21. Summary of Facts About the Sabbath
IN this chapter we give a brief summary of the facts concerning the seventh-day Sabbath as presented in this treatise.
1. The great God closed his six days of labor in creating the world, by resting on the seventh day of the first week of time, and thus laid the foundation of the Sabbath institution.
2. The seventh day of the week thus became God’s rest day, i.e., Sabbath day, Sabbath meaning rest. One day of the week is therefore God’s rest day, because he rested upon it, and no other can become such until his act of resting is repeated upon some other day. This no one claims has ever occurred.
3. There are therefore in each week, as the prophet says (Ezekiel 46:1), “six working days,” and one rest or “Sabbath day,” and that is the seventh day of the week.
4. That original “rest-day” of Jehovah, God himself blessed, because that in it he had rested. Genesis 2:3. Thus it became a better day than the other days; for what God blesses is made better by that act. Therefore all days are not alike.
5. God also, at the very time when he blessed the seventh day, “sanctified it,” i.e., “appointed it to a holy or sacred use,” for human beings to use as a Sabbath. Genesis 2:3. In no other way could this have been done except by informing Adam and Eve, the only living persons, of their duty thus to observe it. Thus the Sabbath was made for man at the beginning of human history, at the creation of the world.
6. The only origin of the weekly cycle is the appointment of the Sabbath. And as this cycle has been known to all ages, the existence of the Sabbath in the earliest times is demonstrated. Genesis 7:4; 8:10, 12; 29:27.
7. The seventh-day Sabbath is not Jewish, because it originated more than two thousand years before there was a Jew. The word Jew is derived from the name Judah, one of the sons of Jacob.
8. We have given the clearest evidences from heathen historians of the existence and knowledge of the Sabbath among other ancient nations not descended from Abraham; and tablets dug up in ancient cities and a variety of other authorities clearly prove that it was not derived from the Jewish people.
9. As the Sabbath originated thousands of years before there was a Jew, and was committed to the ancestors of a multitude of other nations besides the one Jewish nation, even before they received it; therefore it would be more fitting to call it the Gentile Sabbath than the Jewish.
10. Inasmuch as God’s rest implies the completion of his work of creation, and since he appeals to the fact that he created all things in six days and rested on the seventh as the great reason why he commands all men to observe the Sabbath, therefore we must conclude that the seventh-day Sabbath is God’s great memorial of his work as creator.
11. All Gentiles owe their existence to God’s act of creating, as much as do the Jews; hence, primarily, they are Just as much under obligation to observe the memorial of creation as the Jews are.
12. The reason why God placed this great memorial in the hands of Abraham’s seed for a period of time is the same precisely that led him to place his law in their keeping, to give himself to them as the God of Israel, to allow his word to be written by them, and then brought the Savior himself through that nation, viz., because all the world except the nation of the Jews had rebelled against him and gone into idolatry. None of these particulars are Jewish in character; all the world is interested in them.
13. As positive proof that the Sabbath did not owe its existence to the proclamation of the law from Sinai, but that God already had a law of which the Sabbath was a part, we cite the account in Exodus 16, where “he proved then whether they would walk in his law or no,” more than thirty days before he spoke his law to the people. Exodus 16:4, 22-24.
14. The miraculous falling of the manna on the “six working days,” with a double portion on the sixth day of the week, while none fell on the seventh, and its preservation on the Sabbath, while it became corrupt if left over on other days, continued for forty years, thus attesting by more than six thousand miracles in the aggregate, which day God regarded as the rest-day of his people. It forever annihilates the seventh-part-of-time theory, and demonstrates beyond the peradventure of a doubt that God has one particular day of the seven which he desires his people to keep holy.
15. In the most solemn, impressive manner, God proclaimed his law on Mount Sinai, wrote it with his own finger on the imperishable tablets of stone; and in the very midst of the nine moral precepts, which all admit are immutable and of universal obligation, he placed the seventh-day Sabbath, and commanded men to remember it to keep it holy, thus showing it was like the other commandments in character and moral obligation, or it would have been placed with the ceremonial precepts.
16. In the fourth commandment no reasonable ground is given from which to claim that it is merely one day in seven and no day in particular which God requires to be kept holy; but it is the day of God’s rest which he commands us to observe. This is as definite as one’s birthday or Independence Day, as God rested only on the seventh day of the weekly cycle. Therefore it is utterly impossible to cover the first day of the week with the mantle of that command which requires men to observe the seventh day.
17. All the reasons given in the commandment for the observance of the Sabbath are such as apply to the Gentiles just as much as to the Jews. One needs rest as much as the other; both need to keep in mind the true God; both need a day of worship; both owe their existence to creation; therefore both should keep its memorial.
18. As the Sabbath is a memorial of the creation, the observance of it by any person is a “sign” that such a one is a worshiper of the true God, the Creator. It ever distinguishes him from idolaters. Had men always observed it, it would have preserved the race from idolatry. Hence the Sabbath is a “sign,” or token, between God and his people. Exodus 31:13-17; Ezekiel 20:20.
19. The fact that God promised the Jews that their city should stand forever if they would always observe the Sabbath (Jeremiah 17:24, 25), and then, because they did not keep it, he destroyed their city, and sent them into captivity (Nehemiah 13:18; Exodus 20:13), strongly attests his high regards for it.
20. By the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, in a prophecy referring wholly to the Christian dispensation, God pronounced a great blessing upon all the Gentiles Who should keep the Lord’s Sabbath holy (Isaiah 56:6), thus clearly proving that it was not a Jewish institution, confined to that nation alone.
21. Our Savior, when lie came, kept the Sabbath, with the rest of his Father’s commandments. John 15:10. It was his “custom” to use it as a day of religious meetings in which to preach the gospel to the people. Luke 4:16. He stripped off the burdensome traditions the Jews had placed around it and restored it to its proper position as a day of rest and refreshment, a blessing to mankind. And he declared himself to be its Lord, its protector (Mark 2:28), and that it was made for the race of man.
22. Christ had the right to call himself the special guardian of the Sabbath, inasmuch as lie was the one who created the world (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and so was a partner in the rest upon the first seventh day in the first week of time, and thus helped to make the Sabbath. Hence we see why the seventh-day Sabbath is truly the Lord Jesus Christ’s day, in a sense that no other day can be.
23. Christ also taught the present, future, and eternal obligation of all the commandments of the moral law, of which the Sabbath command is a part, solemnly declaring that not a letter or a point of a letter should pass from the law till heaven and earth pass away, and that whosoever should break one of the least of these commandments should forfeit heaven by so doing, thus enforcing the authority of the Sabbath in the most forcible manner possible. Matthew 5:17-19.
24. Our Savior not only imitated his Father in resting himself on the Sabbath during his earthly life, but showed his solicitude that his disciples should observe it after his death, even in times of great national calamities, by teaching them to pray continually for forty years that the time of their flight from Jerusalem, just before its destruction, should not occur on the Sabbath day. Matthew 24:20.
25. After our Savior’s death, the disciples, faithful to his example and instructions, continued to treat the Sabbath as sacred time. The holy women would not even anoint his body on that day, but “rested upon the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56), and came upon the first day of the week to do that which they would not do upon the seventh.
26. For some thirty years after Christ’s death we have an inspired history of the apostolic church, in which we learn of the exceeding bitterness and hatred of the Jews against the disciples, making them take every possible occasion to persecute and destroy them. But in not a single instance is there the slightest hint that they ever found them breaking the Sabbath. This negative argument affords the strongest proof that the disciples continued to observe that day as they always had.
27. But in addition to this we have the positive statement of Scripture that it was Paul’s “manner” to use the day for religious worship. Acts 17:2. This is evident when we consider that Inspiration gives an account of some eighty four different Sabbaths in which these religious services were held. Acts 16:13; 17:2; 18:4, 11; 13:14, 44. The last one of these was a distinctively Gentile meeting, held by the special invitation of the Gentiles of Antioch, a service which nearly the whole population of the city attended.
28. Not only was it the practice of the apostolic church to observe the seventh-day Sabbath, and hold religious services on that day, but the Holy Spirit has settled the question forever as to which day of the week in the Christian dispensation is entitled to the sacred name of “the Sabbath day,” by calling that day the Sabbath after Christ’s resurrection which had been such for four thousand years before, and never calling any other day by that title.
29. Inasmuch as all the inspired writers of the New Testament, from St. Matthew, writing during the first decade after the resurrection, to St. John, who penned his Gospel at the very close of the first century of the Christian era, always call the seventh day the Sabbath when they have occasion to speak of it, and never give the first day of the week that title, it clearly demonstrates that they had never learned of any change during that time, or made any in their practice. For they surely would have called that day the Sabbath which they kept as such.
30. And in the case of St. Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, we have his explicit statement that he had “committed nothing against the people, or customs of the fathers.” Acts 28:17. Hence he must have kept the ancient Sabbath. For all agree that this was one of their customs; and as it is evident that he taught what he practiced himself, inasmuch as he commanded the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ, both he and Christ must have kept that day. Therefore Paul taught the Gentiles to observe the Sabbath. Thus the churches in Thessalonica, Gentile churches, followed the example of the Sabbath-keeping churches of Judea. I Thessalonians 2:14.
31. St. John, the last writer in the Bible, just at the close of the first century of the Christian dispensation, still recognized the existence of that Sabbath day of which Christ said that he was “Lord” (Revelation 1:10), thus demonstrating that all days are not alike, but that the Lord still has a day which he calls his own, just as much as lie had four thousand years before that time.
32. We have clearly proved from a variety of first-day historians that this same seventh-day Sabbath was still observed more or less sacredly by the mass of Gentile Christians for centuries after the death of Christ, until by the machinations of the Roman Catholic Church, it was treated with indignity and contempt. Finally, all who observed it were placed under a curse by the Catholic Council of Laodicea, A.D. 364.
33. We have also learned from history that the true Sabbath continued to be observed by Christians whom the Catholic Church could not control. It denounced them as heretics, and, persecuted and killed even those who were remote from its influence, during all the dark ages of papal supremacy.
34. We have also shown, that in the last great reform entered upon by God’s people just before Christ comes, God’s, ancient Sabbath, trampled upon for ages by the great apostasy which has thought to “change” God’s law, and which has exalted itself “above all that is called God,” in the very church or “temple of God,” shall once more stand forth in its pristine glory, and be observed by the people of God as the great memorial of his creative work.
35. Thus we see that the people whom Christ will translate at his coming, to reign with him in glory, will agree in practice concerning the seventh-day Sabbath with God the Father, Christ the Son, all the faithful patriarchs and prophets of ancient times, the apostles of the Lord Jesus, the early apostolic church, and all others who take the Bible for their authority and obey the Law of God.
36. And finally, the prophet Isaiah, in a glorious view of the new heavens and earth, after all rebellion, sin, and death shall be forever abolished, beholds all the children of God observing the original, ancient Sabbath of the great Jehovah, meeting together every time of its recurrence to worship him for whom that day is the great memorial. Isaiah 66:22, 23. How, then, can men believe that the day has lost its sacredness and importance?