Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    CHAPTER 8. The Sabbath

    As we have seen that the third angel’s message brings out a company who are distinguished as keepers of the commandments of God, the inquiry is a natural one in what respect obedience to the message would lead a person to differ with other religionists in his efforts to keep the commandments. The only essential controversy in regard to the commandments among those who hold them to be still binding has reference to that precept which enjoins the Sabbath. If in order to keep the commandments we must keep the seventh day of the week, and almost all professors of religion are keeping the first day of the week, here is a distinction as marked as the language of the third message would lead us to infer. Thus is our attention called directly to the Sabbath by the third angel’s message, as well as by the subject of the sanctuary.SYNPT 62.1

    1. By what are believers in the third angel’s message distinguished?
    2. What inquiry does this suggest?
    3. On what one of the commandments is there a difference of opinion?
    4. To what is our attention thus called by the message?
    5. To what did the first message bring us?

    And there is consistency in this; for as the first message brought us to the hour of God’s Judgement, or the cleansing of the sanctuary, when the temple of God was opened in Heaven, the ark was seen, and the attention of the people was called to the law contained in the ark, the third message which follows the first, and is the representative of the truth during the period of the cleansing of the sanctuary, ought of consistency to bring out the same fact respecting the law; and we see that it does.SYNPT 62.2

    The evidence is now in order, to show that the seventh day is still the Sabbath of the Lord, and must be kept as such. The only command in all the Bible for the observance of the Sabbath is the fourth precept of the decalogue. But the nine other precepts are moral and hence immutable and eternal. Even those who contend for the abolition of the law, would not dare to advocate in any civilized community, that men were not under obligation to do or refrain from doing, just what those commandments say. Is the Sabbath like these others, immutable and perpetual? If not, why was it put in with these as one of them? and again, if not, what reasons can be given to show why and in what respect it is not like them?SYNPT 63.1

    6. What time is covered by the third message?
    7. What truth should we therefore expect it to bring out?
    8. What and where is the only commandment in all the Bible for the observance of the Sabbath?
    9. What is the mature of the other nine precepts?
    10. Is the Sabbath commandment like these?
    11. In what respect is it more explicit than the others?

    The Sabbath commandment is the only one in which God has seen fit to set fourth the reason why it was given. It is therefore more explicit than the others. Respecting the others we may necessarily infer that they existed from the beginning of the world, but respecting the Sabbath we know that it dates from the beginning, from the record itself. The fourth commandment points back to the creation: “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.” This day we are to remember and keep holy. It is a marvel that any one should consider this commandment indefinite, enjoining only a seventh part of time, or an institution independent of a day. The act of God in resting had reference to a day. The blessing and sanctification had reference to a day. It is a day that we are required to keep, and it is the particular day on which he rested. Let those who call it indefinite tell us how it could be more definite than it is.SYNPT 63.2

    12. Which way does the fourth commandment point?
    13. Is there any such thing as a Sabbatic institution independent of a day?
    14. To what did the act of resting, blessing, and sanctifying have reference?
    15. How could the commandment be made more definite than it is?
    16. Did God perform any part of his work on the seventh day?
    17. How is this shown by the fourth commandment?

    Turning to the record to which the fourth commandment points us, Genesis 2:2, we read that “on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” God performed no part of his work on the seventh day. The fourth commandment says that he made the heavens and the earth and all that in them is in six days, which would not be the case if he made any portion of them on the seventh day. Dr. Clarke says that the Septuagint, Syriac, and Samaritan versions read sixth day in Genesis 2:2, instead of seventhSYNPT 64.1

    18. What is the meaning of the expression, “On the seventh day God ended his work?”
    19. What was the first essential act toward a Sabbatic institution?
    20. What was the second?
    21. What completed the edifice?
    22. What is the meaning of the word sanctify?
    23. To what did this sanctification pertain?
    24. For whose use was the Sabbath made?
    25. What was this sanctification?
    26. What can be said of the claim that no command existed before Sinai?
    27. Who received that commandment?

    day. But such a criticism is unnecessary, and it is not best to plead for a different translation unless there is clear and urgent reason for so doing. The expression in verse 3, “in it he rested,” means the same as in verse 2, “on it he ended his work.” It means simply that on that day, and during that day, he ceased from his creative work. The entire day was devoted to rest; and this was the first essential act toward the Sabbatic institution. This made it the Lord’s rest-day, but laid no obligation on men concerning it. He then blessed it. This did not pertain to the day that was past; for past time cannot be blessed; but it referred to the seventh day for time to come. Every seventh day from that time was a blessed day. This would indicate how it should be regarded; but the next act completed the work: He sanctified it. Sanctify means to set apart to a holy use. This could not pertain to the day that was past, but to the seventh day for time to come. It was not set apart for God’s use; for he needs no such day; but Christ said it was made for man. This sanctification was therefore the giving of a command to Adam for its observance. The claim of Sabbath opponents that there is no command in the Bible for the observance of the Sabbath till Sinai, falls to the ground; for here is the record that such a commandment was given. And all the human race then received that command through Adam and Eve their representatives. And this sanctification of necessity introduced the weekly cycle; for Adam must begin to reckon as soon as the commandment was given; and when the next seventh day was past he must begin his count again, and so on. The week owes its origin to these facts. It can be traced to no other.SYNPT 65.1

    The Sabbath was not a type; for all types look forward to a work of redemption, and of course could not be introduced till redemption was needed, and till some plan of redemption had been instituted. But the Sabbath was given to Adam before he sinned, before he needed any redemption, and before any system of redemption was devised. Had Adam never sinned, he never would have needed redemption, and no type would ever have been introduced. But he would still have had the Sabbath as recorded in Genesis 2:2, 3. The Sabbath, therefore, was not a type.SYNPT 66.1

    28. What did this sanctification introduce?
    29. Why?
    30. Was the Sabbath a type?
    31. To what do all types look?
    32. When could they be introduced?
    33. On this ground how is it shown that the Sabbath was not a type?
    34. What two kinds of laws are plainly brought to view in the bible?
    35. What would have been man’s duty if he had never fallen?

    The Sabbath not being a type, the commandment for the Sabbath is not a typical law. There are plainly two kinds of laws: one class binding on man before he fell, regulating his duty to God and fellow-men; the other class growing out of the changed condition of man after he had fallen and the plan of salvation had been introduced. If man had never fallen, it would have been his duty just the same to render supreme honor to God, and to deal justly with his fellow-men. But if he had never fallen, there never would have been any laws regulating ceremonies, sacrifices, offerings, baptism, the Lord’s supper etc. These all grow out of man’s necessities in consequence of his fall. The first may be called original or primary laws; and they are, in the very nature of things, immutable and eternal; the others are derived, secondary or typical laws, and are temporary and changeable. No one has any excuse for ignoring or denying a distinction so plain.SYNPT 66.2

    The transgression of Adam did not change or abolish any of these primary laws. We are under no less obligation to God and our fellow-men than if we were not sinners. To which of these classes of laws does the Sabbath belong? To the original and primary laws which we should have had even if man never had fallen. It is therefore an immutable and perpetual institution.SYNPT 67.1

    36. Would there then have been any laws of ceremonies and sacrifices?
    37. What may the first of these laws be called?
    38. What the second?
    38. Did Adam’s transgression change or abolish any of the primary laws?
    40. To which of these classes does the Sabbath belong?
    41. What does this prove?
    42. Is the Sabbath the seventh day of the week as now reckoned?
    43. How does the fourth commandment define the day of the week?
    44. How does it further appear that it means the seventh day of the week?

    The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week as it is reckoned at the present time. The fourth commandment does not, to be sure, use the term week, and say the seventh day of the week; but its appeal to the record of the great facts of creation for its origin, where the week is defined and the seventh day of that week is the one set apart as the Sabbath, makes it just as explicit. To quibble over the absence of the word week in the commandment, as we have frequently known ministers to do who even professed to be candid, is the thinnest kind of sophistry, to use no harder term; for of what is it the seventh day? Not the seventh day of the month, or of the year; not a seventh day, nor every seventh day, allowing us to begin where we will to reckon; but the seventh day of some definite cycle of time. And inasmuch as we have in the Bible a division of time given us, consisting of just seven days, the shortest of all which consist of a number of days, to say that the seventh day of the commandment is not the seventh day of this division, or week, is to go in the clearest manner contrary to reason.SYNPT 67.2

    45. What question is next raised?
    46. Was there any danger of losing the reckoning from Adam to Moses?
    47. How did God then point out the day of the commandment?
    48. How is it shown that the true day was preserved to the time of Christ?
    49. Has there been any loss of time or derangement of weeks since?

    But it is asked if the reckoning of the week has not been lost; in other words, can we now tell which is the true seventh day from creation? Once admitting that the seventh day in regular succession is what is required, and there is no difficulty. It could easily be handed down from Adam to Abraham, and from Abraham to Moses. But if anything was out of the way then, God would have set them right when he gave them a written copy of his law. By three distinct miracles wrought every week for the space of forty years, God pointed out what day he meant in the commandment; and it was the seventh day of the Jewish week. From Moses to Christ there was certainly no derangement in the reckoning. They had the true seventh day at that point; and if there has been any mistake then, Christ, the son of God, would have known it and set them right. But instead of this he indorsed the day they then observed. From the days of Christ to the present time the methods of computing time have been too accurate, the custom too wide spread, and the agreement too perfect, to admit for a moment of the idea of any loss of time, or derangement of the week. Therefore the week as we now reckon it, is the same as at the creation, and the seventh day of our week is the true seventh day from creation down.SYNPT 68.1

    50. Explain the difference between Old Style and New?

    It is supposed by some that the change from Old Style to New must have changed the reckoning of the week. A few facts will show that this is a mistake. Old and New Styles are simply methods of reckoning time according to the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Old Style follows the Julian manner of reckoning months and days, or the calendar by Julius Caesar, in which every fourth year consists of 366 days, and the other years of 365 days. This is something more than 11 minutes too much in the year; and by the time of pope Gregory XIII. in 1582, it had so disarranged the months as to throw the vernal equinox 10 days from where it was at the council of Nice, A.D. 325. To bring it back, 10 days were taken out of October, 1582, and the 5th day of the month was reckoned as the 15th. Gregory then reformed the calendar so that such a derangement would not again occur, by having every year which is divisible by 4, unless divisible by 100 without being divisible by 400, consist of 366 days, and all other years of 365 days. This makes the calendar year coincide so nearly with the solar, that the lapse of centuries makes scarcely any appreciable difference. This is called the Gregorian calendar, and reckoning time by it is called New Style. This change was not adopted by Great Britain till 1751. Then so much time had been gained that to bring the matter right 11 days had to be dropped. Therefore in the following year, 1752, the 3rd of September was reckoned as the 14th; and New Style has since been followed there, and from there brought to America. It will be seen that this simply changed the day of the month, but not the day of the week. For instance, to-day, Sept. 14, 1882, is Thursday; if we should drop 7 days and call it Sept. 21, it would be Thursday still. Russia still reckons by Old Style, and her week corresponds with ours.SYNPT 69.1

    51. What is another attempt to destroy the force of Genesis 2:2, 3?
    52. Where does Moses begin to reckon?
    53. According to the position of our opponents, when was the creation performed?
    54. How is time distinguished from eternity?

    Another attempt is made to nullify the force of the record of Genesis 2:2, 3. It is claimed that the seventh day which God blessed was the first day of Adam’s existence, and hence the point where the reckoning should commence. If that was the point at which to commence, doubtless Moses, guided by the Spirit of inspiration, would have commenced there. But it so happens that he commenced the reckoning six days before, and has given it to us day by day down to that point. How is it that modern expositors have come to be so wise above what is written? We can answer: They couldn’t oppose the Sabbath in any other way. To make this position of any force, the ground must be taken that Adam’s first day was the first day of time. Then all that went before was eternity. God created the world and all things therein, not in the beginning, but in eternity. But time as distinguished from eternity is duration measured, eternity being unmeasured duration; and these days of creation are measured off to us, and hence belong to time and not to eternity. What blind presumption for men to set a point from which to reckon different from that which the Bible has given us!SYNPT 70.1

    55. On what day was Adam created?
    56. What else was done on that day?
    57. What shall be said then of the view that the seventh was Adam’s first day?

    But the assumption of this objection is entirely false: the seventh day was not the first day of Adam’s existence; nothing of the kind. When was Adam created? On the sixth day. All the animals were then brought to him and he named them; no small amount of work. Then he was put to sleep while Eve was created. After that a marriage ceremony took place. And then followed instruction to Adam and Eve in regard to their manner of life, means of support, extent of dominion, etc., before Moses declares that the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Surely here was enough to occupy the greater part of that day, yet so anxious are people to oppose the Sabbath that they will tell us that the next day was the first day of Adam’s existence. What! Adam married before he had an existence! If any, still inclined to urge this ghost of an excuse, should plead that the seventh day of the record was Adam’s first complete day, then we ask them why they do not celebrate American independence on July 5 instead of July 4, as July 5, 1776, was the first complete day of our independence. This objection cannot be made to stand, however men may try to bolster it up. It is the imbecile offspring of prejudice and folly.SYNPT 71.1

    58. What other objection is now urged?
    59. Is there any intimation of such a change in the record?
    60. What is the object of this view?
    61. Did God rest on the seventh day or bless the day at Sinai?

    Again it is said that Moses, writing after God had spoken the ten commandments, stated in Genesis 2:2, 3 what was done on the seventh day, not at creation, but at Sinai. That is, Genesis 2:2 states what took place on the first seventh day of time, but verse three without any change in the narrative, or any intimation that other than a consecutive order of events is introduced, narrates what took place 2500 years afterward. This view is fabricated by those who claim that the Sabbath originated at Sinai. It is very evident from what source it springs. The wish is father to the thought. To barely state a view which rests so utterly on assumption, and is so contrary to the whole tenor of the narrative, ought to be sufficient. There is not the slightest intimation that God blessed and for the first time set apart the day of the Sabbath at Sinai. The record in Genesis states in the same style of narrative that God rested on the seventh day, and that he blessed and sanctified it. God did not perform the act of resting, certainly, at Sinai; the resting was done at creation; then upon what ground or authority does any one throw in between the sentences of an unbroken narrative a period of 2500 years and place the resting at Sinai, when there is not an item of evidence to show that any resting there took place? It is evident that the resting took place at the creation, and the blessing and sanctification immediately thereafter; and if the day was not to be used till Sinai, we leave with our friends another question: Why was all this done so long beforehand?SYNPT 72.1

    62. It not to be kept till Sinai, why was the Sabbath blessed so long beforehand?
    63. What objection is raised on the authority of geology?
    64. How is it answered?

    There is another objection coming to be urged by a certain class very frequently and with a great deal of assurance; and that is, that the record of God’s rest upon the seventh day has nothing to do in fixing a weekly Sabbath; for those days are not literal days, but immense periods of time, as is proved by geology. And they affect to look with great disdain upon any one who will not acknowledge so notable a scientific fact. It can readily be seen that this contradicts the Bible; and this many so-called geologists are doubtless very willing to do. But even some professed defenders of the word of God have been frightened by this bugbear of geology into an admission that these days are great periods, and then gone into a theological St. Vitus’ dance to harmonize it with the record. Into a controversy with geology it is not our purpose here to enter further than to deny in toto what they call conclusions and we call guess-work, and challenge the proof. In their conclusions geologist assume that the results which modern research has discovered, have been produced in ages past by such agencies only as we see at work at the present time. And right here their theory breaks down; for that is what cannot be proved. The Master Mind in Nature’s great laboratory may in remote ages have called into action potent agencies to produce in a short space certain results which by any process now going forward it would take ages to accomplish. To reason from that which is present and known to that which is past and unknown, is illogical. The premise being assumed, the conclusion is but an assumption also. And after all the ludicrous mistakes which geologists have made, attributing a pre-Adamic age to bricks found in the delta of the Nile, which subsequent investigations proved belonged to the age of the later Pharaohs, and dancing with delight over the immense antiquity of a strange piece of wood found in the delta of the Mississippi, which was found upon a little more careful scrutiny to be the gunwale of a Kentucky flat-boat, they ought to be a little modest in their assertions.SYNPT 73.1

    It will be enough for Bible believers to test this claim on the age of Adam, and dismiss it. Adam was created on the sixth day, the sixth long period, the geologists would say. He lived all that period through, his life covering probably the greater part of it. He then lived the seventh day, or entirely through the seventh long period. By this time he must have been many hundred thousand years old. The record then goes on with his history, introducing the birth of Cain, Abel, and Seth, and when he came to die, lo, he was all of nine hundred and thirty years old! Where now are the long periods during which he lived? Vanished into the moonshine from which they venture now and then to flaunt themselves.SYNPT 74.1

    65. How does the record of Genesis 2 now stand?
    66. Give a synopsis of the facts established.

    So far as the record in Genesis 2:2, 3 is concerned, the field is now cleared of every objection. All the raiders upon that citadel of truth are repulsed. The record stands in its native strength and simplicity. The six days of creation were such days as we now have, ruled by the sun, determined by a revolution of the earth upon its axis. The seventh of these was devoted by the Creator to rest. It was set apart to be thus used by man. A command was given to Adam, and through him to all his posterity to keep it. It was not a temporary nor a typical institution, but designed to last through all time, like other primary institutions. These facts are established; and we might rest the whole Sabbath question right here; for if these stand, as they surely do, and will, the Sabbath stands. It was all right in the beginning, gleaming like a coronet on the fair brow of a creation unsullied by sin; and if men had always kept it, the world would have presented a very different moral and religious aspect from what it does to-day; for men never could become idolaters so long as they remembered to worship the Creator of all things; and we should not, as we do to-day, behold the sad spectacle of seven hundred millions of idolators, whose dark abodes are the habitations of cruelty.SYNPT 74.2

    67. What effect would it have had upon the world if all men had always kept the Sabbath as God designed?
    68. What position of the Sabbath opponent is next noticed? Reference.
    69. What is the difficulty with his conclusion?

    But leaving the creation with its established facts and explicit record, we are willing to follow the Sabbath opponent to all his strongholds, and candidly weigh, and compare with Scripture, his strongest arguments. Taking us to Nehemiah 9:13, 14, he says that the Sabbath was not known nor given to the children of Israel before God spoke it from Sinai; for Nehemiah says: “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and trueSYNPT 75.1

    70. What does Exodus 16 show?
    71. How long was this before the law was spoken on Sinai?
    72. How do our opponents make a contradiction between Exodus 16 and Nehemiah 9?
    73. What does the expression “made known,” in Nehemiah mean?

    laws, good statutes and commandments; and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws by the hand of Moses thy servant.” The only trouble with the conclusion drawn from this passage is, that it is contradicted by other scriptures. Thus, Exodus 16 gives an account of the Hebrews’ having the Sabbath in the second month after their departure from Egypt. When God would prove his people to see whether they would walk in his law or no, he took the Sabbath as the one with which to test their obedience, reproving some who in their unbelief and rebellion went out to gather manna on the Sabbath by saying, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” This is not the language that would be used with reference to laws new-made and then for the first time introduced. But this was thirty-three days before the law was spoken from Sinai. Therefore the Sabbath was not first made known to them from Sinai, as it is claimed from Nehemiah 9:13, 14. How then shall the statements of Nehemiah be harmonized with the record of Exodus 16? Our opponents make a contradiction between these two chapters by giving a wrong meaning to the words “made known” in Nehemiah 9:14. These words do not mean that the Sabbath was then for the first time brought to their knowledge, but only that it was more especially unfolded to them by the commandment’s being spoken with the voice of God in their hearing, and a copy of it placed in their hands written with his own finger. In Ezekiel 20:5, God says that he made himself known unto them in the hand of Egypt, when he lifted up his hand unto them saying, “I am the Lord your God.” This does not mean that they then for the first time received a knowledge of God: for they already knew and revered him. Exodus 1:17. It simply means that he then gave a more intimate revelation of himself to them; and it only means the same in reference to the Sabbath in Nehemiah 9:13, 14.SYNPT 76.1

    74. How is it explained by Ezekiel 20:5?
    75. What is further urged to prove that the Sabbath originated at Sinai?
    76. What text is quoted to prove this?
    77. Is this the original commandment?
    78. How long after God had spoken the commandment, was this rehearsal by Moses?
    79. Does Moses refer back to the commandment?

    It is further urged in behalf of the idea that the Sabbath originated at Sinai, that God gave it to the Israelites to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt. Deuteronomy 5:15 is quoted to prove this: “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” This is not the original Sabbath commandment, but a rehearsal by Moses of God’s dealings with that people, as he was about to leave them. It was 40 years after the law had been given by the voice of God on Mount Sinai. Moses intimates as much by referring them back to the commandment. See verse 12: “Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.” Why then is this rehearsal by Moses, forty years after the giving of the law, always quoted by our opponents instead of the original commandment as found in Exodus 20:8-11? The answer is obvious: Because in that original commandment there is no mention of the coming out of Egypt, and hence that would not furnish anything which they could torture into proof that the Sabbath originated then, and was limited to that people. But we submit to every candid and honorable mind whether it is a fair method of reasoning thus to ignore the commandment as spoken by God, and then endeavor to draw the origin of the institution from a rehearsal by Moses, forty years afterward.SYNPT 77.1

    But we need not leave the question here. There are other duties which certainly did not originate then, and were not confined to that people, but in reference to which the same language is used, They were commanded not to pervert judgment, nor oppress the widow, nor do any unrighteousness, but to do all the commandments; and in reference to all these, as in reference to the Sabbath, it is said, I am the Lord which brought you out of the land, therefore I command you to do this thing. See Deuteronomy 24:18, 22; Leviticus 19:35-37. Why do they not use this fact in reference to the other commandments as they do in reference to the Sabbath? The answer again is obvious: They do not want it for any except the Sabbath; hence they studiously shut their own eyes, or endeavor to shut the eyes of their readers, to all the others. But the argument will apply to all alike, and hence proves too much for them.SYNPT 78.1

    80. Why do our opponents appeal to Deuteronomy 5 instead of Exodus 20 to show the origin to the commandment?
    81. What other duties are enjoined for the same reason? References.

    Having shown that there is no proof in the text that the Sabbath was given to that people and confined to them, because they came out of Egypt, since if it proves this, it proves that all the commandments were given for the same reason, we have said all that is demanded of us in this argument. But to clear away all doubt it may be remarked that the reference to the deliverance from Egypt was simply an appeal to their gratitude. They had been in Egyptian bondage, where in all probability the severity of their servitude prevented their worshiping God in keeping his commandments and ordinances. But now they had been delivered from that hard state of bondage into perfect freedom. Should they not, therefore, by a ready compliance with his will, show their gratitude to Him who had delivered them? Therefore, in addition to all other obligations, as their great Benefactor he commanded them to keep the Sabbath, not to prevent judgment, nor oppress the widow, but to observe all his commandments.SYNPT 78.2

    82. Why was reference made to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt?

    Larger font
    Smaller font