WITH LAWS OR LEGAL DOCUMENTS.
* Note: An official seal must show three things:
1. The name of the lawgiver
2. His official position or right to rule
3. The kingdom or territory over which he rules
1. Person's name - Abraham Lincoln
2. Official position ? President
3. Domain - United States of America
THE SEAL OF GOD IS CONNECTED WITH HIS LAW AND IS FOUND IN THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT.
Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Read through all the ten commandments. Only in the fourth do we find:-
1. God's name - 'Lord thy God'
2. His official position - 'Creator'
3. His domain - 'heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is'
Ezekiel speaks of the sabbath as being God's sign (seal). "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them." Ezekiel 20:12. "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Isaiah 8:16.
JESUS SAID "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17, 18.
There was one who came to Jesus, asking, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. . . Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal . . ." Matthew 19:16-19.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-3, 14. The seventh day sabbath is an integral part of God's law, a weekly reminder of Christ our Creator and Redeemer.
The remnant church in the last days upholds all God's law: "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17. (A woman in prophecy represents a church.)
The Number Of His Name
As the Beast has already been identified, the number, whatever significance it may have, must have a relationship to this power. The number, says the prophecy, is the number of a man, and if it is to be derived from a name or title, the natural conclusion would be that is must be the name or title of some particular man. Vicarious Filii Dei, meaning "Vicar of the Son of God," is one of the titles for the Pope of Rome, who is also the Antichrist. The numerical value of the component letter of this title totals 666 as shown in the image below.
Here we have indeed the number of a man, even the "man of sin;" and it is a little singular, perhaps providential, that he should select a title which shows the blasphemous character of the beast, and then cause it to be inscribed upon his miter, as if to brand himself with the number 666. Not all popes might wear the title emblazoned on the miter, but this does not affect the application at all, for the popes all assume to be the "Vicar of Christ" and the Latin words given above, are the words which express that title, in the form "Vicar of the Son of God;" and their numerical value is 666.
The Three Angels' Messages:
These messages are given to prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord.
This warning is brought to view in Revelation 14. Here is a threefold message that contains the most serious warning of coming judgement to be found in scripture.
The First Angel's Message
The first of these warnings announces the approaching judgement.
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgement is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:6, 7.
The announcement, "The hour of His judgement is come," points to the closing work of Christ's ministration for the salvation of men. It heralds a truth which must be proclaimed until the Saviour's intercession shall cease and He shall return to the earth to take His people to Himself. The work of judgement which began in 1844 must continue until the cases of all are decided, both of the living and the dead; hence it will extend to the close of human probation. That men may be prepared to stand in the judgement, the message commands them to "fear God, and give glory to Him," "and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." The result of an acceptance of these messages is given in the word: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." In order to be prepared for the judgment, it is necessary that men should keep the law of God. That law will be the standard of character in the judgment. The apostle Paul declares: "As many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law, . . . in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." And he says the "the doers of the law shall be justified." Romans 2:12 - 16. Faith is essential in order to the keeping of the law of God; for "without faith it is impossible to please Him." And "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Hebrews 11:6; Romans 14:23.
By the first angel, men are called upon to "fear God and give glory to Him" and to worship Him as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In order to do this, they must obey His law. Says the wise man: "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13. Without obedience to His commandments no worship can be pleasing to God. "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." 1 John 5:3, Proverbs 28:9.
The Second Angel's Message
The first angel is followed by a second proclaiming: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Revelation 14:8. The term "Babylon" is derived from "Babel," and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion.
The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the judgement, it must be given in the last days; therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Furthermore, in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation the people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God's people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith.
Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome's example of iniquitous connection with "the kings of the earth" - the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favour of the world. And the term "Babylon" - confusion - may be appropriately applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely conflicting creeds and theories.
Besides a sinful union with the world, the churches that separated from Rome present other of her characteristics and doctrines:
*Idolatry in relation to the saints and statutes
*Anti Christian spirit and practices
*Natural immortality of the soul
*Eternal hell fire
*Righteous dead in heaven
*Denial of the pre-existance of Christ prior to his birth in Bethlehem
The Third Angel's Message
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:9 - 12.
Here we read that anyone who worships the Beast - The Roman Catholic Church - and his image - Protestant churches uniting with the state to pass religious laws - and receive his mark - Sunday worship enforced by law - in his forehead - believes it to be correct - or in his hand - cooperation with authorities to avoid punishment - shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture - will be punished by God in a fine that will totally consume them so that they will be forgotten by those that are saved.
The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel's message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God's judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them. Prophecy declares that the first angel would make his announcement to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." The warning of the third angel, which forms a part of the same threefold message, is to be no less widespread. It is represented in the prophecy as being proclaimed with a loud voice, by an angel flying in the midst of heaven; and it will command the attention of the world.
The Fourth or Another Angel
"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double." Revelation 18:1 - 6.
Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6 - 12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that "believed not the truth, but had pleasue in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, than the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will head the call: "Come out of her, My people." (Revelation 18:4).
By reading all the above, we can see what is meant by the Three Angels' Message of Revelation 14.
They tell us the judgement is now taking place (verses 6, 7).
They tell us that Protestantism has fallen and in reference to this, Revelation 18:1-5 tells us it has become the habitation of devils and every foul spirit. We are called out of this false system of religion.
The most solemn warning is given to the world, that if any man worship the papacy or its Image (i.e. Protestantism united with government to enforce man-made traditions) and goes along with compulsory Sunday worship they will receive the mark of the Beast (verses 9-11).
Verse 12 show us the class who do not receive the mark of the Beast, but are declared to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (including the seventh day sabbath).
Can you escape?
Knowing what the issues are, we might wonder if it is possible to obey God and escape His judgment, knowing full well that we have had a lifetime of sinning. And what is sin? "For sin is the transgression (breaking) of the law." 1 John 3:4 and "For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. What hope do we have? None in ourselves. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah 13:23.
Calvary stands as a memorial of the amazing sacrifice required to atone for the transgression of the divine law. Let us not regard sin as a trivial thing.
How shall a man be just with God?
How shall the sinner be made righteous?
It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ? Many are asking the same question as did the multitude on the Day of Pentecost, when, convicted of sin, they cried out, "What shall we do?" The first word of Peter's answer was "Repent". Acts 2:37, 38. At another time, shortly after, he said "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" Acts 3:19.
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. . . For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:14, 15, 18.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. We can claim this strength only when we accept His Righteousness by faith and repent. Confess and turn away from sinning (that is breaking God's Law) to follow Him in obedience. But you see friend, faith and repentance are a gift of God (Romans 12:3, 2; 2 Timothy 2:25) like everything else, and it is not something you can produce of yourself. Understanding our situation, Jesus says to us "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:7, 11. So ask NOW as David did.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Psalms 51:10-12. Only by total dependence on Jesus Christ our LIVING SAVIOUR may we attain a Christ-like character and be ready to meet the Lord when He returns. "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them." Hebrews 10:16.
Just before Jesus Christ returns to this earth that holy law, God's righteousness, that amid thunder and flame was proclaimed from Sinai as the guide of life, is now revealed to men as the rule of judgement. The hand opens the tables, and there are seen the precepts of the Decalogue, traced as with a pen of fire. It is impossible to describe the horror and despair of those who have tramples upon God's holy requirements.
The enemies of God's law, from the ministers down to the least among them, have a new conception of truth and duty. Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God. Religious teachers have led souls to perdition while profession to guide them to the gates of Paradise. Not until the day of final accounts will it be known how great is the responsibility of men in holy office and how terrible are the results of their unfaithfulness. Only in eternity can we rightly estimate the loss of a single soul. Fearful will be the doom of him to whom God shall say: Depart, thou wicked servant.
In the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes - those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel "all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond" (Revelation 13:16), to receive "the mark of the beast," yet the people of God will not receive it. The prophet of Patmos beholds "them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2, 3.
Remember back in the Garden of Eden obedience was tested by two trees? In these very last days OBEDIENCE will be tested by whose laws we keep. THE LAW OF GOD or the laws of men. God's Sabbath or the Sunday pagan counterfeit.
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12
Someone presented a website link to me regarding Scriptural support for keeping Sunday as God's Sabbath day. I would like to provide my response to this website:
First of all, I always ask myself several simple questions before delving into any deep study.....
1. Where exactly does it say in the Bible that the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday?
2. If the "Jewish" seventh day Sabbath was done away with, why is it part of the 10 Commandments and why are there TWO whole verses dedicated to this Commandment, and why is this Commandment the ONLY Commandment that starts with the word "remember?" (Makes a person wonder if God knew we would "forget" about it and attempted to show its importance by giving two whole verses to this Commandment as well as a reminder to "remember.")
3. If it is ok to simply choose the most convenient day of the week that suits US for weekly worship and if it is no longer important to give honor and holiness to that specified day, according to the 10 Commandment Law, then it would only seem logical that the REST of the 10 Commandments are null and void and no longer applicable today, right? We could commit adultery, lie, steal, and even kill, if it didn't "suit" us or was "inconvenient" for us to obey those particular Commandments EXACTLY as they were written, right?
It is interesting to note that the actual seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) never officially changed until long after the Bible was written. There are absolutely NO verses in the Bible that instruct us to sanctify any other day save for the SEVENTH day.
Most all Sunday-keeping denominations will tell you that the New Testament encourages and advocates the keeping of the "first day" of the week. However, there are absolutely no Bible texts to back up this claim. The story in Acts 20:7 is most often used in reference for Sunday worship, however, it says nothing to the effect of keeping the "first day" sacred as the SABBATH or LORD'S DAY. It simply speaks of Paul speaking to a gathering of the faithful and the disciples on the first day of the week and mentions that they broke bread together and that he spoke clear through until midnight......which would be the beginning of Monday. It says nothing to the effect that they were attending CHURCH or that the gathering was a SABBATH gathering. Most all Christian people meet at many varying times of the week for Bible study, Prayer services, Social gatherings, Evangelistic meetings, and many other special occasions and events. The fact that Paul happened to be preaching to the disciples on the "first day" of the week does not at all signify that this day should be sanctified as the "Sabbath" when there is absolutely NO reference to that fact.
Another verse often used by churches to defend the worship of Sunday, is 1 Corinthians 16:2. First of all, WHERE does it say that verse is specifically making reference to the SABBATH and of actually engaging in worship?? How does the collection of the tithes and offerings connect to Sabbath-keeping?? That verse actually explains itself very clearly. Paul CLEARLY instructs the church members to lay aside their tithes and offerings on the first day of the week, so that when he comes through to visit the churches, the "gatherings" will be easier and more efficient to accumulate so he could take them back with him to the "Conference" or main headquarters for the churches. The predeeding verse before it even explains it further..............."Now, concerning the collections for the saints......." It does not say..........."Now, concerning keeping the SABBATH........."
The above-listed website makes the statement that Christians began worshipping on the first day of the week in the New Testament, but notice how they do not provide Scriptural references to back up this claim. (Refer to Acts 20:7 for example, as I listed above.)
While it is true that Jesus said that "the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath," (Mark 2:27), that verse has two obvious meanings. First, read the chapter in context to note WHO Jesus was speaking to and WHY. The Jewish people in that day were very legalistic about such things as Sabbath-keeping, among many OTHER points of the Law, and were very "works-oriented." When the entire chapter is read in context, it is obvious that Jesus was gently instructing the church leaders to stop being so legalistic about Sabbath-keeping and other church regulations and rules. The other obvious conclusion that one should note by this verse, is that Jesus is obviously saying that it is not MAN'S choice, duty, or pleasure to change the day of worship. God gave us that special day for a special purpose and it is not OUR'S to change or rearrange. He meant that the Sabbath day was given to man as a GIFT; not that man is allowed to dictate how it is observed according to the rules and regulations of MEN.
The reference is made to Colossians 2:17, but their quote is completely incorrect. Nowhere in that verse does it even mention the word "Sabbath," therefore they are incorrect by saying that the "Sabbath was a shadow of things to come." HOWEVER, when one reads the entire chapter in context, one understands the intended meaning. The "Shadow of things to come" was in clear reference to the Old Testament laws, rules, and regulations of the Jewish church which were abolished by the institution of the New Covenant....................where God wrote His law upon the HEARTS of men instead of requiring them to perform arduous traditions and ceremonies to gain forgiveness of sins and the gift of salvation. The New Covenant did not abolish the LAW, but only encouraged a change in the manner by which man accepted, loved, and lived-by the Law. The reference to holy days and Sabbaths (verse 16) is in reference to those specific times, days, Sabbaths, and holy days arduously and legalistically kept by the Jewish church. The Law itself did not change with the giving of the New Covenant, but the understanding, purpose, and acceptance of that same Law was changed, from outward forms of tradition to gain forgiveness, to an inward understanding and LOVE for the Law in the heart of the believer.
This brings us back to one of my first questions......... If the Sabbath was only a "shadow of things to come" and it is not necessary to observe it strictly according to the 10 Commandments...........then WHY is it listed right along with all the other laws by which our entire world, government, and life is governed?? Why was only that ONE Commandment "not important" any more, but the others must remain in place? It makes no sense. Once again, it would then seem logical that we could lie, steal, kill, and commit adultery because those old rules were legalistic, for the Jews only, and were only a "shadow of things to come," therefore they no longer apply to us today. Once again, it seems awful strange that God would place a completely non-significant LAW, dedicating TWO whole verses to it, and beginning with the word "remember," in the middle of 9 other laws that we must still abide by today.
It is also interesting to me that the website listed above, regarding Sunday worship, uses the verse of Deuteronomy 5:15 as another argument, but completely and conveniently ignores all the other verses surrounding it. According to verse 2, the Lord made a "COVENANT" with His people. That "Covenant" was between God and His people that they would "promise" to obey the Laws that God presented to Moses on the mountain, in the form of the 10 Commandments. Notice how the following verses literally repeat the 10 Commandment Laws that are given in Exodus 20. He even expounds upon each of the Commandments with a little comment about many of them individually.
When you read that entire chapter in context, the website's use of Deuteronomy 5:15 makes absolutely no sense in regards to the fact that Sabbath-keeping was only a law of "bondage" or "slavery" that was to be "done-away-with." When the entire chapter is speaking lovingly and reverently of the entire law of God, as given to His people, WHY would only that ONE verse suddenly mean that the keeping of that ONE law was of bondage and no longer required, but the rest of the verses NOT mean the same thing?? Read the chapter entirely and find the answer to that question.
To prepare the way for the work which he designed to accomplish, satan had led the Jews, before the advent of Christ, to load down the Sabbath with the most rigorous exactation (requirements), making its observance a burden. Now, taking advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it to be regarded, he cast contempt upon it as a "Jewish institution." While Christians generally continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to show their hatred of Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and gloom.
In the early part of the fouth century, the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival thoughout the Roman Empire.
The Sunday Law of Constantine
The law issued by the emperor Constantine on the seventh of March, A.D. 321, regarding the day of rest from labor, reads thus:
"All judges and city people and craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable Day of the Sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for planting by grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish."
- Joseph Cullen Ayer, A Source Book for Ancient Church History (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913), div. 2, per. 1, ch. 1, sec. 59, g, pp. 284, 285
The day of the sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects and was honored by Christians; it was the emperor's policy to unite the conflicting interests of heathenism and Christianity. He was urged to do this by the bishops of the church, who, inspired by ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day was observed by BOTH Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans and thus advance the power and glory of the church. But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held the true Sabbath as the holy of the Lord and observed it in obedience to the fourth commandment.
The archdeceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through his vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving churchmen, he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council, the Sabbath, which God had instituted, was pressed down a little lower, while Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honored as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a "relic of Judaism," and its observers were declared to be accursed.
Protestants (and other churches alike) now urge that the resurrection of Christ on Sunday made it the "Christian Sabbath." But Scripture evidence is lacking. No such honor was given to the day by Christ or His apostles. The observance of Sunday as a Christian institution had its origin in that "mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:7) which, even in Paul's day, had begun its work. Where and when did the Lord adopt this child of the papacy? What valid reason can be given for a change which the Scriptures do not sanction?
Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2 are two of the most common verses usually given by Sunday-keeping churches as their "Scriptural proof" that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday. However, as stated above, they clearly explain themselves and it seems amazing and nearly absurd to actually form a FOUNDATION for one's doctrinal belief upon two verses that say absolutely nothing about the very issue in point.
Once again, the writers of the information given in the above website realized the absurdity of such claims and understood that serious Bible students might question those verses, so their summation consists of the theory that: That because Jesus rose on the first day of the week, and because people repeatedly came together into gatherings on the first day of the week, and because Jesus repeatedly "appeared" on the first day of the week, "the early church was given the pattern of Sunday worship."
So the very doctrine of most mainstream Christianity today regarding the sanctity of Sunday as the Sabbath, is founded souly upon two main Scriptures that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Sabbath and upon the fact that the first day of the week is repeatedly a day for special events, therefore it "must mean that the Sabbath was meant to be changed." Frightening thought when one ponders the seriousness of this assumption, which leads man to make changes to the very LAW of God.
The writers of the above website sealed the absurdity of their claims by quoting Revelation 1:10 and by making the claim that "Sunday worship was further hallowed by our Lord who appeared to John in that last great vision on 'the Lord's day' (Rev. 1:10)." In that exact verse (or in the entire chapter), WHERE does it say that the "Lord's Day" is SUNDAY?? Or where does it say that the "Lord's Day" is the first day of the week??
The writers' claim that the Sabbath Commandment is not "re-affirmed" in the New Testatment is clearly and easily refuted upon a quick study of an exhaustive Condordance, which contains nearly 100 references to the Sabbath in the New Testament...........MANY of which "re-affirm" its:
It also "re-affirms" that God is the LORD of the Sabbath (NOT MAN) and contains MANY references with helpful instructions regarding the reverence and proper observance of the Sabbath day. NOWHERE, in the New Testament, does it ever lay claim to the changing of the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday. Therefore the very claim by mainstream Christianity that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday is based admittedly and entirely upon the conclusions and assumptions of MAN.
The writers of the above website scramble to cover their tracks by assuming that all the references in the New Testament regarding the Law and of man no longer being in "bondage" under the law, are making reference to "The Sabbath." It is interesting to note (once again), that the REST of the Commandment laws are expected to be obeyed, whether from the heart OR by legalistic methods. Both sides will agree that the 10 Commandment law remains in effect today and for always..............except for that one, little(?) law that is suddenly non-effective and was "changed" at some point........although no-one can show Biblical proof of this change or ever clearly explain WHY it was changed. Why is it so hard for man to TAKE THE BIBLE AT ITS WORD? It isn't hard to understand and accept that we are not to kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, or dishonor our parents, so WHY is it suddenly so complicated and hard to understand and accept the ONE law that God dedicated TWO entire Bible verses to and PREFACED the entire law with the word "REMEMBER?" Once again, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
The references used in the above website regarding the freedom from the bondage of the Law, are strictly and simply THAT..............man IS truly free from the bondage of the Law when it is written upon his very heart, mind, and soul. Why don't we hear people complaining thus............"I HATE being forced into perserving life when it would be SO much more fun and convenient and easier if I could kill and murder at will. God's Law is SO 'binding and legalistic and enslaving!!'" We drive down the road with the common understanding that obedience to the Laws of the road are there for our own safety and well-being, therefore we are all HAPPY and at peace when living in obedience to the Laws of the road; knowing and experiencing that wonderful "FREEDOM" and peace when one exercises obedience out of love for our own lives and for the lives of others that could easily be killed or injured by our own DIS-obedience. So it seems strange and illogical that we are MORE than happy to abide by all the other 9 Laws God so lovingly presented to us for our very SALVATION and happiness, but suddenly the BIGGEST Law of them all is suddenly "legalistic," "bondage," "slavery," and "no longer necessary."
We all understand perfectly that preserving life, remaining faithful to our spouses, honoring our parents, and practicing honesty is done without even a question and is done out of respect and LOVE.............for God, our families, and for others. But suddenly, when the Lord asks us to reserve ONE day, out of 7, and even goes so far as to SPECIFY DETAILS of this special, holy day, for us to give honor and worship and thankfulness to Him............it is suddenly legalistic and slavery. Could it possibly be that God KNEW we would conveniently "forget" that one all-important Law, and anticipated this disrespect by prefacing the entire Law with the word "REMEMBER?"
The argument is often used that it doesn't MATTER which day is kept holy, as long as one day out of seven (7) is kept holy, "at our convenience." Wouldn't it be sad if God chose to protect us, care for us, and watch over us "at His convenience?" Isn't it sad when children decide to obey their parents "at their convenience?" Isn't it abhorrent when a faithful wife decides to commit adultery because it just wasn't "convenient" for her to be faithful to her husband on that particular day at that particular time? God has given every single moment of His LIFE to His children, to protect and guide and instruct them, and to be there for us at a moment's notice, before we even ask. Why is it so hard to accept that He asks for us to dedicate ONE day out of the week for HIM and only HIM? He didn't say, "Keep the 7th day Sabbath holy............unless you have to work that day. Then it's ok if you worship me on Tuesday." Just as the laws given by God to govern our very safety and life are unchangeable and un-FLEXIBLE, neither is the Commandment to keep the seventh day of the week holy. And man's assumptions that we were given the right to choose what we should obey and when we should obey God, are simply that...........MAN'S ASSUMPTIONS, and not God's instructions.
What does the word "Covenant" mean? According to Websters Dictionary, the word "Covenant" means a "binding agreement" or a "sealed contract." A good example of this would be that of a person's "Will" that is drawn up and "sealed," to be processed at the time of their death. Can this "Will" be changed after the death of the writer? No. That is illegal. Can a binding contract be changed once it has been signed and sealed? No. That is illegal. Can a "Promise" be broken without consequences? No. God made a "Covenant," a "Binding Contract" with his people in the New Testament, that they would "Promise" to obey His Laws and keep His precepts, in return for His favor, protection, and blessing. God said, "You do something for me and I will do something for you in return." The PEOPLE broke the Covenant, by turning God's Laws into MAN's legalistic rules, regulations, and dictates.
This story is told by a well-known Evangelist:
I had just finished preaching on the subject of the Sabbath in one of my evangelistic crusades. As I stepped off the platform to greet the people as they left, three young men blocked my way in the aisle. One of them addressed me in quite a loud voice - loud enough to cause about fifty people near the front of the auditorium to stop and listen.
"Brother Joe," he said, "we were disappointed tonight with the way you put us back under the Old Covenant. Don't you realise that we are living under the New Covenant now, and should keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath?"
Although most of the congregation were leaving the building, the group near the front gathered closer to hear all that the young men were saying. It was obvious that I would have to take the time to answer this trio's challenging question. As I suspected, they turned out to be young seminarians in training at a local Bible college. Eagerly they held their Bibles in their hands and waited triumphantly for me to answer.
Usually, I do not like to debate controversial matters in a public forum, for fear of stirring combative natures, but there seemed no way to avoid dealing with these ministerial students. Anyway, they had my path completely blocked, and the circle of listeners looked at me expectantly for some explanation.
"Well, it seems as though you have studied the subject of the covenants quite deeply," I suggested.
"Oh, yes," they affirmed, "we know all about the covenants."
"Good," I replied. "You undoubtedly know when the Old Covenant was instituted." One of them spoke up quickly, "It was started at Mt. Sinai."
"And how was it ratified?" I asked. Without a moment's hesitation one of them answered, "By the sprinkling of the blood of an ox."
"Very good," I commented, "and how was the New Covenant ratified?" All three chorused the answer, "By the blood of Jesus on the cross."
I commended the young men for their knowledge of the Scriptures and asked them to read me two verses out of their own Bibles - Hebrews 9:16, 17 and Galatians 3:15. They responded eagerly to the invitation, and read the verses, commenting on each one after reading. "We agree that the New Covenant did not go into effect until after Christ died, and nothing can be added or taken away after He ratified it on he cross," the spokesman for the group asserted. All three nodded their heads emphatically over this point.
I said, "Now you must answer two more questions for me. Here's the first one, and you must think carefully to give me the correct answer: When did Sunday-keeping begin?" There was a moment of shocked silence, and then another, and another. The boys looked at each other, and then down at their feet, and then back at me. I gently prodded them for the answer, "Surely you can tell me the answer to this question. You have known all the others, and have answered correctly. When and why do you think people began keeping Sunday?"
Finally, one of them said, "We keep Sunday in honour of the resurrection of Jesus." I said, "Then I must ask you my last question. How could Sundaykeeping be a part of the New Covenant? You just stated that nothing could be added after the death of Christ. He died on Friday and was resurrected on Sunday. If Sunday was added after Jesus died, it could never be a part of the New Covenant, could it?"
The three young men shuffled their feet, looked helplessly around, and one of them said, "We'll study into that and talk to you later." Then they fled from that auditorium as fast as they could go. I can assure you, also, that they never returned to talk further about the covenants.
The fact is that Sundaykeeping, even if it had started on the day of the resurrection, would have been three days too late to get into the New Covenant. Both Bible and history prove that Sunday was never observed by the apostolic church. It was added much, much later as a result of the gradual apostasy which developed in the early centuries of the church and which culminated in the pagan accommodation of Constantine in 330 A.D.
Millions of modern church members regard Sunday as a sacred day which memorialises the resurrection of Christ. It is certainly true that Christ arose on the first day of the week, but nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to keep that day holy. Events such as the crucifixion and resurrection should mean much to every Christian, but not one intimation is given in the Bible for observing either Friday or Sunday. The only day ever commanded for weekly worship is the seventh day of the week - the same Sabbath Jesus kept during creation week and the one He will keep with His people throughout all eternity. Genesis 2:1-3; Isaiah 66:22, 23.
The very strongest reason for rejecting Sunday worship is that it was not included in the New Covenant requirements which were ratified by the death of Jesus. If Christ had desired His resurrection to be memorialised by Sundaykeeping, He could have introduced it on that same Thursday night of the Last Supper. Then it would have become a part of the New Covenant, along with the Communion service and foot-washing. Jesus did not hesitate to command the observance of His death, even though it had not taken place yet. Just as easily He could have commanded the observance of His resurrection, which was still future, in order that it might become a New Covenant requirement. But He did not! And no one else ever did either, until Paul's prophecy began to be fulfilled about an apostasy following his departure. Acts 20:29, 30. He spoke also of a falling away which would lead to the enthronement of Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. But true it is that no hint of any change of the law is given in the Scriptures. The unchangeable moral law was preserved in both Old and New Covenants as the perfect revelation of God's will.
Excerpts from The Clifton Tract, Volume 4, published by the Roman Catholic Church in 1869:
"Why Don't you keep Holy the Sabbath Day?"
I am going to propose a very plain and serious question for those who follow 'the Bible and the Bible only' to give their most earnest attention. It is this: Why do you not keep holy the Sabbath Day?
"The command of Almighty God stands clearly written in the Bible in these words: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.'" Exodus 20:8-10.
"You will answer me, perhaps, that you do keep the Sabbath; for that you abstain from all worldly business and diligently go to church, and say your prayers, and read your Bible at home every Sunday of your lives."
"But Sunday is not the Sabbath day. Sunday is the first day of the week: the Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week. Almighty God did not give a commandment that men should keep holy one day in seven; but He named His own day, and said distinctly: 'Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day'; and He assigned a reason for choosing this day rather than any other -- a reason which belongs only to the seventh day of the week, and cannot be applied to the rest. He says, 'For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it' Exodus 20:11; Genesis 2:1-3. Almighty God ordered that all men should rest from their labor on the seventh day, because He too had rested on that day: He did not rest on Sunday, but on Saturday. On Sunday, which is the first day of the week, He began the work of creation; He did not finish it. It was on Saturday that He 'ended His work which He had made: and God blessed the 7th day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.'" Genesis 2:2-3.
"Nothing can be more plain and easy to understand than all this, there is nobody who attempts to deny it. It is acknowledged by everybody that the day which Almighty God appointed to be kept holy was Saturday, not Sunday. Why do you keep holy the Sunday and not Saturday?"
"You will tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed! But by whom? Who has authority to change an express commandment of Almighty God? When God had spoken and said, 'Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day,' who shall dare to say, 'Nay, thou mayest work and do all manner of worldly business on the seventh day: but thou shalt keep holy the first day in its stead?' This is a most important question, which I know not how you answer."
"You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only; and yet, in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as the holy day, you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of that day which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the 7th day is one of the Ten Commandments; you believe that the other nine are still binding. Who gave you authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible, and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which this 4th commandment is expressly altered."
Excerpts from "Why don't you keep holy the Sabbath Day?" pages 3-15 in the Clifton Tract, Volume 4, published by the Roman Catholic Church in 1869.
Vatican Admits that Sunday is NOT the Biblical Sabbath
In a recent Catholic church newsletter it stated, "Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. 'The Day of the Lord' [dies domini] was chosen, not from any direction noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church's sense of its own power..... People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become [Seventh-Day] Adventists, and keep Saturday holy." Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995.
No Scriptural Support
"Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles..... From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 1900.
The Vatican's Mark of Authority
"Sunday is our mark of authority..... The church is above the Bible, and this transference of sabbath observance is proof of that fact." The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, September 1, 1923.
"Question: Which is the Sabbath day?"
"Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath."
"Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?"
"Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geiermann, 50.
Vatican Pushes for Sunday Legislation
In Europe the Sunday Law issue is expected to be contentious as Pope John Paul II continues to press for mandatory Sunday closing laws. Church and State, May, 1992.
Currently the Vatican is asking the "civil authorities" to cooperate with the Church in the legislation of Sunday as the nation's day of rest.
"The civil authorities should be urged to cooperate with the church in maintaining and strengthening this public worship of God, and to support with their own authority the regulations set down by the church's pastors. For it is only in this way that the faithful will understand why it is Sunday and not the Sabbath day that we now keep holy." Roman Catechism (1985).
What do you Think?
If "civil authorities" pass a national Sunday law, does that prove that Sunday is the Sabbath day for man?
Should the "civil authorities" pass a national Sunday law because they are pressured by religious powers?
Should individuals be penalized for worshiping on a different day other than Sunday?
Does it seem reasonable to you that the Church of Rome would push for Sunday legislation when they admit that Sunday is not the true Biblical day of rest?
THE LAW OF GOD
(as changed by the papacy)
The Law of God in the OLD TESTAMENT
Exodus 20: 8 ~ 11 (4th Commandment)
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all they work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates..................Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
The Law of God ~ AS CHANGED BY THE PAPACY~
(Changed to the 3rd Commandment)
"Remember that thou keep the holy the Sabbath day."
"Question ~ Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
"Answer ~ Had she not such power........she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority."
(Questions & Answers from "A Doctrinal Catechism Catholic" Page 174)
"Question ~ How prove you that the church hath power to command feast and holy days?
"Answer ~ By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of, and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other Feasts commanded by the same church.
"Question ~ How prove you that ?
"Answer ~ Because by keeping SUNDAY, they ACKNOWLEDGE the CHURCH'S POWER or ordain feasts, and to command them under sin."
(Douay Catechism, Page 59 ~Catholic~)
"The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday." (In the Church's OWN WORDS) (Catholic Mirror, September 1893)
"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act........And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things."
(H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons)
"HE SHALL THINK TO CHANGES TIMES AND LAWS." ~Daniel 7:25~
"The man of sin..........who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." ~11 Thessalonians 2:3,4~
"I WILL NOT ALTER NOR BREAK THE THINGS THAT IS GONE OUT OF MY LIPS." ~Psalms 89:34~
(The Catholic Church OPENLY & PUBLICALLY admits to the blasphemous act of taking upon herself the authority, OVER GOD to CHANGE GOD'S LAW.)
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea we ESTABLISH the law." ~Romans 3:31~
On the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
50 Years in the Church of Rome, Charles Chiniquy, Chapter 61
Quote by President Lincoln regarding the church of Rome:
"There is a fact which is too much ignored by the American people, and with which I am acquainted only since I became President; it is that the best, the leading families of the South have received their education in great part, if not in whole, from the Jesuits and the nuns. Hence those degrading principles of slavery, pride, cruelty, which are as a second nature among so many of those people. Hence that strange want of fair play, humanity; that implacable hatred against the ideas of equality and liberty as we find them in the Gospel of Christ. You do not ignore that the first settlers of Louisiana, Florida, New Mexico, Texas, South California and Missouri were Roman Catholics, and that their first teachers were Jesuits. It is true that those states have been conquered or bought by us since. But Rome had put the deadly virus of her antisocial and anti-Christian maxims into the veins of the people before they became American citizens. Unfortunately, the Jesuits and the nuns have in great part remained the teachers of those people since. They have continued in a silent, but most efficacious way, to spread their hatred against our institutions, our laws, our schools, our rights and our liberties in such a way that this terrible conflict became unavoidable between the North and the South. As I told you before, it is to Popery that we owe this terrible civil war.
"I would have laughed at the man who would have told me that before I became the President. But Professor Morse has opened my eyes on that subject. And now I see that mystery; I understand that engineering of hell which, though not seen or even suspected by the country, is putting in motion the large, heavy, and noisy wheels of the state cars of the Southern Confederacy. Our people is not yet ready to learn and believe those things, and perhaps it is not the proper time to initiate them to those dark mysteries of hell; it would throw oil on a fire which is already sufficiently destructive.
"You are almost the only one with whom I speak freely on that subject. But sooner or later the nation will know the real origin of those rivers of blood and tears, which are spreading desolation and death everywhere. And then those who have caused those desolations and disasters will be called to give an account of them.
"I do not pretend to be a prophet.But though not a prophet, I see a very dark cloud on our horizon. And that dark cloud is coming from Rome. It is filled with tears of blood. It will rise and increase till its flanks will be torn by a flash of lightning, followed by a fearful peal of thunder. Then a cyclone, such as the world has never seen, will pass over this country, spreading ruin and desolation from north to south. After it is over, there will be long days of peace and prosperity: for Popery, with its Jesuits and merciless Inquisition, will have been for ever swept away from our country. Neither I nor you, but our children, will see those things."
Many of those who approached Abraham Lincoln felt that there was a prophetic spirit in him, and that he was continually walking and acting with the thought of God in his mind, and only in view to do His will and work for His glory. Speaking of the slaves, he said one day before the members of his cabinet:
"I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but I hold the matter under advisement. And I can assure you that the subject is on my mind, by day and by night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do."
A few days before that proclamation, he said, before several of his counselors: "I made a solemn vow before God that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves."
Six Months in the White House. By Carpenter. P. 86
The Inner Life of Lincoln. By Carpenter. Pp. 193 - 195
The great, the fatal mistake of the American Government in the prosecution of the assassins of Abraham Lincoln was to constantly keep out of sight the religious element of that terrible drama. Nothing would have been more easy, then, than to find out the complicity of the priests, who were not only coming every week and every day, but who were even living in that den of murderers. But this was carefully avoided from the beginning to the end of the trial. When, not long after the execution of the murderers, I went, incognito, to Washington to begin my investigation about its true and real authors, I was not a little surprised to see that not a single one of the Government men to whom I addressed myself, would consent to have any talk with me on that matter, except after I had given my word of honour that I would never mention their names in connection with the result of my investigation. I saw, with a profound distress, that the influence of Rome was almost supreme in Washington. I could not find a single statesman who would dare to face that nefarious influence and fight it down.
WHAT PROTESTANTS & OTHER CHURCHES SAY ABOUT THE SABBATH CHANGE FROM SATURDAY TO SUNDAY
"Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism! "-DR. EDWARD T. HISCOX, author of "The Baptist Manual," in a paper read before a New York ministers' conference held Nov. 13, 1893.
"We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government."-"Baptist Church Manual," Art. 12.
"The first four commandments set forth man's obligations directly toward God.... But when we keep the first four commandments, we are likely to keep the other six. . . . The fourth commandment sets forth God's claim on man's time and thought.... The six days of labour and the rest on the Sabbath are to be maintained as a witness to God's toil and rest in the creation. . . . No one of the ten words is of merely racial significance.... The Sabbath was established originally (long before Moses) in no special connection with the Hebrews, but as an institution for all mankind, in commemoration of God's rest after the six days of creation. It was designed for all the descendants of Adam."-Adult Quarterly, Southern Baptist Convention series, Aug. 15, 1937.
"There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance." -WILLIAM OWEN CARVER, "The Lord's Day in Our Day," page 49.
"I wonder exceedingly how it came to be imputed to me that I should reject the law of Ten Commandments...Whosoever abrogates the law must of necessity abrogate sin also."-MARTIN LUTHER, Spiritual Antichrist," pages 71, 72.
"The observance of the Lord's day [Sunday] is founded not on any command of God, but on the authority of the church." ?Augsburg Confession of Faith, quoted in "Catholic Sabbath Manual," Part 2, Chap. 1, Sec. 10.
"For up to this day mankind has absolutely trifled with the original and most special revelation of the Holy God, the ten words written upon the tables of the Law from Sinai."-"Crown Theological Library," page I78.
"The Christians in the ancient church very soon distinguished the first day of the week, Sunday; however, not as a Sabbath, but as an assembly day of the church, to study the Word of God together, and to celebrate the ordinances one with another: without a shadow of doubt, this took place as early as the first part of the second century."-Bishop GRIMELUND, "History of the Sabbath," page 60.
"They [the Catholics] allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord's day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it appears, neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power and authority of the church, since it dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments." -Augsburg Confession of Faith, Art. 28, par. 9.
"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance."- AUGUSTUS NEANDER, "History of the Christian Religion and Church," Vol. 1, page 186.
"This 'handwriting of ordinances' our Lord did blot out, take away, and nail to His cross. (Colossians 2: 14.) But the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He did not take away.... The moral law stands on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law. ...Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages."-JOHN WESLEY, "Sermons on Several Occasions," 2-Vol. Edition, Vol. I, pages 221, 222.
"No Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral."-"Methodist Church Discipline," (I904), page 23.
"Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the New Testament as to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, but there is no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day." -HARRIS FRANKLIN RALL, Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942.
"The Sabbath was made for MAN; not for the Hebrews, but for all men."-E.O. HAVEN, "Pillars of Truth," page 88.
"The reason we observe the first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive command. One will search the Scriptures in vain for authority for changing from the seventh day to the first. The early Christians began to worship on the first day of the week because Jesus rose from the dead on that day. By and by, this day of worship was made also a day of rest, a legal holiday. This took place in the year 321.
"Our Christian Sabbath, therefore, is not a matter of positive command. It is a gift of the church."-CLOVIS G. CHAPPELL, "Ten Rules for Living," page 61.
"In the days of very long ago the people of the world began to give names to everything, and they turned the sounds of the lips into words, so that the lips could speak a thought. In those days the people worshipped the sun because many words were made to tell of many thoughts about many things. The people became Christians and were ruled by an emperor whose name was Constantine. This emperor made Sunday the Christian Sabbath, because of the blessing of light and heat which came from the sun. So our Sunday is a sun-day, isn't it?"-Sunday School Advocate, Dec. 31, 1921.
"The moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken...Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their un?changeable relation to each other."-JOHN WESLEY, "Sermons on Several Occasions," Vol. I, Sermon XXV.
"The Sabbath is a part of the Decalogue-the Ten Commandments. This alone for ever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution...Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand...The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath."- T.C. BLAKE, D.D., "Theology Condensed," pages 474, 475.
"God instituted the Sabbath at the creation of man, setting apart the seventh day for the purpose, and imposed its observance as a universal and perpetual moral obligation upon the race." ?American Presbyterian Board of Publication, Tract No. 175.
"The observance of the seventh-day Sabbath did not cease till it was abolished after the [Roman] empire became Christian," ?American Presbyterian Board of Publication, Tract No. 118.
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
"The Sabbath was to be a perpetual covenant between the Lord and the children of Israel. 'Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their genera?tions, for a perpetual covenant' (verse 16). In verse 17 they are commanded to observe it as a sign that they remember that the Lord made heaven and earth, and rested on the seventh day. In these quotations from Exodus 31, and in the Decalogue the most positive and weighty reasons are given by the Lord to the fathers of the house of Israel, for keeping the Sabbath day. The obligation is evidently as binding upon the Latter-day Saints as it was upon their fathers, and they in like manner will reap the reward of obedience."-FRANKLIN D. RICHARDS AND JAMES A. LITTLE, "A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel," page 226.
MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE
"The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word 'remember,' showing that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?"- D.L. MOODY, "Weighed and Wanting," page 47.
"I honestly believe that this commandment [the fourth, or Sabbath commandment] is just as binding today as it ever was. I have talked with men who have said that it has been abrogated, but they have never been able to point to any place in the Bible where God repealed it. When Christ was on earth, He did nothing to set it aside; He freed it from the traces under which the scribes and Pharisees had put it, and gave it its true place. 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.' It is just as practicable and as necessary for men today as it ever was-in fact, more than ever, because we live in such an intense age.' - Id., page 46.
"'Sabbath' means rest, and the meaning of the word gives a hint as to the true way to observe the day. God rested after creation, and ordained the Sabbath as a rest for man."-Id., pages 46, 47.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
"Not any ecclesiastical writer of the first three centuries at?tributed the origin of Sunday observance either to Christ or to His apostles."-SIR WILLIAM DOMVILLE, Examination of the Six Texts, pages 6, 7. (Supplement).
"There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about ab?staining from work on Sunday. . . . Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters?, The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday." -CANON EYTON, 'The Ten Commandments," pages 52, 63, 65.
"Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None."-"Manual of Christian Doctrine," page 127.
"The Lord's day did not succeed in the place of the Sabbath....The Lord's day was merely an ecclesiastical institution. It was not introduced by virtue of the fourth commandment, because for almost three hundred years together they kept that day which was in that commandment...The primitive Christians did all manner of works upon the Lord's day, even in times of persecution, when they are the strictest observers of all the divine command?ments; but in this they knew there was none."-BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR, "Ductor Dubitantium," Part I, Book II, Chap. 2, Rule 6. Sec. 51, 59.
"Sunday being the day on which the Gentiles solemnly adore that planet and called it Sunday, partly from its influence on that day especially, and partly in respect to its divine body (as they conceived it), the Christians thought fit to keep the same day and the same name of it, that they might not appear causelessly peev?ish, and by that means hinder the conversion of the Gentiles, and bring a greater prejudice than might be otherwise taken against the gospel."-T. M. MORER, "Dialogues on the Lord's Day," pages 22, 23.
"Where are we told in Scripture that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day.... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it."-ISAAC WILLIAMS, B.D., "Plain Sermons on the Catechism," Vol. I, pages 334-336.
"In reply to your letter of May 7th, I am asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury to say that from the first century onward the Christian church has observed the first day of the week as the weekly commemoration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of the early Christians ... deliberately substituted the first day of the week for the seventh on the ground that it was on the first day that our Lord rose from the dead.
"ALAN C. DON."
"The Puritan idea was historically unhappy. It made Sun?day into the Sabbath day. Even educated people call Sunday the Sabbath. Even clergymen do. But, unless my reckoning is all wrong, the Sabbath day lasts twenty-four hours from six o'clock on Friday evening. It gives over, therefore, before we come to Sunday. If you suggest to a Sabbatarian that he ought to observe the Sabbath on the proper day, you arouse no enthusiasm. He at once replies that the day, not the principle, has been changed. But changed by whom? There is no injunction in the whole of the New Testament to Christians to change the Sabbath into Sunday.' - D. MORSE?BOYCOTT, Daily Herald, London, Feb. 26, 1931.
"The Christian church made no formal, but a gradual and almost unconscious transference of the one day to the other."- F.W. FARRAR, D.D., "The Voice From Sinai," page 167.
"Take which you will, either of the Fathers or the moderns, and we shall find no Lord's day instituted by any apostolical man?date; no Sabbath set on foot by them upon the first day of the week."-PETER HEYLYN, "History of the Sabbath," page 410.
"We turn to the New Testament, and we look in vain for any authoritative rule. There is no recorded word of Christ, there is no word of any of the apostles, which tells how we should keep Sunday, or indeed that we should keep it at all. It is disappointing, for it would make our task much easier if we could point to a definite rule, which left us no option but simple obedience or disobedience. . . . There is no rule for Sunday observ?ance, either in Scripture or history."-DR. STEPHEN, Bishop of Newcastle, N.S.W., in an address reported in the Newcastle Morn?ing Herald, May 14, 1924.
"It must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day."-Buck's Theological Dictionary page 403.
"There is no command in the Bible requiring us to observe the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath."-ORIN FOWLER, A.M., "Mode and Subjects of Baptism."
"The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament."-DR. LYMAN ABBOTT, Christian Union, Jan. 18, 1882.
"It is quite clear that, however rigidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath. ?The Sabbath was founded on a specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday.... There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday."-"The Ten Commandments," R. W. Dale, D.D., pages 106, 107.
"With the views of the law and the Sabbath we once held ... and which are still held by perhaps the great majority of the most earnest Christians, we confess that we could not answer Adventists. What is more, neither before or since have I heard or read what would conclusively answer an Adventist in his Scriptural contention that the Seventh day is the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10). It is not 'one day in seven' as some put it, but 'the seventh day according to the commandment.' "Words of Truth and Grace, p. 281.
CATHOLIC MIRROR (Publication)
"Hence, the conclusion is inevitable; namely that of those who follow the Bible as their guide, the Israelites and the Seventh-day Adventists have the exclusive weight of evidence on their side, whilst the Biblical Protestant has not a word in self defense for his substitution of Sunday for Saturday." Catholic Mirror.
Obey GOD or MAN ??
"There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the Holy Catholic church alone. The Bible says 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic church says, No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week. And lo! The entire civilised world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the Holy Catholic Church." Priest Thomas Enright, CSSR, President of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, Missouri, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, and printed in the American Sentinel, June 1883, a New York Roman Catholic journal.
"The observance of Sunday by Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) Church." Plain Talk about Protestantism of Today, by Msgr. Segur (RC).
A History of Calendar Change
How can we be sure that the Saturday of our modern week is the original Sabbath of the Bible?
It is commonly believed that many calendar changes have taken place since the time of Christ. This is not true. There has been only one change. This change, from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, had no effect whatsoever upon the order of the days of the week.
Julius Caesar instituted the Julian Calendar in 46 BC. The month of July was named in honor of Julius. When Augustus Caesar succeeded Julius, he also wanted a month named after himself, so he gave the month following July (originally Sextilis) the name of August. Since August only had 30 days, and Augustus considered himself as important as Julius, whose month of July had 31 days, Augustus took one day from February and added it to August. The changes made by Augustus did not affect the order of the days of the week.
The Julian Calendar remained unchanged for 1600 years. It made provision for a year of 365.25 mean solar days. But the year actually consists of 365.242195 days. Because of this slight discrepancy, as the centuries passed, the seasons began to shift. By 1582 AD this discrepancy had grown to ten days. In that year Pope Gregory XIII established a new calendar which corrected the discrepancy, and is known as the Gregorian Calendar.
Pope Gregory XIII omitted ten days following October 4, 1582. What would have been October 5 became October 15. Notice in the diagram below that the day of the week was not changed:
Spain, Portugal, and Italy abopted the new Gregorian Calendar at once. France waited until December, and it adopted the change by calling the 10th of December the 20th of December. The Catholic states of Germany adopted the calendar in 1583. The Protestant states of Germany did not adopt the new calendar until 1700. About the same time, Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark adopted the new calendar. England adopted the calendar in 1752.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. vol. 4, p. 988, tells us:
"The week is a period of seven days, having no reference whatever to the celestial motions--a circumstance to which it owes its unalterable uniformity... It has been employed from time immemorial in almost all eastern countries."
The Hebrew people spoke of the days of the week by number rather than by name. The only day that had a name was the seventh day which was called Shabat, the Sabbath, or the rest day. The day prior to the Sabbath was designated the preparation day. On this day, preparations were made for the family so that the Sabbath might truly be a day of rest for the entire family. All the days were numbered and spoken of in reference to the Sabbath. The first day was "first toward the Sabbath." The second day was "second toward the Sabbath, and so on. This was also the practice among the Syrians, Arabians, etc.
In at least 108 different languages the name for the seventh day, corresponding to our "Saturday", is a word meaning "rest day."
Can we be sure that the Sabbath has never been lost since Creation?
God sanctified the seventh day at Creation (Gen. 2:1-3). Even if the weekly Sabbath had been lost through the years, it was certainly re-established when God instructed the Israelites to not gather manna on Sabbath (Ex. 16:4). God later announced to the Israelites at Mount Sinai that keeping His Sabbath holy was part of His Ten Commandment law (Ex. 20:8-11). Since Mount Sinai the Jews have faithfully kept God's Sabbath, despite captivity, persecution, and dispersion, right down to our current day.
Orthodox Jews, the Catholic church, Protestants, historians, and astronomers all agree with each other that there is no evidence that time has ever been lost. The same Sabbath that Christ and the apostles worshipped on (Luke 4:16,31; Acts 13:14-16,42,44) is the same seventh day Sabbath that Seventh-day Adventists and other Sabbath-keeping Christians worship on today.
BRIEF HISTORY OF SABBATH-KEEPERS
Much of this material was adapted from "Moving Out" by Mervyn Maxwell and "The Reformation and the Advent Movement" by W.E. Emmerson
Did you know the Adventist pioneers were first introduced to the Sabbath by Baptists?
A young girl took on the job of school teacher in Hampshire Washington. She attended a church which called itself the "Christian Brethren" and whose members had accepted Miller's message. Their Pastor was a circuit-riding Methodist named Frederick Wheeler.
The mother of the school teacher decided to move to Hampshire to be with her daughter. She was a Seventh Day Baptist! But she attended church with her daughter that Sunday. Pastor Wheeler, preached a sermon in which he upheld the ten commandments.
Mrs. Rachel Oakes, the visitor, nearly stood to her feet then and there. But she controlled herself-- until Pastor Wheeler, on his pastoral rounds, paid her a visit.
Said she to him, "When you were speaking, brother Wheeler, I could scarcely restrain myself. You said that we must observe all of the Ten Commandants, and yet you continually break one of them yourself!"
"Sister Oakes," exclaimed the good man, "what do you mean?"
"I mean that the fourth commandment says, 'The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,' but you observe the first day. You observe the pope's Sunday instead of the Lord's Sabbath!"
The story does not give us the good pastor's response, but we know that sometime in March of 1844 he made his decision to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Thus Frederick Wheeler of New Hampshire, became the first Seventh-day Adventist minister in North America. He did not go public at this time but began privately to discuss his convictions with other Advent believers. By August 1844, Thomas M Preble, a Free Will Baptist Pastor became the second Sabbath-keeping Adventist minister in North America.
Meanwhile Rachel Oakes was not silent either. Back at the Farnsworth farmhouse where she and her daughter apparently had rooms, there was much discussion on the matter.
October 1844 came and went, and with it the great disappointment for the Advent believers. The little church in New Hampshire did not lose faith as many other Advent believers did. But now they listened more seriously to Mrs. Oakes and the Sabbath.
One Sunday morning as this Christian Brethren church was in worship, William Farnsworth, the eldest of the Farnsworth sons, stood to his feet and announced that he had made the decision to live by the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Hardly had he sat down than his brother Cyrus stood up and made the same testimony.
Mrs. Oakes was delighted! Cyrus married her daughter shortly thereafter.
The larger part of the congregation did not at this time accept the Sabbath-- and the Sabbath keeping Adventists began meeting in the Farnsworth living room. (Years later that church did become SDA)
The Sabbath and the Reformation
The Sabbath goes back way before SDA's accepted it. All the way to creation of course. But it was even recognized by some during the reformation. Karlstadt, chairman of the department of religion at the University of Wittenberg, where Luther taught, said that the obligation to keep the seventh day is not ceremonial but is moral and hence binding. He realized that God had enshrined the Sabbath commandment in the Decalogue deliberately because of its eternal significance. He was uneasy about Sunday "because men have established it," but didn't go further than that.
Luther declared, "If Karlstadt were to go further about the Sabbath, Sunday would have to give way, and the Sabbath, that is Saturday, must be kept holy." But Luther, too, did not move further, but described it as legalism.
There were dedicated Christians in Europe in the 1520's who were becoming disillusioned with the Reformation. If Luther says we must follow the Bible and the Bible only, they asked, why does he not do so himself?
One very prominent group with these sentiments were the Anabaptists. Their biggest issue was over baptism and the Lord's Supper. But some of them adopted the Sabbath and became Sabbatarian Anabaptists.
Two of their leaders, Oswald Glait and Andreas Fischer had studied the Sabbath out carefully and were convinced on the light of the Sabbath. Luther sent theologians to dissuade them, but from their reports we know these men were convinced the 7th day Sabbath was right. To Luther's assertion that the Sabbath was ceremonial they replied that it could not possible be so. The Sabbath was instituted at creation, before there was any need for a ceremonial law. They said the Catholic church changed the day in fulfillment of the prediction in Dan. 7:25. When told that the ten commandments were part of the old covenant, Glait replied, "Either the Sabbath must be kept, or all the other nine commandments must also be rejected. If the Old covenant means the ten commandments then it must mean all ten.
When Casper Schwenckfeld, after discussing the Sabbath issue with Glait and Fischer, said they were taking the Bible too literal, and that the Sabbath was a spiritual resting from sin and legalism, not a day for physical resting, the answer came back, "Schwenckfeld is an extreme mystic in his holy day's theory."
On reading the arguments we see they had most of our SDA reasoning on the Sabbath down pat way back then, even to their description of the "man of sin" the "little horn" and the "Sabbath. "
What happened to these leaders?
In 1529 Mr. and Mrs. Andreas Fischer were sentenced to death, she by drowning, he by hanging. Mrs. Fischer was drowned, but somehow the rope broke or something and Mr. Fischer managed to escape. But ten years later some soldiers captured him and threw him to his death from a castle wall.
Oswald Glait traveled around central Europe encouraging people to keep the Sabbath and be strong in their Biblical beliefs, but in 1545 he was captured and after several weeks in jail was tied up and thrown into the river and drowned.
Among the first seventh-day Baptists in Britain (about 1620) were Mr. and Mrs. John Traske. Both were sent to prison for having "endeavored to bring back again the Jewish Sabbath, as that which is expressly mentioned in the fourth commandment, and abrogate the Lord's day (Sunday) altogether, as having no foundation in Scripture."
Mr. Traske was sent to fleet prison and flogged the whole two miles as he was marched to it's site. He, sadly, gave up the Sabbath by the time his three-year sentence ended. His wife, spent some fifteen years in a filthy, flea and rat infested prison, but remained true to the Lord of the Sabbath day.
Many more stories of people persecuted for keeping the Sabbath could be told, some of them extremely grim. Yet, not all were martyred.
In 1628, Theophilus Brabourne of Norfolk wrote an important book on the Sabbath, entitled "A Discourse Upon the Sabbath Day" In 1632 he wrote a further defense against all anti- Sabbatarians. He wrote so extensively about the Sabbath that Bishop Cox designated Brabourne "as the founder in England of the sect known as Sabbatarians."
In 1660 in London alone, there were three Sabbatarian churches: at Mill Yard in East Smithfield, at Bullstake Alley in Whitechapel, and at Bell Lane in Bethnal Green. But persecution increased and life for Sabbatarian as well as other non-mainline Christians became increasingly precarious.
Observance of the seventh day came to America by Stephen Mumford, who emigrated from England and in 1671 and organized the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America. New Port, Rhode Island. From Rhode Island the Sabbath message spread into New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut in New England, and even toward the west. There were Moravian Sabbath keepers, too in Pennsylvania, in the early 1700's .
The Seventh Day Baptists in America organized themselves into a general conference in 1802 with 1130 members. They held in general the same views as Glait and Fischer,
1) The Sabbath is part of the moral law;
2) It cannot be ceremonial for it was instituted before sin;
3) Christ kept the Sabbath
4) Christ did not change it, neither did His apostles
5) It was changed by the Roman Catholic Church in fulfillment of Daniel seven.
6) We must not tamper with the Sabbath, for to cast away one command is to cast away the whole law
7) Revelation 14:12 clearly teaches that the saints "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
On November 1, 1843, a day for fasting and prayer was set aside by the Seventh-day Baptists that God would arise and plead for His Holy Sabbath.
It was at that time that Rachel Oaks was thinking of moving to New Hampshire to be with her daughter. She passed on the Sabbath truth to Frederick Wheeler, who passed it on to T.M. Preble, who wrote about it for a Millerite paper, "The Hope of Israel, Feb. 28, 1845. He concluded his article by writing, "Thus we see Daniel 7:25 fulfilled, the little horn changing times and laws with the result that all who keep the first day of the week for the Sabbath are the Pope's Sunday keepers and God's Sabbath breakers!!"
A sea captain, Joseph Bates, read that article by Preble. He then traveled 140 miles to visit with Wheeler to discuss the Sabbath from the Biblical perspective. They stayed up all night studying together. He met with others of the small group of Sabbath keepers. When he returned home, he was convinced!
Joseph Bates published his views on the Sabbath in August 1846, "The Seventh-day Sabbath, A Perpetual Sign." In it he presented the Sabbath basically as the Baptist Sabbatarians had done for three hundred years, as part of the decologue, the continuing standard of Christian discipleship, and a visible witness against the Antichristian power that had thought to change times and laws. (Daniel 7:25) But he went further and tied the Sabbath in with the three angels message in Revelation 14, which called for the worship of the Creator and showed the remnant as those "keeping (all) the commandments of God and the (whole) faith of Jesus.
In the mean time Hiram Edson and some of his fellow Adventists were studying the true significance of the date 1844. Realizing the 2300 day prophecy spoke of the sanctuary, not the earth, being cleansed, they dug deep looking for understanding of the sanctuary. They studied the book of Hebrews and focused on Christ's work in the sanctuary in heaven.
When Bates was visiting Edson in 1846 to talk over their mutual interests and to bring the importance of the Sabbath to his attention, it dawned upon him that the law of God, with the Sabbath in it's heart, was set in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. Just as in the type it had been placed under the mercy seat of the ark in the Most Holy Place of the earthly.
When Edson saw the clear link between the law, the Sabbath, and the cleansing of the sanctuary, he could not restrain himself from declaring, "That is light and truth! The seventh day is the Sabbath, and I am with you to keep it. Joseph Bates shared his booklet on the Sabbath with James and Ellen White. They went into a thorough study of the matter and in 1846 they began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it.