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From Eternity Past

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    The True Sign of Loyalty to God—The Sabbath

    God's claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is based upon the fact that He is the Creator. Says the prophet Jeremiah: “The living God ... hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.” “Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.” Jeremiah 10:10-12, 14, 15. The Sabbath, as a memorial of God's creative power, points to Him as the maker of the heavens and the earth. It is a constant witness to His greatness, wisdom, and love. Had the Sabbath always been sacredly observed, there could never have been an atheist or an idolater.EP 234.3

    The Sabbath, which originated in Eden, is as old as the world itself. It was observed by all the patriarchs, from creation down. When the law was proclaimed at Sinai, the first words of the fourth commandment were, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” showing that the Sabbath was not then instituted. We are pointed back for its origin to creation. Satan aimed to tear down this great memorial. If men could be led to forget their Creator, they would make no effort to resist the power of evil, and Satan would be sure of his prey.EP 235.1

    Satan's enmity against God's law had impelled him to war against every precept of the Decalogue. Contempt for parental authority will soon lead to contempt for the authority of God, hence Satan's efforts to lessen the obligation of the fifth commandment. In many heathen nations parents were abandoned or put to death as soon as age had rendered them incapable of providing for themselves. The mother was treated with little respect, and, upon the death of her husband, was required to submit to the authority of her eldest son. Filial obedience was enjoined by Moses; but as the Israelites departed from the Lord, the fifth commandment, with others, came to be disregarded.EP 235.2

    Satan was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44); and as soon as he obtained power over the human race, he not only prompted them to hate and slay one another, but made the violation of the sixth commandment a part of their religion.EP 235.3

    Heathen nations were led to believe that human sacrifices were necessary to secure the favor of their deities; and the most horrible cruelties have been perpetrated under various forms of idolatry. Among these was the practice of causing their children to pass through the fire before their idols. When one came through unharmed, the people believed their offerings were accepted. The one thus delivered was regarded as specially favored by the gods, was loaded with benefits, and ever afterward held in high esteem. However aggravated his crimes, he was never punished. But should one be burned in passing through the fire, his fate was sealed; the anger of the gods could be appeased only by taking the life of the victim. In times of great apostasy these abominations prevailed, to some extent, among the Israelites.EP 235.4

    The violation of the seventh commandment also was early practiced in the name of religion. Licentious and abominable rites were made a part of the heathen worship. The gods themselves were impure, and their worshipers gave rein to the baser passions. Religious festivals were characterized by universal, open impurity.EP 236.1

    Polygamy was one of the sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world. Yet after the Flood it again became widespread. It was Satan's studied effort to pervert marriage, to weaken its obligations and lessen its sacredness. In no surer way could he deface the image of God in man and open the door to misery and vice.EP 236.2

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