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    CHAPTER 10. The Sabbath Theory of Akers, Jennings, Mede, and Fuller

    A theory of the Sabbath, not newly invented, but an old theory newly modified, and now generally known as Akers’ Theory, has come to be received quite largely with a certain denomination, and is therefore here presented in a separate lesson. This theory, briefly stated, is, that the day now known as the first day of the week, and kept as the Sabbath, is the day which God originally blessed and gave to Adam as the Sabbath; so that in keeping the first day of the week, we are keeping the original seventh day according to the commandment. This would be a splendid way out of the Sabbath difficulty if it could be sustained; and multitudes have been made to hope that Mr. A. would confirm them in their practice of Sunday sabbatizing, which they are so unwilling to abandon.SYNPT 89.1

    We find objections to this position in two directions: first, in the fact that in many particulars it contradicts the positive testimony of the Scriptures, and secondly, in the self-contradictions and absurdities involved in the theory itself.SYNPT 89.2

    1. What is the theory generally known as Akers’ Theory?
    2. In what respect are there objections to this theory?

    It is certain that if we now are keeping the original seventh day by keeping Sunday, the Jews did not keep that original seventh day; for they did not keep the Sunday, but the day before. It follows, therefore, from this position, that there have been, to the present time, two changes of the Sabbath; first, from the Adamic to the Mosaic or Jewish Sabbath; secondly, from the Jewish to the present, or Christian Sabbath. We have supposed that the necessity of proving one change was a sufficient burden for the first-day Sabbath. That is a bold, and we shall find it a reckless and presumptuous one, which advocates two. To see how they do this, we will look at the position which each one of these men has taken.SYNPT 90.1

    First in point of time come Mr. Joseph Mede, who early in the seventeenth century announced to the world a wonderful discovery, namely, that the Hebrew people did not have the original Sabbath which had been binding from creation to Moses, but that Saturday was given them in place of the original Sabbath, because on this day God overthrew Pharaoh in the Red Sea. Mr. M. was very sure the Sabbath was thus changed at this time, but what day it was changed from he could not tell. See Jennings’ Jewish Antiquities, pp. 329,330.SYNPT 90.2

    3. According to this theory, how many changes of the Sabbath have there been?
    4. Who first in point of time suggested this theory?
    5. What was Mede’s theory?
    6. How long after Mede did Jennings appear?

    This theory is too indefinite to be more than simply stated. But the seed had been dropped which was after two hundred years to spring up and bear baleful fruit, If it could only be shown that the Jews had a changed Sabbath and we have the original, that would suit much better than the idea that they had the original Sabbath, and we have the one that is changed. So a hundred years from the days of Mr. Mede, Dr. Jennings arises and responds, virtually, “That is a splendid idea of yours, Bro. Mede, that the Sabbath was changed for the Jews at the commencement of their dispensation, but you are altogether wrong in the time when it occurred, and you are wrong in the reference to the place where it occurred and you are wrong in the arguments you adduce to sustain it; but your idea is nevertheless all right and true! However, the overthrow of Pharaoh had nothing to do with this change; it did not take place at the crossing of the Red Sea, but at a later point, when the manna was given.”SYNPT 90.3

    7. According to Jennings, how far was Mede wrong?
    8. Where does Dr. J’s theory place the institution of the Sabbath?
    9. What change was made at the exodus?

    Dr. Jennings’ theory recognizes the institution of the Sabbath at the close of the work of creation, and binding from that time to Moses. But there he contends for a change; and to be a little more definite than Mr. Mede, he proposes to tell what day the Sabbath was changed from when a new one was given to the Hebrews. So he undertakes to “make it appear to be probable” that “the Jewish Sabbath was appointed to be kept the day before the patriarchal Sabbath.” Antiquities, p. 320. That is to say, the Sabbath was set back one day for the Jews to Saturday, and the Sabbath in regular succession of seventh days from the creation would come the day following, on Sunday. His principal argument for this position is the following: The manna fell for six days, and was withheld on the seventh, this seventh day was Saturday, and was ever after to be observed as the Sabbath by the Hebrews. As the manna had fallen six days before this Saturday on which it was withheld, it begun to fall on Sunday; and the day before it began to fall, or Saturday, was spent by the Israelites journeying from Elim to Sin.SYNPT 91.1

    This argument stands on three legs, every one of which breaks down when we bring the pressure of examination upon it. For, first, it cannot be proved that the journey from Elim to Sin was on Saturday; and even Dr. Akers, who labors strenuously to reach the same point Dr. Jennings is trying to prove, denies that this journey was on Saturday, declaring that it took place on Monday. Secondly, it cannot be proved that one or more days did not elapse after Israel arrived at Sin, before the manna began to fall. Thirdly, it cannot be proved that the manna fell six days before the Sabbath spoken of in connection therewith in Exodus 16; as the sixth day there mentioned is the sixth day of the week, and has no reference to the number of days upon which the manna had fallen. These assumptions constituting the warp and woof of his position, when they are taken away nothing is left.SYNPT 92.1

    10. What is his argument from the manna?
    11. In what respects does this argument fail?
    12. In what absurdities does this theory end?

    With a glance at the monstrous absurdities, into which this theory explodes like a rocket, and disappears, we leave it: 1. We have the original Sabbath abolished for them five days before the new Sabbath was instituted; 2. We have a period of twelve days without any Sabbath at all; and 3. We have the providence of God in the giving of the manna requiringSYNPT 92.2

    13. How long a period does he give us without a Sabbath?
    14. Who came to rescue of this theory next after Jennings?

    them to violate the Sabbath, when it was to prove their willingness to keep the Sabbath, that the manna was given. Thus, according to Dr. J., the 15th of Abib, on which they journeyed form Elim to Sin, was Saturday. The next day, Sunday the 16th, which had been the Sabbath from Eden down to that point, the manna began to fall, and they had to go out and gather it, which showed they were no longer to regard that day as the Sabbath. The manna fell six days to the 22nd of Abib, when the people rested. And this was the first rest they had since Sunday, the 9th of Abib, thirteen days before. For the Saturday before, the 15th, had not then been instituted as the Sabbath; if it had been, says Dr. J., they would not have journeyed from Elim to Sin; and the Sunday before, the 16th, had ceased to be the Sabbath for that people, if it had not, the manna would not have begun to fall then, causing the people to go out and engage in their secular labor by gathering it. We have, consequently, a period of twelve full days from the 9th to the 22nd of Abib without any Sabbath; we have the original Sabbath abolished on the 16th of Abib, five days before the new was instituted on the 22nd; we have God saying, I will rain bread from heaven to prove you whether you will walk in my law or no; and lo! the very day that bread begins to fall, it happens to be the original Sabbath, and they are obliged to violate it by going out to gather their food. Thus in following the providence of God in the giving of the manna, they are obliged to break the law of God in disregarding his Sabbath. And what is remarkable, the people express no surprise that they are obliged, without any previous instruction, to violate the original Sabbath, and ready as they were to complain and rebel at the slightest grievances, they close up one week’s labor with the march from Elim to Sin, and immediately enter upon a second week of labor in gathering the manna, without a murmur.SYNPT 93.1

    15. How long?
    16. In what year was Akers’ work published?
    17. In what respect according to Akers, is Jennings’ theory wrong?
    18. What is Akers’ method of argument?
    19. What change does Akers’ make at the exode?
    20. What change does this make necessary at the cross?

    Something more than another hundred years elapse, and there appears that prodigy among chronologists, Dr. Akers. In 1855 he gave to the world the result of his lucubrations. He seizes upon the idea that the Sabbath was changed for the Hebrew in the days of Moses as one too good to be lost, but one which unfortunately had not down to his day been sustained by any adequate proof. But he will remedy this matter, and will retain the kernel of this nut for Sabbatarians, though he does not consider that the efforts of Mede or Jennings, in their attempts to sustain this idea, amount to respectable shucks. He therefore places the change at a different point of time from either of the others, namely, not at the fall of manna, nor at the passage of the Red Sea, but on the 15th of Abib, when the children of Israel started on their exodus from Egypt. And how does she attempt to show that this was Saturday the sixth day of the original week, and should be kept by that people as the Sabbath instead of the day following, which was the Edenic Sabbath, and which had been kept down to that time? He takes his stand at the crucifixion of Christ, which heSYNPT 94.1

    21. Will his week change back there?
    22. What shows this?
    23. With what is Dr. A’s count thus brought into direct conflict?

    places on the 28th of March, A.D. 28, in the year of the world 5573. From this he reckons back to the rest-day of the Lord at the close of creation week, and finds just 298,767 weeks, from which he claims that the seventh day of Genesis 2, is the first day of Matthew 28:1; and that the creation was begun on Monday, Sept 15. From this point he then reckons down to the day Israel left Egypt, and finds the 15th of Abib to be the sixth day of the week. Here he has to rearrange matters generally; and under cover of the institution of the sacred year at this point, slips in a new week, jogging the reckoning back one day, making the last day of the previous week the first day of the new, and the sixth day of the old week the seventh day of the new. And this day that people were to regard as the Sabbath. Having thus readjusted his machine, it runs fist-rate down to the resurrection of Christ, but there it comes to a dead stop, being entirely out of joint with the arrangement that follows. Here that peculiarly Jewish arrangement of Sabbath and weeks should disappear, and the patriarchal arrangement revive. The Sabbath should go back to its original day, Sunday, and the week should resume its old order, which would make Sunday its seventh day. He has no hesitancy in claiming that the Sabbath went back to Sunday; but lo, the week refuses to change; for the Sunday following the Jewish seventh day, four of the inspired writers call plainly the first day of the week. But what does it matter if the inspired writers have inadvertently called this the first day, has not Dr. A. proved by actual count from creation that it is the true seventh day, and is that count to be set aside by the simple fact that the evangelists happen to use the word in this manner!!SYNPT 95.1

    24. Upon what authority does his computation rest?
    25. What is the Septuagint translation and when was it made?
    26. How does this differ in chronology from the Hebrew?
    27. What does Dr. A. himself confess in regard to the Septuagint?
    28. Where does this chronology place the death of Methuselah?
    29. How does Dr. A. get over this difficulty?
    30. What does he have to do further to make his theory stand?

    On what authority then does Dr. A’s count rest? He adopts the chronology of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old testament reputed to have been made at Alexandria in Egypt, about 280 years before Christ, though this is disputed by some. This chronology give us, between the creation and the exodus, 1386 years more than the Hebrew Scriptures, and down to the Christian era, 1426 years more. Dr. A. therefore by adopting the Septuagint, sets aside the Hebrew as entirely unreliable. But is the Septuagint of such undoubted authority in this particular? Dr. A. himself confesses that it sometimes needs correcting. For instance it makes Methuselah survive the flood some fourteen years; and he corrects this strange error only by following those copies of the Septuagint which in this particular case conform to the numbers given in the Hebrew. Thus the doctor shows himself adequate to the task of meeting every difficulty, first by adopting the Septuagint, and rejecting the Hebrew as wholly unreliable, then falling back upon the Hebrew to correct some of the glaring and notorious errors of the Septuagint, and lastly by correcting the Septuagint in other particulars by such authorities as he may judge to be reliable. But what is a chronology good for, the value of which depends upon its accuracy even to a day, that rests upon such palpable uncertainties? A more unreasonable claim could scarcely be put forth than this which pretends to give the exact number of days from creation to the present time. Dr. E. O. Haven, formerly president of the University of Michigan, and likewise a Methodist clergyman, whose name overtops that of Dr. A. as the cedar of Lebanon towers above the bramble, pronounces such an effort at chronology a complete failure.SYNPT 96.1

    Again, Dr. A. places the creation on Sept. 15, but the Rabbins on Oct. 7, yet he takes up their reckoning to show that Sunday was the original seventh day. But if this date is right, theirs is wrong, and vice versa. But besides this difference of 22 days, the two systems of chronology differ 1785 years to the exodus, yet the doctor has so wonderful a system of chronology that he can prove himself right by either. Whether the world was created Sept. 15 or Oct. 7, some 1785 years later, it is all the same to him. He can show in either case that Sunday is the true seventh day anyway. What further proof is needed that this method of reasoning is altogether sophistical and deceptive?SYNPT 97.1

    31. What may and must be said of that claim which professes to give the exact number of days in the age of the world?
    32. What is Dr. Haven’s testimony?
    33. Where does Dr. A. place the creation?
    34. Where do the Rabbins place it?
    35. How does their chronology differ from Dr. A.’?
    36. Yet what does Dr. A. prove by their chronology?
    37. What is the first point we must believe according to Dr. A.’ theory?

    But how does Dr. A. help the matter? Let us see what he asks us to believe: 1. That the first day of time was Monday. 2. That God gave up his own rest-day to be desecrated by his chosen people during the whole period of their separate existence, giving them in its stead only a ceremonial Sabbath which they were to sacredly observe. 3. That God gave them a new week made up of the seventh day of one of his weeks, and the first six days of the following. 4. That here was a genuine week, with only six days in it. 5. That when that arrangement ceased, the week refused to go back, and God’s seventh day is now our first day. 6. That the sixth day, with which the new week given to Israel closed, was made into a new Sabbath. 7. That this sixth day was then made into the seventh. And. 8. That at Christ’s resurrection two Sabbaths came together.SYNPT 97.2

    38. What the second?
    39. What the third?
    40. The fourth?
    41. The fifth?
    42. The sixth?
    43. The seventh?
    44. The eighth?
    45. Who has since tried to patch up this theory?
    46. Where is Akers’ failure according to Fuller?
    47. What is Fuller’s theory?

    It is not to be greatly wondered at that such a tissue of confusion should not be suffered long to remain without some one making an effort to tinker it into greater consistency. So some ten years after the publication of Dr. Akers’ book, the Rev. E. Q. Fuller tried his hand at this very desirable, but yet unaccomplished job. He likes the main idea which they are trying to establish. He likes Akers’ reckoning of time even to days, and he thinks Akers has fixed the time and place all right, but does not rightly state the change. He will have it that the Sabbath was changed at the exode, not from the seventh day to the sixth, as Dr. A. asserts, but from the first day to the seventh. And this he brings about in this way. The first six days of creation belong to eternity, not time. The seventh day was Adam’s first day, and there time began, and the week began with its first day as a Sabbath. At the exode the Sabbath was set back from this first day of the week to the seventh; but the week was not changed as Dr. A. asserts. This went on to the resurrection of Christ when this seventh day Sabbath was abolished, leaving the first day Sabbath in all its glory. Thus Fuller gives us a week at the exode with two Sabbaths in it, and one at the resurrection of Christ with no Sabbath in it. It will be seen at once how he contradicts Akers in some of his most essential particulars. But what is most remarkable, he depends on Akers’ count of the days; yet he begins with the seventh day, six days later than Dr. A. and proceeding on the same count, comes out exactly the same! Where is all this putty and India-rubber? In these men’s hearts, or in their heads?SYNPT 98.1

    We have said but little by way of comparing the theories of these men with the Bible; nor is it necessary to speak particularly on that point. Read the record of Genesis 2, and the fourth commandment. If the Sabbath given in that commandment is not the very day upon which God rested and which he blessed in the beginning, it is a deception. For an exhaustive examination of the theories of these men and an exposure of the wicked course of the later writers on this subject, the reader is referred to the pamphlet entitled, “Sunday Seventh-day Examined. A Refutation of the teachings of Mede, Jennings, Akers, and Fuller, by Eld. J. N. Andrews.”SYNPT 99.1

    48. What kind of a week does Fuller give us at the exode?
    49. What kind at the crucifixion?
    50. What is remarkable about his use of Dr. A.’ count of the days?
    51. What day is enjoined as the Sabbath in the commandment?
    52. Where and by whom are these theories fully exposed?

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