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    January 18, 1883

    “The Sabbath-School” The Signs of the Times, 9, 3.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Notes on Sabbath-school Lesson for January 27.

    As the lesson for this week is a review of the whole book of Genesis, it is evident that only a few points can be touched upon. The great point to be kept in mind is the plan that runs through the whole history. This will be spoken of more fully hereafter. One thing that is worthy of mention in passing isSITI January 18, 1883, page 29.1

    THE DAYS OF CREATION WEEK

    Several years ago it was thought to be nothing less than rank heresy to deny that these days or any other than literal twenty-four-hour days. Now, however, he who ventures to intimate that they were literal days is looked upon as an ignoramus. Very recently we saw the statement in one of the leading religious journals, that no one whose opinion is worth anything believes the old theory. But for all this, we hold unflinchingly to the fact that the days were literal days. We believe that this is really a vital point, and not a mere matter of opinion. Once admit that these days were long periods, and the way is open for a disbelief in the entire Bible; for if this part of the Bible does not mean what it seems to mean, what warrant have we for thinking that any of the Bible means what it says?SITI January 18, 1883, page 29.2

    Suppose the days to have been equal to one thousand of our years. Now it is evident that the seventh day of the creation week was of the same nature as the other six. If not, then the case is worse than ever, for there is nothing said by which we can infer that there was any difference. But on the seventh day God rested, and afterwards, because of his rest, he blessed it, and set it apart for man’s observance. See Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 20:8-11. How absurd to command man to keep holy a day a thousand years long.SITI January 18, 1883, page 29.3

    It is sometimes urged in favor of the popular view, that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” Exactly so; God is not obliged to have just so much time in which to perform his acts. He could create the world in one day as well as in a thousand years. One would be no more wonderful than the other, for the simple act of creation itself is something that man cannot comprehend. The psalmist says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” “For he spake and it was (done); he commanded and it stood fast.” This describes the work of creation. God did not speak and set forces in motion that after the lapse of ages would result in the formation of our world; but at his word everything came into existence perfect and good.SITI January 18, 1883, page 29.4

    As has been said, the works of God are infinite. The mind of man can find ample scope in contemplating them. And it is proper, and pleasing to God, that we should think upon his works, for the psalmist says, “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.” “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered.” Psalm 111:2, 4. But if men were constantly engaged in their own affairs, their minds would not be out upon God and his work. In order, therefore, that man might have an uninterrupted period for meditation, God gave himSITI January 18, 1883, page 29.5

    THE SABBATH

    This institution was not an arbitrary unfair, given simply for God’s pleasure, that he might be remembered, but was given because men needed it. God can exist without us, but we cannot exist without God. The Sabbath was a necessity of man’s nature, therefore God made it for him. See Mark 2:27. But it is not for men to use as he may see fit. It is his to use to the glory of God, and only by so doing we can he get the benefit from it. All the commandments are for man. It is absolutely necessary to his happiness that he should refrain from murder, theft, etc. It is in this sense that the Sabbath was made for man. Only by keeping all of God’s commandments can men attain to the highest possible state of enjoyment both here and hereafter.SITI January 18, 1883, page 29.6

    It is not in the province of these brief notes to say anything about the perpetuity of the Sabbath. The natural conclusion of any unbiased person would be that the Sabbath is of perpetual obligation. If it was necessary for man six thousand years ago, it is necessary now. If there was danger of forgetting God then, there is a thousand-fold more danger now. And it is “The day of the Sabbath” that is to be kept. No other day but the seventh day can be the Sabbath, for upon no other day did God rest and pronounce a blessing, and no other day was sanctified. It is not true, then, that all days are alike, and that any day will do for a memorial. All days are not alike; for one day in the week has been blessed and sanctified, made holy and set apart from the rest. It is a poor excuse for anyone to say that he can see no difference. God expects us to make a difference between the holy and the profane. Read what he says about it, and the consequences of not doing so, in Ezekiel 22:26-31.SITI January 18, 1883, page 29.7

    THE RESURRECTION

    Not only is the resurrection taught in the New Testament, but it was understood centuries before that book was written. When Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his only son, the one in whose name, it had been said, his seed should be called, there was no natural probability that the promise could ever be fulfilled. But Abraham, like Paul, knew whom he had believed. The reason for his great faith is found in the fact that he knew that God possessed all power, and was able to raise Jesus from the dead. He had received his son by a miracle, and he knew that God was able to work another. The “friend of God” was not above believing in miracles. Perhaps if there were more nowadays who held that relation to God a belief in miracles would be more general. E. J. W.SITI January 18, 1883, page 29.8

    “The Resurrection” The Signs of the Times, 9, 3.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a Spiritualist lecture recently delivered in Oakland, by a distinguished “Professor,” the following statement is reported to have been made: “The word resurrection is not found in the Greek Testament.” This statement would doubtless be received by some with pleasure, as it would seem to show that our Bible is unreliable, and by others with surprise. It will no doubt have the effect over those who heard or read it, which the lecturer intended it should have-to weaken their faith in the inspired record.SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.1

    Now instead of denying this assertion, we are prepared to make another one still more astounding: The word “God” is nowhere found in the Greek Testament! Neither is any other English word found in the Greek Testament; if they were, it would be an English Testament instead of a Greek Testament. But the Greek word theos, meaning “God,” is found in the Greek Testament; and so also is the word anastasis, which means “a making to stand up,” “a restoration,” “awakening,” “resurrection;” and this “Professor” Phelps knew very well, providing he has any knowledge of the Greek, or of the New Testament, the latter of which, at least, we very much doubt.SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.2

    Right in this connection it is proper to mention a somewhat similar statement recently made by the Christian Union. A correspondent of that paper quoted a benediction which is sometimes used: “The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul and body unto everlasting life,” and asked, “If man’s body is mortal, from what is it preserved?” the reply was that this benediction “probably was connected with the old-time faith and the literal resurrection of the body; a faith which, in our judgment, is inconsistent with the teaching of the New Testament.”SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.3

    Turning our attention for a short time to the New Testament itself, we shall seek not only that the judgment of the Christian Union is at fault, but that the Greek Testament teaches the doctrine of the literal resurrection of the dead even more strongly than does the English version. A few texts will suffice to show this.SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.4

    In Luke 20:27-38 we have the record of the question which the Sadducees put to Christ, and his answer. Disbelieving the resurrection, and wishing to entangle Christ with their sophistry, they stated to him the hypothetical case of a woman who had married in succession seven brothers, each of whom had died, the death of the last one being followed by the death of the woman herself. The question was, “In the resurrection whose wife of them is she?” Now notice; the question had to do with people who were dead; but not those who were living under different conditions. The Sadducees believe that when men died they absolutely ceased to exist for ever. But the further clause of Christ’s answer recognized the fact that these dead ones shall live again. “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead,” etc.; literally, “The awakening of the dead ones.”SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.5

    Again, when Peter and John were preaching in the temple, “the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Acts 4:1, 2; literally, ‘the raising up or wakening of the dead.” Those priest and Sadduces have their counterparts among the religious teachers of to-day. They do not like to hear of a resurrection through Christ; that the eternal life can be obtained only through Christ. Professing great love and reverence for Christ, even to observing the day of his resurrection, they refuse to allow that he alone has the power which he gained by that resurrection. They are very zealous in honoring him in a way which he has not asked them to, but deny that which constitutes his badge of authority,-the ability to give to those who are dead. See John 5:25-29.SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.6

    Paul warned Timothy against profane and vain babblings, and cited as a specimen the words of Hymenaeus and Philetus, whose words, said he, “will eat as doth a canker.” The particular profane and vain babbling in their case was that they had erred concerning the truth, “saying that the resurrection is passed already.” If he used such language in reference to those who claimed that the resurrection was in the past, what would he have said of those who should claim that the doctrine of the resurrection is a myth, with no foundation in fact? And Paul, be it remembered, did not believe in the spiritual resurrection which should consist in taking something already alive, and pass it along to a higher sphere. He believed in a literal resurrection of the body; for he says: “For our conversation [citizenship] is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20, 21. Even David, who lived so long before the ninteenth century that his ideas are commonly supposed to have been very crude, seems to have had the same idea of the resurrection that Paul had, for he said, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.7

    At a future time we will consider other texts that teach a resurrection, and will note more particularly how in every instance they convey the idea that the dead are asleep and unconscious, by saying that they shall awake; and that they are in the earth beneath and not in the heaven above, by the use of the term “raising from the dead.” We know, however, that these plain texts will not have any weight with a large majority, for the lecturer truly said, “The literal of the Bible is not in harmony with the spirit of the present age.” This is about the only real truth which the lecture contained; and this was anticipated centuries ago by Paul, who said, “The natural man not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” E. J. W.SITI January 18, 1883, page 31.8

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