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    March 5, 1885

    “Does God Claim the First Day of the Week?” The Signs of the Times 11, 10, pp. 153, 154.

    DOES God claim the first day of the week? This is a question that has been agitated for a long time, but more especially in the last forty years. During this time it has been actively declared by tongue and pen that Sunday has no claim whatever to any sacredness, but that, according to the Bible, “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,” and that this is the only day that was ever made sacred, or that God has ever claimed as being in any way peculiarly his own. This has been disputed, of course, by almost all people, because nearly all keep Sunday. But the one thing lacking to Sunday-keepers all these years is a “Thus saith the Lord,” in favor of the Sunday as a sacred day, or that it should be kept at all. Sabbath-keepers have called repeatedly for the scripture that commands that the first day of the week shall be kept. They have even offered large rewards for the discovery in the Bible of any such text. And we have known Sunday-keepers, too, who would have given a good deal to find such a text plainly written in the word of God.SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.1

    This is a question too that is every day coming to be of more and more importance to all people; and we are watching with intense interest the development of the controversy. And we notice that as the truth becomes more widespread that the seventh day is, and that Sunday is not, the Sabbath, the defense of Sunday becomes more bold in its assertions; that, as it becomes more and more apparent that the Sunday-sabbath institution lacks the essential element of truth, its defenders more positively assert that which is false. The latest that we have seen in this connection is the assertion that God does claim the first day of the week to be his, and so plainly, so decidedly too, that there can “be no arguing or quibbling about it.” If that be true, certainly the Sunday-sabbath controversy must soon be forever settled. If the Lord does really claim the first day of the week, so plainly as to preclude all argument, that will surely be a “Thus saith the Lord;” that is what we all want, and to that we will all willingly yield.SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.2

    But not to hold our readers in suspense, we will lay before them this decisive (?) “claim.” Rev. David Gregg, the Sunday-school lesson commentator for the Christian Statesman, in the issue of that paper for December 25, 1884, says:—SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.3

    “When the seventh day of the week was the Sabbath, God claimed it as his day, and that made its hours consecrated time. If God in any way claims the first day of the week, its hours must be treated just as the hours of the seventh day were. Now does he claim it? He does. And that there may be no arguing or quibbling about it, he stamps his name upon it. The Spirit of inspiration speaking through the apostle John distinctly calls it ‘the Lord’s day.’”SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.4

    There you have it. But for all he has pronounced to the contrary, we think there is room here for some argument. 1. He does not tell us where it is that the apostle John “distinctly” calls the first day of the week the Lord’s day. 2. We look through the gospel according to John, and although we read there twice, the expression “first day of the week” (John 20:1, 19), in all this book there is no such term as “the Lord’s day.” 3. We look through the three epistles of John, and in them there is no mention of either the first day of the week or the Lord’s day. 4. We turn to the book of Revelation, written by John, and there we find the term “the Lord’s day,” but in all the book not a hint of the first day of the week.SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.5

    Now we want to know where it is that the spirit of inspiration by the apostle John “distinctly calls the first day of the week the Lord’s day.” When in one book the apostle speaks of the first day of the week, and in another book of the Lord’s day, without a word of explanation of either term, the only natural, reasonable, or logical impression that could be gathered from it is that he refers to two different days. If in John 20:1 it were written, The first day of the week, which is the Lord’s day; or, if in Revelation 1:10 it were written, I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, which is the first day of the week, then all would be plain, then we should have it “distinctly” called the Lord’s day; then, indeed, there would be no ground for argument. All such connection, however, is lacking. And when Dr. Gregg, or anybody else, presents such a connection, he has to manufacture it. And with such arguments anything that is wanted can be “distinctly” proven. All that there is to do, is to find two terms that have no connection whatever, or a single term that says nothing at all on the subject under consideration, then assert loudly that your proposition is proven, and lo, it is done.SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.6

    But Dr. Gregg is not done yet; he goes on to show that “the first day of the week was observed without discussion and without ambiguity as the Lord’s day;” and he does it just as easily, and as “distinctly” (?) as he showed that it is the Lord’s day. He says:—SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.7

    “The Spirit of inspiration, speaking through the apostle John, distinctly calls it ‘the Lord’s day.’ Stamped with the Lord’s own name, we are to recognize the claim of Christ when with his own lips he says: ‘The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ In accordance with the teaching of these direct words.... is the teaching of this perceptive history, which tells us how Paul spends the first day of the week at Troas.”SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.8

    It is astonishing that any person can be so reckless in his treatment of Scripture. It is inconceivable how he can believe his own argument. The occasion that called forth these words from the Saviour was, that the Pharisees had accused his disciples (and thus him indirectly) of doing that which was not lawful to do on the Sabbath day. (Matthew 12:1-9. Mark 2:23-28.) Does any man in the wide world suppose that the Pharisees referred to the first day of the week, when they accused the disciples of breaking the Sabbath? No, the only day that could possibly have been referred to by the Pharisees as the Sabbath, was the seventh day. Therefore when Christ, in refuting their accusation, said, “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath day,” he had reference to the seventh day of the week, and to no other. Therefore the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath of which Christ is Lord. And it is a willful perversion of Scripture to make of this saying a reference to anything else than the seventh day.SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.9

    So also it is with the expression “the Lord’s day.” It was written by the finger of God on the table of stone, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.” Now Christ, who made the Sabbath, and who made the table of stone on which these words were written (John 1:3), declares, “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath day.” Put these two expressions together—“Sabbath of the Lord,” “Lord of the Sabbath”—and who can deny that they both refer to the same identical person and thing? But in neither of these is the Sabbath referred to apart from the day, as many argue. The commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day.” Christ says, “The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath day.” Then we have, the Sabbath day of the Lord, and the Lord of the Sabbath day. It is impossible to fairly deny that both of these refer to the same person and to the same day. And this proves to a demonstration that the Sabbath day of the Lord, the day to which he [sic.] Pharisees referred when they accused the disciples, the day to which Christ referred when he refuted their accusation, the seventh day of the week, is the Lord’s day. And we repeat, It is a perversion of the Scriptures to make this expression refer to any other than the seventh day, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.SITI March 5, 1885, page 153.10

    Yet says Dr. Gregg, “In accordance with the teaching of these direct words.... Paul spends the first day of the week at Troas.” That is, Paul spends the first day of the week in accordance with the teaching of words that refer solely to the seventh day of the week. We don’t believe a word of it. Paul had a better sense of what obedience is, than that signifies. We know that a great many people of our own day are trying to do this, but it is not obedience, it is not in “accordance with the direct words” of the Lord. But, more, Paul was at Troas in A.D. 58; John wrote these “direct words” in A.D. 96. Therefore Dr. Gregg’s argument is that Paul spent the first day of the week at Troas, in accordance with words that were not in existence till thirty-eight years afterward! But to flatly contradict itself, sound reason, and the word of God, is as near as the defense of the Sunday institution ever approaches to the truth.SITI March 5, 1885, page 154.1

    ALONZO T. JONES.

    NOTE.—It would perhaps be well to call attention to an important concession that is made by this writer. In the first extract given above it will be seen that he says, “When the seventh day of the week was the Sabbath,” &c. This is a plain admission that the term “seventh day” in the fourth commandment is not indefinite, meaning simply one day in seven, but that it refers to the definite seventh day of the week.SITI March 5, 1885, page 154.2

    A. T. J.

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