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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON SEVENTY-THREE The Sabbath Reform

    1. Mere human precepts, or tradition, do not constitute a sufficient authority for setting aside one of God’s commandments. Mark 7:6-13.TDOC 214.1

    2. Those who accept the threefold message, and refuse to worship the beast or his image, are designated as those who keep the commandments of God rather than the commandments of men. Revelation 14:12.TDOC 214.2

    3. Special blessings are promised to those who stand for Sabbath reform when the Sabbath is being trodden underfoot. Isaiah 58:13, 14.TDOC 214.3

    4. The call to come out of modern Babylon will involve the rejection of the false Sabbath institutedTDOC 214.4

    through the great apostasy. Revelation 18:4.TDOC 214.5

    5. The center and source of idolatry is Babylon. The very essence of the idolatry of heathenism is found in turning from the Creator to the creature. The last gospel message urges the worship of the Creator rather than the creature, and restores the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as the sign of God’s power in creation and in re-creation. Jeremiah 50:38: Romans 1:25, ARV; Revelation 14:7; Isaiah 58:12.TDOC 214.6

    6. After this reform message has been fully proclaimed, the world will be divided into two classes, those who have the mark of God and those who have. the mark of the beast, the former class being observers of the true Sabbath and the latter class the observers of the false Sabbath., Ezekiel 9:4-6; Revelation 13:15-17; 16:1, 2.TDOC 214.7

    The subject of prophecy

    “The work of Sabbath reform to be accomplished in the last days is foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘Thus said the Lord, Keep you judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that lays hold on it; that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.’ The sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.’TDOC 214.8

    “These words apply in the Christian age, as shown by the context: ‘The Lord God which gathers the outcasts of Israel said, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.’ Here, is foreshadowed the gathering in of the Gentiles by the gospel. And upon those who then honor the Sabbath, a blessing is pronounced. Thus the obligation of the fourth commandment extends past the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, to the time when his servants should preach to all nations the message of glad tidings.TDOC 215.1

    “The Lord commands by the same prophet, ‘Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.’ The seal of God’s law is found in the fourth commandment. This only, of all the ten, brings to view both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It declares him to be the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus shows his claim to reverence and worship above all others. Aside from this precept, there is nothing in the Ten Commandments to show by whose authority the law is given. When the Sabbath was changed by the papal power, the seal was taken from the law. The disciples of Jesus are called upon to restore it by exalting the Sabbath of the fourth commandment to its rightful position as the Creator’s memorial and the sign of his authority.TDOC 215.2

    “To the law and to the testimony.’ While conflicting doctrines and theories abound, the law of God is the one unerring rule by which all opinions, doctrines, and theories are to be tested. Says the prophet, ‘If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’TDOC 215.3

    “Again, the command is given, ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ It is not the wicked world, but those whom the Lord designates as ‘my people,’ that are to be reproved for their transgressions. He declares further, ‘Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God.’ Here is brought to view a class who think themselves righteous, and appear to manifest great interest in the service of God; but the stern and solemn rebuke of the Searcher of hearts proved them to be trampling upon the divine precepts.TDOC 215.4

    “The prophet thus points out the ordinance which has been forsaken: ‘Thou shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall thou delight thyself in the Lord.’ This prophecy also applies in our time. The breach was made in the law of God when theTDOC 215.5

    Sabbath was changed by the Roman power. But the time has come for that divine institution to be restored. The breach is to be repaired, and the foundations of many generations to be raised up.”-The Great Controversy, 451-453.TDOC 216.1

    The reform opposed

    “As the attention of the people was called to the subject of Sabbath reform, popular ministers perverted the word of God, placing such interpretations upon its testimony as would best quiet inquiring minds. And those who did not search the Scriptures for themselves were content to accept conclusions that were in accordance with their desires. By argument, sophistry, the traditions of the Fathers, and the authority of the church, many endeavored to overthrow the truth. Its advocates were driven to their Bibles to defend the validity of the fourth commandment. Humble men, armed with the word of truth alone, withstood the attacks of men of learning, who, with surprise and anger, found their eloquent sophistry powerless against the simple, straightforward reasoning of men who were versed in the Scriptures rather than in the subtleties of the schools.TDOC 216.2

    “In the absence of Bible testimony in their favor, many with unwearying persistence urged, forgetting how the same reasoning had been employed against Christ and his apostles, ‘Why do not our great men understand this Sabbath question? But few believe as you do. It cannot be that you are right, and that all the men of learning in the world are wrong.”TDOC 216.3

    “To refute such arguments it was needful only to cite the teachings of the Scriptures and the history of the Lord’s dealings with his people in all ages. God works through those who hear. and obey his voice, those who will, if need be, speak unpalatable truths, those who do not fear to reprove popular sins. The reason why he does not oftener choose men of learning and high position to lead out in reform movements, is that they trust to their creeds, theories, and theological systems, and feel no need to be taught of God. Only those who have a personal connection with the Source of wisdom are able to understand or explain the Scriptures. Men who have little of the learning of the schools are sometimes called to declare the truth, not because they are unlearned, but because they are not too self-sufficient to be taught of God. They learn in the school of Christ, and their humility and obedience make them great. In committing to them a knowledge of his truth, God confers upon them an honor, in comparison with which earthly honor and human greatness sink into insignificance.”-The Great Controversy, 455, 456.TDOC 216.4

    The mark of the beast

    “Christians of past generations observed the Sunday, supposing that in so doing they were keeping the Bible Sabbath; and there are now true Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion, who honestly believe that Sunday is the Sabbath of divine appointment. God accepts their sincerity of purpose and their integrity before him. 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 honor popery above God. He is paying homage to Rome, and to the power which enforces the institution ordained by Rome. He is worshiping the beast and, his image. As men then reject the institution on which God has declared to be the sign of his authority, and honor in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, 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 transgression will receive ‘the mark of the beast.’-The Great Controversy, 449.TDOC 216.5

    Read the “Source Book,” pages 22-25.TDOC 217.1

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