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    June 10, 1886

    “The Real Point Involved” The Signs of the Times, 12, 22.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is one strange thing about this Sunday-sabbath, and that is that an argument which is universally used by its advocates, and is relied on as conclusive, is not considered of any force whatever when used in favor of the Sabbath. For instance, an extended Sunday argument is scarcely ever made without reference to the number of times that Christ met with his disciples on Sunday, and the number of religious meetings held on that day. Now the facts are these: We have a record of just one meeting of Christ and his disciples on the first day of the week, and of but one meeting of people for worship. The first meeting was while the disciples sat at supper in which they were joined by Christ, and the second was an evening meeting just before Paul was to take leave of the brethren at Troas after a week of labor among them.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.1

    Concerning Sabbath worship we have the following: It was the “custom’ of Jesus to worship in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Luke 4:16. He also told his disciples that because it was made for man, not against him, they would now be violating it by doing a charitable action that day. We also find Sabbath meetings spoken of in Acts 13:11, 42, 44; 17:2, and 18:4. We find also that it was Paul’s “manner” to hold meetings on the Sabbath. Now if custom is to be taken as evidence, in favor of the day, certainly the verdict must be in favor of the seventh day.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.2

    But this is not all, nor is it the main point at all. The mere fact that meetings were held on a certain day proves nothing, because the disciples were accustomed to meet every day, and Christ and the apostles preached every day. Here is a point: The first day of the week is invariably spoken of as “the first day of the week.’ No sacred title is ever applied to it. There is absolutely nothing in connection with the mention of it to indicate that any sacredness was attached to it. On the contrary it is spoken of as being devoted to secular employments, and is designated, the same as the other working days, only by its number. The seventh day, however, the Sabbath, is always spoken of as “the Sabbath”-the rest day. This is wherein we find evidence in favor of the seventh-day Sabbath in the New Testament. Christian men, moved by the Spirit of God to write for Christians, writing at periods varying from five to thirty years after Christ’s ascension, invariably referred to the particular day enjoined in the fourth commandment as “the Sabbath.” Surely, then, there can be no doubt as to what day is the only Sabbath for Christians to keep. The Spirit of God has set its seal on the seventh day, and has declared that is the Sabbath day.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.3

    Still further, the inspired apostles have left on record the statement that only the seventh day is the Sabbath. There is no question but that the day on which the Jews met for worship was the seventh day of the week. Now Paul, when he was at Antioch, in Pisidia, showed, in the following words, how inconsistent the Jews were in rejecting Christ: “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.” Acts 13:27. If the Scriptures were read in the Jewish synagogues on the seventh day, which no one will think of denying, then, according to Paul, they were read every Sabbath day, which effectually shuts Sunday out of the claim to be called Sabbath.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.4

    The apostle James, also, in an assembly of the apostles and elders, which is generally spoken of as “the first Christian council,” and where the Holy Ghost was present to direct, said, “For Moses of old time hath in every city then that preach him, being read in the synagogues of every Sabbath day.” Acts 15:21. Here we have, in an assembly of Christians twenty years after the crucifixion, an unmistakably Christian declaration to the fact that the day on which the Jews read the books of Moses in their synagogues,-the seventh day,-is the Sabbath to the exclusion of every other day.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.5

    We cannot see how Christians can ignore such facts these. If the Holy Spirit declares that the seventh day is the Sabbath, and the only Sabbath, why should we not say so too? How can we be Christians if we walk not as Christ and the apostles walked, and talk not as they talked? If holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, why should not their words be an end of all strife? For our part we will maintain before the world that the seventh day of the week is the only Sabbath, and the day which God and Christ demand shall be kept by Christians; and we know that this position cannot be contradicted by the Scriptures. W.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.6

    “A Feature of Catholicism” The Signs of the Times, 12, 22.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the “decrees” of the Plenary Council held in Baltimore, the following is found:-SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.7

    “We earnestly appeal to all Catholics, without distinction, not only to take no part in any movement tending toward a relaxation of the observance of Sunday, but to use their influence and power as citizens to persist in the opposite direction. Let them make it not only a day of rest, but also a day of prayer.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.8

    The Congregationalist prints the above with simply the following comment: “Here is a feature of Catholicism which we most heartily endorse.” We doubt if the Congregationalist realized the full import of its comment. Sunday observance is indeed a “feature of Catholicism,” and is, in fact, its principal feature, as may be seen by the following:SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.9

    The apostle Paul gave as the chief characteristic of the papacy that he “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4. And the angel told Daniel how the papacy would fulfill the specifications of opposing and exalting himself above God, namely, by thinking to change the law of God. Daniel 7:25. In no other way could the Pope exalt himself above God. Of course no power on earth could really make a change in the law of God; but the papacy was to think itself able to do so. That the Catholic Church fills this specification, putting itself above God, by thinking it has power to change God’s law, is evident from its own testimony.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.10

    Ques.-How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.11

    Ans.-By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow all of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.”-From “Abridgement of Christian Doctrine.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.12

    Ques.-Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.13

    Ans.-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.”-From the Doctrinal Catechism.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.14

    To the statement that “all modern religionists agree with her” in substituting Sunday for the Sabbath, we must take exceptions. We agree that she has done it, but we do not agree that she had any right to do it. But some one will say that there was no papacy until about the fifth or sixth century, and that as the Sabbath was changed before that time, it could not have been by the papal power. To this we reply that the “mystery of iniquity” was working even in Paul’s day, and that before Justinian’s decree making the bishop of Rome head over all the churches, the Catholic Church existed just as really as it did afterwards. All the difference lies in the fact that after that decree the papacy was firmly established, as we may say, on a legal basis. An act performed before the beginning of papal supremacy, was just as much an act of the Catholic Church as one performed afterwards.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.15

    In writing of the Trinitarian controversies, which took place in the time of Constantine, Gibbon points to the two parties as the Arians and the Catholics. The party which finally became dominant, and which Constantine favored, is invariably termed the Catholic party. Thus we see that it is a recognized fact that the Catholic Church, so-called, had an existence in the time of Constantine. Although Constantine was not baptized till near his death, he favored the nominally Christian party from the year 313. He is called “the first Christian Emperor;” and as the influential “Christians” in her day were the Catholics, it follows that any decree issued by him concerning a matter of religion, would be a Catholic decree. It is well known that in the year 321 A.D. Constantine did issue a Sunday edict, and of that edict Chambers’s Encyclopedia, article “Sabbath,” says:-SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.16

    “Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of that day (Sunday) is known to have been ordained is the edict of Constantine, A.D. 321.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.17

    More testimony to the same effect might be given, but this is sufficient to show that the Catholic Church is responsible for the change that has been made in the Sabbath, a change which has no Scripture warrant, and that this change of the Sabbath is claimed by the Catholic Church as the mark of its authority. It is not simply a feature of the Catholic Church, but it is the feature of that church, as we would say before, the Congregationalist probably did not realize the import of its own words; but it is a fact, nevertheless, that in indorsing that “feature of Catholicism,” it is simply endorsing Catholicism itself. As a Catholic writer said in a book entitled, “A Plain Talk about the Protestantism of To-day.” “It is worth its while to remember that this observance of the Sabbath [Sunday]-in which, after all, the only Protestant worship consists-not only has no foundation in the Bible, but it is in flagrant contradiction with its letter, which commands rest on the Sabbath, which is Saturday.... Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] Church.”SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.18

    What do you say, friends? Will you indorse this “feature of Catholicism,” and thus indorse Catholicism itself, with all its abominations and horrible deeds of blood? This is a question that will not down. The time has come when it must be answered by each person for himself. It may be passed by once or twice, or even more times, but it will surely come again and call more loudly for an answer. The Lord says, “with a loud voice,” “If any man worship the beast and his image... The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Would it not be better to serve God by doing just as he says? “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” W.SITI June 10, 1886, page 342.19

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