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                                    THE SABBATH AND THE CROSS

                        WHAT day immediately precedes the first day of the week?

                                "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week." Matthew 28:1.

                             NOTE.—According to the New Testament, therefore, the Sabbath had passed when the first day of the week began.

After the crucifixion, what day was kept by the women who followed Jesus?

"They returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." Luke 23:56.

When is the Sabbath, "according to the commandment"?

"But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God." Exodus 20:10.

JESUS AND THE SABBATH

What was Christ's custom respecting the Sabbath?

"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.

In what instruction to His disciples did Christ recognize the existence of the Sabbath long after His ascension?

"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day." Matthew 24:20.

    NOTE.—The flight of the Christians took place late in October, A.D. 66, three and one-half years before the fall of Jerusalem. <See page 309.) For Jesus' attitude toward the Sabbath, see the preceding reading.

PAUL AND THE SABBATH

On what day did Paul and Barnabas preach at Antioch?

"They came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day." Acts 13:14.

When did the Gentiles ask Paul to repeat his sermon?

"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath." Verse 42.

On what day did Paul preach to the women at Philippi?

"And on the sabbath we went out of the city 'by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither." Acts 16:13.

What was Paul's manner respecting the Sabbath?

"They came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures." Acts 17:1, 2.

    NOTE.—It was Paul's manner, as it was Christ's custom (Luke 4:16), to attend religious services on the Sabbath.

How did the apostle spend the working days of the week when at Corinth, and what did he do on the Sabbath?

"Because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. (See Ezekiel 46:1.) "And he reasoned in the synagogue every sab- bath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." Verse 4.

    NOTE.—"He continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." Verse 11.

These texts do not definitely prove that the apostle held seventy-eight Sab- bath meetings in Corinth, but they show conclusively that it was his custom to observe that day by devoting it to religious purposes. The careful student will note that his reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath applies only to the comparatively brief time during which he was permitted the use of the syna- gogue. But the history of the apostle's work in the book of Acts fully warrants us in believing that wherever he was, Paul utilized to the full every opportunity to pursue his gospel work on the Sabbath. The same is true, not only of the apostles, but of most Christians during the first three centuries.

JOHN AND THE LORD'S DAY

On what day was John in the Spirit?

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." Revelation 1:10.

Who is Lord of the Sabbath?

"The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." Mark 2:28.

What, through Isaiah, does the Lord call the Sabbath?

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day." Isaiah 58:13.

Why does the Lord call the Sabbath His day?

"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 20:11.

Through whom did God create the world?

"God . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, . . . by whom also He made the worlds." Hebrews 1:1, 2.

    NOTE.—The Bible recognizes but one weekly Sabbath—the day upon which God rested in the beginning; which was made known to Israel at Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13, 14); was observed by Christ and His apostles; and is to be kept by the redeemed in the new earth. (Isaiah 66:22, 23.)

The terms Sabbath, Sabbaths, and Sabbath days occur sixty times in the New Testament, and in every case but one refer to the seventh day. In Colos- sians 2:16, 17, reference is made to the annual sabbaths connected with the three annual feasts observed by Israel before the first coming of Christ.

"The sacred name of the seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to require argument. The truth is stated in concise terms: The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.' This utterance is repeated in Exodus 16:26, 23:12, 31:15, 35:2. Leviticus 23:3, and Deuteronomy 5:14. On this point the plain teaching of the word has been admitted in all ages. Except to certain special sabbaths appOinted in Levitical law, and these invariably governed by the month rather than the week, the Bible in all its utterances never, no, not once, applies the name Sabbath to any other day."—J. J. TAYLOR, The Sabbatic Question (Revell), pp. 16, 17.

The first day of the week is mentioned but eight times in the New Testa- ment, six of which are found in the four Gospels, and refer to the day on which Christ arose from the dead. (See Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19.) The other two (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2) refer to the only religious meeting held on the first day of the week after the ascension, in apostolic times, recorded in the New Testament, and to a systematic ac- counting and laying by in store at home on that day for the poor saints in Judea and Jerusalem.

It is evident, therefore, that the Sabbath of the New Testament is the same as the Sabbath of the Old Testament, and that there is nothing in the New Testament setting aside the seventh-day Sabbath, and putting the first day of the week in its place.

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