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    September 1, 1890

    “The Original Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 16, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In view of the agitation of the Sunday question, and the attempt to base Sunday laws upon the Bible, it is well for all to be thoroughly informed as to what the Bible does say about the Sabbath. Nor is this so difficult a matter as many suppose. They listen to some Sunday-law lecturer, who glibly repeats over a series of statements about the Sabbath, which he has culled from some book, and which he has no idea of proving, and they become bewildered, and say, “It is no use for us to try to settle this matter; if teachers of theology are so disagreed, how can we hope to understand it?” Now we do not blame them for becoming discouraged from trying to understand what men say about the Sabbath; but what the Bible says is so simple that a child could not become confused by it. It is true that there are some things in the Bible that are hard to be understood. The doctrines of election, and foreordination, and predestination, may require much hard study in order to be understood; but it is a fact that all those difficult subjects do not involve practical duty. A man may be a good Christian, and still be unable to make any statement in regard to them. But everything which involves a practical duty is very plain. It does not require that a person shall be highly educated to know what murder is, and that it is wrong. A man need not take a college course to understand how to be honest; and a man who does not know the multiplication table may know what would be a violation of the ninth commandment as well as a man who can measure the distances of the stars. So it is with the fourth commandment. It enjoins upon all the observance of the Sabbath, and therefore it is so plain that the most ignorant can understand it. Let us see what the Bible says about it.SITI September 1, 1890, page 460.16

    Going back to the very beginning, we read the account in Genesis 2:1-3: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God had ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all 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.” That is the record of the making of the Sabbath.SITI September 1, 1890, page 460.17

    How was it made? God rested, blessed, and sanctified, or set apart, the day. What day did he rest upon, bless, and set apart?-The seventh day. Which seventh day?-The seventh day of the week, for that is the only period of time consisting of seven days. It is the Sabbath which marks the week. According to the inspired narrative, the first six days of time were spent in the work of creating the heavens and earth and all that they contain; and the creation week was completed by a day of rest.SITI September 1, 1890, page 460.18

    For whom was the Sabbath made? Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man.” Mark 2:27. Of what day of the week was he speaking?-Of the seventh day, the day which the Jews then kept, and which they have always observed. The Pharisees had charged his disciples with violating the Sabbath. Jesus cleared them from that charge, and claimed for himself the high honor of being Lord of the Sabbath,-the very Sabbath which the Jews held as sacred. That showed his ability to decide what was and what was not Sabbath-breaking.SITI September 1, 1890, page 460.19

    But now the claim comes in that the Sabbath which the Jews kept was another day from the original Sabbath. This is the sum of a book which Dr. Briggs, of California, wrote on the Sabbath. His statement is that in the beginning God sanctified the day which we now call Sunday, but that the people so perverted it and devoted it to the worship of the sun, that he had to give the Jews a fresh day, uncontaminated by heathen worship, when he took them from Egypt. Accordingly he gave them the day before, which was their Sabbath until the crucifixion, when the calendar was slipped forward another notch, and the original Sunday was given to the people. This theory the doctor says he has arrived at by “much study, self-searching, and close thinking.” We don’t doubt it; but if he had searched the Bible instead of himself, he would not have broached so baseless a theory.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.1

    Now note how quickly such fog vanishes before the sunlight of truth. We will allow that the Sabbath was given to the Jews at the exodus. This does not indicate that they did not have it before, any more than the fact that God made himself known to them at that time indicates that he was previously unknown. How did he make the Sabbath known to them? Listen to Nehemiah’s inspired prayer: “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments; and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath.” Nehemiah 9:13, 14. He made known the Sabbath upon Sinai. Now the only thing spoken on Sinai in regard to the Sabbath was the fourth commandment, which reads thus:SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.2

    “Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; 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.” Exodus 20:8-11.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.3

    What day was declared from Sinai to be the Sabbath?-“The seventh day,” the very day that in the beginning was made the Sabbath. God simply declared anew an old truth. He did not say that from that time the seventh day should be the Sabbath, but that “the seventh day is the Sabbath.” How did it become such? For answer he repeats just what we have recorded in Genesis 2:1-3, that in six days the Lord made all things, and then rested upon the seventh day, which thus became the Sabbath; and then it was blessed and set apart as the Sabbath for man.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.4

    The original Sabbath, therefore, from creation, was the same day that it was from the exodus to the cross. And the same day that was the Sabbath during Christ’s earthly ministry continued to be the Sabbath for all time afterwards. The Bible knows no other Sabbath. Did the reader ever stop to think that the very day that the Jews kept is throughout the New Testament called the Sabbath? “Oh,” says someone, “the writers of the New Testament were Jews, and would naturally use language that they were accustomed to.” No such thing. The writers of the New Testament were Christians; they wrote for Christians. Not only so, but they did not write their own words. The apostle Paul throws light upon the source of their words and teaching, when he says:-SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.5

    “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:12, 13.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.6

    The Holy Spirit, then, is the source of the words of the Bible. The names which it gives to things are the names which God designs that they shall bear. Now everywhere in the New Testament the seventh day is by the Holy Spirit called the Sabbath; and this was all written years after the crucifixion. The Holy Spirit called it so because it was so. Therefore the conclusion is self-evident, that the same day which was the Sabbath ever since. This is plainly revealed; and “those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” E. J. W.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.7

    “No Justification by the Law” The Signs of the Times, 16, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there in none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:9-20.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.8

    As we said in our last article, the first part of this passage, down to verse 18, is an answer to the last question raised by the Jewish objector: “What then? Are we better than they?” These verses bring us to the point where the apostle completes the foundation of his argument, and is ready for the climax. We have seen that the first chapter relates to the degradation of the heathen; the second chapter shows the Jews to be in the same condemnation; and in the verses just quoted, the apostle quotes scripture after scripture to corroborate his statements concerning both classes. We need not go into the niceties of the signification of the different terms employed; the charge is plain enough for all to understand. Only two clauses claim special attention.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.9

    “And the way of peace have they not known.” This is in harmony with the previous statement, “They are all gone out of the way.” It is evident that the way from which they have departed is the way of peace. Now what is the way of peace? Let the Bible answer. The Lord says, “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:18. Says the psalmist, “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165. Disobedience to the law which governs the universe, is rebellion against God, as he said to Isaiah: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and not it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever; that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.” Isaiah 30:8, 9. When men cease their rebellion, and lay down their arms, there is peace; so there can be nothing but peace when men yield to the commandments of God.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.10

    The way of peace, from which men have departed, is God’s way, and he says to sinful men: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9. That is, the ordinary plane of men’s thoughts and actions is as much lower than the plane of God’s thoughts and actions, as expressed in his law, as the earth is lower than the highest heaven. This is important to bear in mind while reading verses 19 and 20.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.11

    “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law,” or within the sphere of the law. We will not take time at this point to explain the phrase “under the law,” because the term is really not found in this place. There is a vast different between the Greek here translated “under the law” and that which is properly so rendered in Romans 6:14, and .... Here the meaning is strictly “in the law” the Greek being the same as in Romans 2:12-15. “As many as have sinned in the law.” The meaning of the phrase “in the law,” in Romans 2:12-15 was seen to be, having the law, that is, the written law, in distinction from those who have the written revelation. The statement that the law speaks to those who have it, is very plain, but as in Romans 2:12-15 it was shown that none are really without law, but that those who are spoken of as without law are in the law only to a less degree than those that have written revelation, so it is here. For mark:-SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.12

    “What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under in the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.13

    Now it is evident that the law cannot condemn any who are not within its jurisdiction. A law peculiar to England cannot declare a citizen of the United States guilty, even though he does the things which it forbids. But the consequence of what the law of God says, is the world stand guilty before him; therefore the law of God speaks to every man in the world.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.14

    This nineteenth verse of the third chapter of Romans stands as a perptual bar to the limiting of God’s law to the Jewish nation. It proves that that law is world-wide in its requirements. By it both Jew and Gentile are proved to be under sin. It was spoken to the Jews, it is true, but only that they might in turn speak it to the Gentiles; and if they failed in their duty in this respect, then the Gentiles would perish in their iniquity, and their blood would be required at the hands of those to whom the message of truth was given. See Ezekiel 33:2-8; Romans 2:12.SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.15

    “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”SITI September 1, 1890, page 466.16

    This is the grand conclusion of the apostle’s argument, so far as the law alone is concerned in its relation to sinful men. It is so reasonable that anybody can see it, and so just that no one ought to lay anything to the charge of the law, on account of it. It is a fact that every soul, both of Jews and Gentiles, is guilty before God. Now what can the law do? Can it justify them? To justify means to make righteous, or to declare righteous. But they are not righteous, therefore the law cannot say that they are. If it did, it would not be a good law. The fact that it will not justify sinners-will not declare them righteous-is a standing proof that it is good. So, instead of burying the law because it will not justify sin for us, we should applaud it.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.1

    Neither can the law make a sinner righteous. No law can do that, any more than a guideboard can carry a person in the direction which it points. The law says, Do, and thou shalt live. The law speaks; it is the province of the man to do. If he does what the law says, it will witness to his righteousness; if he does not do what the law say, it will declare him guilty. It can do no more nor less. But no man has done the law, therefore none can be justified by it. Thus we see that there is no conflict between Romans 2:13 and Romans 3:20.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.2

    A doer of the law is one who has always done it. If a man has failed in only one particular, he cannot be called a doer of the law, for the simple reason that he hasn’t done it all. Therefore on this account he can never be justified by the law. But what is more, the law of God is so holy, so broad and high in its requirements, that no fallen man can ever attain to its full measure. Remember that we are now speaking of fallen man alone, in his relation to the law. Therefore, while the law is the expression of the righteousness of God, which men are commanded to seek, it is a fact that no man can get any righteousness out of it. His best efforts come short of the high standard which the law sets, and just to the extent that they fall short are they sinful. We may not say that the law condemns a man for his best deeds, but it is true that it condemns him for that which he fails to do even with his best efforts. And so it is a fact that the best efforts that any unaided human being can put forth to attain to the righteousness of the law, will really result in adding to his condemnation, as they add to the sum of his failures.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.3

    Who, then, can be saved? A vast multitude which no man can number. But how will they attain the necessary righteousness, since the law, which is the expression of God’s righteousness, will not impart any to them? The problem is solved in the next few verses of the third chapter of Romans, a consideration of which must be deferred till the next article.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.4

    “Throughout Their Generations” The Signs of the Times, 16, 34.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We are told that God never intended that Gentiles should have anything to do with the Sabbath; that it was made only for the Jews. This text is quoted: “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:16, 17.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.5

    Well, one thing is certainly proved by this text, and that is that it is right for Israelites to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. The words “throughout their generations,” “perptual,” and “forever” show that so long as there are generations of Israelites, they must observe the Sabbath. We pass by for the present the statement that “Gentile Christians” are not under obligation to keep the seventh day. Be that as it may, it is certain that Jews are in duty bound by the unalterable command of God to keep the seventh day.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.6

    But here we are reminded that the promises of God are all to Israel. See Romans 9:4. Those who are “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” have no hope, and are “without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12. It is Israel that is to be “saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.” Isaiah 45:17. And not only a part, but “all Israel shall be saved.” Romans 11:26. True, may who are Gentiles will be saved, but it will not be as Gentiles; they must be grafted into the stock of Israel. To be a Jew indeed is to be one who has praise of God. Romans 2:29. So desirable is the position, that even many who are of this “synagogue of Satan” will falsely claim to be Jews. Revelation 3:9. It is with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that the redeemed from all nations are to sit down in the kingdom of God, and they will do so as children of Abraham. See Matthew 8:11; Galatians 3:20.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.7

    Now since Christians are those who are Christ’s, and all who are Christ’s are Abraham’s seed, it follows that all Christians are Israelites, for the promise to Abraham was through Isaac and Jacob. And since the children of Israel are commanded to keep the Sabbath “throughout their generations,” it follows that the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath is especially enjoined on Christians. And since Israel is to be saved with an everlasting salvation, it follows that their generations are to continue throughout eternity; and so “it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 66:23.SITI September 1, 1890, page 467.8

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