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    September 22, 1881

    “A Definite Sabbath” The Signs of the Times, 7, 36.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the article concerning the Sabbath, which was noticed last week, in which the ground was taken that it is of no particular importance which day of the week is observed as the Sabbath, the following passage occurs: “Doubtless all would prefer the regular hebdomadal successor of the original, if there was no doubt as to which was the original.” Although the theory that the Sabbath has been lost is by no means a new one, it is sometimes interesting to note the reasons which different ones give for their expressed belief that it has been lost.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.1

    The writer starts out with the statement that “under the Mosaic dispensation, our Saturday, the seventh day of the week, was observed as the Sabbath day.” He goes on further to say that there is no doubt that “the Sabbath was ordained and observed, together with the law of marriage, in Paradise, and that both these statutes survived the fall, and were observed by the sons of God.”SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.2

    Having admitted these facts it would not seem that there could be much doubt as to the identity of the Sabbath, for the Mosaic dispensation brings us down to the time of Christ. If the seventh day was observed in Paradise, was kept by the patriarchs, and was the recognized Sabbath under all the Mosaic dispensation, all the time that has been lost must be in the Christian era, the possibility of which will be duly considered.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.3

    But our friend is evidently bound to be in doubt as to which was the original seventh day, although he has stated facts which clearly prove that there can be no doubt. He says:-SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.4

    “After the flood Noah may have begun a series of Sabbaths quite irrespective of the regular day according to the customs before the flood, for we find him upon his coming out of the ark, sacrificing to God. It is not likely that he moved out of the ark upon the then ordained Sabbath, but it is probable that he observed every seventh day after this worship-day-the eventful day of beginning life anew upon the earth-as his Sabbath to the Lord.”SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.5

    This is at best only a feeble supposition that the day was lost; but since there are many with whom a supposition against the Sabbath is of more force than a command in favor of it, we will see if this one has any foundation. The fact that Noah sacrificed to God, shows that he was in communication with him, and is therefore evidence that he did not forget God’s commandments. Can we suppose that the man who, in the wicked generation before the flood walked with God, should forget him immediately after his miraculous deliverance? Our friend has admitted that the seventh day was the God-ordained Sabbath in Paradise, and through the Mosaic dispensation. And the wise man says: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9. The fact, therefore, that God accepted Noah’s sacrifice, proves conclusively that in no respect had Noah willfully neglected to keep God’s law.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.6

    The mistake which our friend makes is in supposing that sacrifices were offered only on the Sabbath, or on the day which was observed as such. In the 29th chapter of Exodus, where the directions are given for consecrating the priests and the altar, we read the following: “And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement.” Verse 36. Again in the 38th verse: “Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.” Again in Leviticus 4, we read the directions for sin offerings. When a person had committed a sin through ignorance, “if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge, then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats,” etc. Thus we see that although special provision was made for sacrifices on the Sabbath, sacrifices were not limited to that day.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.7

    But to make assurance doubly sure, our friend has the Sabbath changed once more, at the time of the exodus from Egypt. Referring to the supposition that Noah lost the day, he says:-SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.8

    “Though this is not surely known, yet it is true, and well known, that the Jewish Sabbath was fixed upon the day before the rest-day of the patriarchs and the gentile nations; and that it was so fixed, not because it was, or was not, the regular seventh day from the original Sabbath, but simply to commemorate the redemption of Israel from Egypt.”SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.9

    It would have been more satisfactory if he had given his authority for the statement that the Sabbath was changed at that time. To be sure he cites another individual who says the same thing, but how either of them found it out remains a mystery. The Bible gives no hint of it. On the contrary, when the law was given on Sinai, only a short time after the Israelites left Egypt, they were plainly told that the Sabbath which they were to remember was the one which was sanctified in Eden. That should be allowed to settle all controversy.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.10

    But right here we notice a curious inconsistency in the statements of our friend. He says that the Sabbath which God gave to the Jews, was fixed upon the day before the Sabbath which the patriarchs kept. The Jews, as all know, have adhered to the observance of that day until the present time. It was the seventh day of the week, the day before the day which is observed by Catholics and the majority of Protestants. He has stated that the Sabbath ordained in Paradise, and kept throughout the Mosaic dispensation, was the seventh day of the week (our Saturday), a fact which we fully believe. Now if this be true, how could the Jews keep the day previous to this, and also keep the seventh day? Were there two seventh days in close succession? There is something very curious about the Sunday. Notwithstanding the numerous changes which are alleged to have been made, and the great amount of time which we hear has been lost beyond the possibility of recovery, this wonderful day preserves the identity, and ever comes to the front as the true Sabbath beyond a doubt. Its vitality is marvelous.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.11

    Besides the cases already noticed, it is claimed that the Sabbath was lost at the time of the Babylonish captivity. But when we remember that this calamity was brought upon the Jews as a direct punishment for their violation of the Sabbath, and that in consequence of this terrible lesson, they observed the Sabbath with unusual strictness from that time until the time of Christ, any one can readily see that such a thing as a loss of the Sabbath was impossible.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.12

    To complete the evidence that the Sabbath observed by the Jews, and by some Christians, is the original seventh day which God sanctified at Creation, we have only to consider the period of time since Christ’s ministry on earth. At that time the Jews were keeping the day for they violation of which they had been severely punished. It certainly was the Sabbath, or there would have been no justice in their punishment. Christ himself recognized it, and kept it. Matthew 24:20; Luke 4:16. Even allowing that the day had been lost centuries before, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt that the original Sabbath was known and kept at this time. Since then, the Jews, who have constantly adhered to the observance of the same day, have been scattered among all nations, but there is a remarkable unanimity among them as to which day is the seventh day. If the Sabbath had been lost, there would be a disagreement among them. Again, all Catholics and Protestants agree with the Jews in their reckoning, for they unite in the observance of the first day, the day following the seventh day, and urge as one reason for doing so that our Lord rose from the dead on that day. This shows that they do not believe that any time has been lost. They would not commemorate Christ’s resurrection on that day, if they did not believe that he rose on that identical day.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.13

    We have now examined the indefinite theory of an indefinite Sabbath, very briefly, it is true, but still to greater length than its real merits deserve. It remains only to notice in what position those persons place themselves, who argue that the Sabbath of God’s appointment has been lost. God rested upon and blessed the seventh day in the beginning, and sanctified it, and he commanded Adam, and through him, all his posterity, to keep it holy. Genesis 2:2, 3. He afterwards repeated the commandment on Mt. Sinai, and by his prophets frequently enjoined it upon all people. The law of which this commandment is a part, is declared to be the standard by which God judges men; those who keep it shall have eternal life, and those who violate it will have death everlasting. Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; James 2:12; Matthew 19:16, 17; Isaiah 48:18; Deuteronomy 7:9-15; Romans 6:23; Revelation 22:14. Moreover, he has stated that he changes not. Malachi 3:6, and has repeatedly stated in his word that these commandments by which men are to be judged, are to endure forever. Psalm 119:89, 142, 144, 152, 169; Isaiah 40:8; 51:6-8; Matthew 5:17-19. Now those who allow that there is even a possibility of enlightened people losing the Sabbath, thus making it impossible for them to keep the law, impeach God’s justice. They virtually say that God will punish men for violating his commandments when he has put it out of their power to keep them.SITI September 22, 1881, page 427.14

    It is very easy for a person to convince himself that he has a good excuse for disobeying God’s law, but we have no reason to suppose that God will accept man’s opinion as the standard of the Judgment. The very fact that people offer excuses for not keeping the Sabbath is no proof that in their hearts they believe that the Sabbath law is still binding. If it were not, there would be no need of an excuse.SITI September 22, 1881, page 428.1

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