THE SABBATH AND THE LAW
OF WHAT is the Sabbath commandment a part of?
The law of God. (See Exodus 20:8-11.)
What was foretold of Christ's attitude toward the law?
"He will magnify the law, and make it honourcible." Isaiah 42:21.
In His most famous sermon, what did Christ say of the law?
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17.
How enduring did He say the law is?
"Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Verse 18.
What did He say of those who should break one of the least of God's commandments, and teach men so to do?
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least command- ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." Verse 19.
NOTE.—From this it is evident that all ten commandments are binding in the Christian dispensation, and that Christ had no thought of changing any of them. (See readings on pages 367, 397.) One of these commands the ob- servance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. But most Christians keep the first day of the week instead.
"It is a remarkable and regrettable fact that while most Christians regard the decalogue as a whole as being of personal and perpetual obligation, so many should make the fourth commandment an exception. It is the most complete and comprehensive of them all, and, unlike the rest, is expressed both positively and negatively."—W. C. PROCTER in Moody Bible Institute Monthly, December, 1933, p. 160
Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose. The responsibility for this ckange must therefore be looked for elsewhere.
Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath base it only on a sup- position:
"Jesus, after his resurrection, changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week; thus showing his authority as Lord even of the Sab- bath. . . .
AS GIVEN BY JEHOVAH
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 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 hal- lowed it.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet thy neigh- bour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man- servant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's. (Ex. 20:3-17.)
AS CHANGED BY MAN
I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neigh- bor's wife.
Thou shalt not covet thy neigh. bor's goods.
(PETER GEIERMANN, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine [1946 ed.], PP. 37, 38.)
"When Jesus gave instructions for this change we are not told, but very likely during the time when he spake to his apostles of the things pertaining to his kingdom. Acts i, 3. This is probably one of the many unrecorded things which Jesus did. John xx, 30; xxi, 25."—Amos BINNEY AND DANIEL STEELE (Methodist), Binney's Theological Compend Improved, p. 171.
BIBLE PREDICTS ATTEMPTED CHANGE
What did God, through the prophet Daniel, say the power represented by the "little horn" would think to do?
"And he shall speak words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High: and he shall think to change the times and the law." Daniel 7:25, R.V.
NOTE.—For an explanation of this symbolism, see reading on page 214.
What did the apostle Paul say the "man of sin" would do?
"For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped." 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
NOTE.—There is only one way by which any power could exalt itself above God, and that is by assuming to change the law of God, and to require obedience to its own law instead of God's law.
PAPAL POWER ACKNOWLEDGES THIS ACT
What power has claimed authority to change God's law? The Papacy.
NoTE.—"The pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws. . . . The pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth."—Translated from Lucius FERRARIS, Prompta Bibliotheca (Ready Library), "Papa," art. 2.
What part of the law of God has the Papacy thought to change? The fourth commandment.
NOTE.—"They [the Catholics] allege the change of the Sabbath into the Lord's day, contrary, as it seemeth, to the Decalogue; and they have no ex- ample more in their mouths than the change of the Sabbath. They will needs have the Church's power to be very great, because it hath dispensed with a precept of the Decalogue."—The Augsburg Confession (Lutheran), part 2, art. 7, in PHILIP SCHAFF, The Creeds of Christendom (Scribners, 4th ed.), vol. 3, p. 64. "It [the Roman Catholic Church] reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God's word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday."—N. SUMMERBELL, History of the Christian Church (1873), p. 415.
Why did God command Israel to hallow the Sabbath?
"And hallow My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezekiel 20:20.
NOTE.—As the Sabbath was given that man might keep God in mind as Creator, it can be readily seen that a power endeavoring to exalt itself above God could do this in no other way so effectually as by setting aside God's memorial—the seventh-day Sabbath. To this work of the Papacy Daniel had reference when he said, "And he shall . . . think to change times and laws." Daniel 7:25.
Does the Papacy acknowledge changing the Sabbath? It does.
NOTE.—"The Catechismus Romanus was commanded by the Council of Trent and published by the Vatican Press, by order of Pope Pius V, in 1566. This catechism for priests says: 'It pleased the church of God, that the re- ligious celebration of the Sabbath day should be transferred to "the Lord's day." '—Catechism of the Council of Trent" (Donovan's translation 1867), part 3, chap. 4, p. 345. The same, in slightly different wording, is in the Mc- Hugh and Callan translation (1937 ed.), p. 402. "
Ques.—How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?
"Ans.—By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protes- tants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church."—HENRY TURBERVILLE, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine (1833 approbation), p. 58. (Same statement in Manual of Christian Doctrine, ed. by Daniel Ferris [1916 ed.], p. 67.)
"Ques.—Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
"Ans.—Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her;—she could not have substituted the ob- servance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority."—STEPHEN KEENAN, A Doctrinal Catechism (3d ed.), p. 174. "The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."—The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Car- dinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
"1. Is Saturday the 7th day according to the Bible & the 10 Commandments. "I answer yes. "2. Is Sunday the first day of the week & did the Church change the 7th day—Saturday—for Sunday, the 1st. day:
"I answer yes.
"3. Did Christ change the day
"I answer no! Faithfully yours, "J. Card. Gibbons" —Gibbons' Autograph letter.
"Ques.—Which is the Sabbath day?
"Ans.—Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Ques.—Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"Ans.—We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."—PETER GEIER- MANN, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1946 ed.), p. 50. Geier- mann received the "apostolic blessing" of Pope Pius X on his labors, Jan. 25, 1910.
Do Catholic authorities acknowledge that there is no com- mand in the Bible for the sanctification of Sunday?
NOTE.—"You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify." —JAMES CARDINAL GIBBONS, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72, 73.
"Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday. The fact is that the Church was in existence for several centuries before the Bible was given to the world. The Church made the Bible, the Bible did not make the Church.
"Now the Church . . . instituted, by God's authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday."—MARTIN J. SCOTT, Things Catholics Are Asked About (1927 ed.), p. 136.
"If we consulted the Bible only, we should still have to keep holy the Sabbath Day, that is, Saturday."—JOHN LAUX, A Course in Religion for Cath- olic High Schools and Academies, vol. 1 (1936 ed.), p. 51. Quoted by per- mission of Benziger Brothers, Inc., proprietors of the copyright.
"Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has ex- plicitly substituted the Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days, she would deem suit- able as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days, as holy days."—VINCENT J. KELLY (Catholic), Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations (1943 ed.), p. 2.
PROTESTANTS AGREE No BIBLE COMMAND
Do Protestant writers acknowledge the same? They do.
NOTE.—"The Lord's day was merely of ecclesiastical institution. It was not introduced by virtue of the fourth commandment."—JEREMY TAYLOR (Church of England), Ductor Dubitantium, part 1, book 2, chap. 2, rule 6, secs. 51, 59 (1850 ed.), vol. 9, pp. 458, 464.
"The Lord's Day is not sanctified by any specific command or by any in- evitable inference. In all the New Testament there is no hint or suggestion of a legal obligation binding any man, whether saint or sinner, to observe the Day. Its sanctity arises only out of what it means to the true believer."—J. J. TAYLOR (Baptist), The Sabbatic Question, p. 72.
"Because it was requisite to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the [Christian] Church did for that purpose appoint the Lord's day."—Augsburg Confession, part 2, art. 7, in PHILIP SCHAFF, The Creeds of Christendom (Scribners, 4th ed.), vol. 3, p. 69.
For additional testimonies, see reading on pages 448, 449. "And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere com- manded to keep the first day. . . . The reasons why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church, has enjoined it."—IsnAc WILLIAMS (Anglican), Plain Sermons on the Catechism, vol. 1, pp. 334, 336.
A GRADUAL CHANGE
How did this change in observance of days come about?
Through a gradual transference.
NOTE.—"The Christian Church made no formal, but a gradual and almost unconscious, transference of the one day to the other."—F. W. Farrar, The Voice From Sinai, p. 167. This of itself is evidence that there was no divine command for the change of the Sabbath.
For how long a time was the seventh-day Sabbath observed in the Christian church?
For many centuries. In fact, its observance has never wholly ceased in the Christian church.
NOTE.—Mr. Morer, a learned clergyman of the Church of England, says: "The Primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the Day in Devotion and Sermons. And 'tis not to be doubted but they derived this Practice from the Apostles themselves."—A Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and Observation of the Lord's Day, p. 189.
"A history of the problem shows that in some places, it was really only after some centuries that the Sabbath rest really was entirely abolished, and by that time the practice of observing a bodily rest on the Sunday had taken its place." —VINCENT J. KELLY, Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, p. 15.
Lyman Coleman says: "Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church, but with a rigor and a solemnity gradually diminishing until it was wholly discontinued."— Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap. 26, sec. 2.
The church historian Socrates, who wrote in the fifth century, says: "Al- most all the churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this."—Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap. 22, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d Series, vol. 2, p. 32.
Sozomen, another historian of the same period, writes: "The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria."—Ecclesia;tical History, book 7, chap. 19, in the same volume as the above quotation.
All this would have been inconceivable had there been a divine command given for the change of the Sabbath. The last two quotations also show that Rome led in the apostasy and in the change of the Sabbath.
How did Sunday observance originate?
As a voluntary celebration of the resurrection, a custom without pretense of divine authority.
NOTE.—"Opposition to Judaism introduced the particular festival of Sun- day very early, indeed, into the place of the Sabbath. . . . The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command, in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday. Perhaps, at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered labouring on Sunday as a sin."—AuGusTus NEANDER, The History of the Christian Religion and Church, Rose's transla- tion, p. 186.
" The observance of the Sunday was at first supplemental to that of the Sabbath, but in proportion as the gulf between the Church and the Synagogue widened, the Sabbath became less and less important and ended at length in being entirely neglected.' "—L. DUCHESNE, Christian Worship: Its Origin and Evolution (tr. from the 4th French ed. by M. L. McClure, London, 1910), p. 47.
Who first enjoined Sundaykeeping by law?
Constantine the Great.
NOTE.—"(1) That the Sunday was in the beginning not looked on as a day of bodily repose; nor was an analogy drawn between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday, except as days of worship. . . .
"(3) The keeping of the Sunday rest arose from the custom of the people and the constitution of the Church.. . .
"(5) Ter tullian was probably the first to refer to a cessation of worldly affairs on the Sunday; the Council of Laodicea issued the first conciliar legis- lation for that day; Constantine I issued the first civil legislation; St. Martin of Braga was probably the first to use the term 'servile work' in its present theological sense."—VINCENT J. KELLY, Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, p. 203.
"The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerabili die soils), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor." —Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., art. "Sunday." (See page 481.)
"On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, personsengaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; be- cause it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time.)"—Codex fustinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the Christian Church, by Philip Schaff, D. D. (Scribners, 1902 ed.), vol. 3, p. 380.
This edict, issued by Constantine, who first opened the way for the union of church and state in the Roman Empire, in a manner supplied the lack of a divine command for Sunday observance. It was one of the important steps in bringing about and establishing the change of the Sabbath.
What testimony does Eusebius bear on this subject?
"All things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we [the church] have transferred to the Lord's day."—Com- mentary on the Psalms, in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 23, col. 1171.
NoTE.—The change of the Sabbath was the result of the combined efforts of church and state, and it took centuries to accomplish it. Eusebius of Caesarea (270-338) was a noted bishop of the church, biographer and flatterer of Con- stantine, and the reputed father of ecclesiastical history.
By what church council was the observance of the seventh day forbidden, and Sunday observance enjoined?
The Council of Laodicea, in Asia Minor, fourth century.
NOTE.—Canon 29 reads: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [sabbato, the Sabbath], but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out [anathema] from Christ."—CHARLES JOSEPH HEFELE, A History of the Councils of the Church, vol. 2 (1896 English ed.), p. 316.
The Puritan William Prynne said (1655) that "the Council of Laodicea . . . first set[t]led the observation of the Lords-day, and prohibited . . . the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath under an Anathema."—A Briefe Polemicall Dissertation Concerning . . . the Lordsday-Sabbath, p. 44. Also Geiermann's Catholic catechism says that "the Catholic church, in the Council of Laodicea," made the change. (See page 436.)
What was done at the Council of Laodicea was but one of the steps by which the change of the Sabbath was effected. It was looked back upon as the first church council to forbid Sabbath observance and enjoin Sunday rest as far as possible, but it was not so strict as later decrees. Different writers give conflicting dates for this council of Laodicea. The exact date is unknown, but may be placed "generally somewhere between the years 343 and 381." (Hefele, vol. 2, p. 298.)
What do Catholics say of Protestant Sundaykeepers?
They are obeying the authority of the Catholic Church.
NOTE.—"For ages all Christian nations looked to the Catholic Church, and, as we have seen, the various states enforced by law her ordinances as to worship and cessation of Labor on Sunday. Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the church, has no good reason for its Sunday theory, and ought logically, to keep Saturday as the Sabbath."
"The State, in passing laws for the due Sanctification of Sunday, is unwit- tingly acknowledging the authority of the Catholic Church, and carrying out more or less faithfully its prescriptions.
"The Sunday, as a day of the week set apart for the obligatory public worship of Almighty God, to be sanctified by a suspension of all servile labor, trade, and worldly avocations and by exercises of devotion, is purely a creation of the Catholic Church."—The American Catholic Quarterly Review, January, 1883, pp. 152, 139.
"If protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church."—ALBERT SMITH, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, reply- ing for the Cardinal in a letter of Feb. 10, 1920. (See also the quotation from Monsignor Segur on page 444.)
CHOICE OF SERVICE AND WORSHIP
What determines whose servants we are?
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?" Romans 6:16.
When asked to bow to Satan, how did Christ reply?
"It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy. God, and Him only shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:10, 11.
What kind of worship does the Saviour call that which is not according to God's commandments?
"But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9.
What appeal did Elijah make to apostate Israel?
"How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him." I Kings 18:21.
NOTE.—In times of ignorance God winks at that which otherwise would be sin; but when light comes He commands men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30.) The period during which the saints, times, and the law of God were to be in the hands of the Papacy has expired (Daniel 7:25); the true light on the Sabbath question is now shining; and God is sending a message to the world, calling upon men to fear and worship Him, and to return to the ob- servance of His holy rest day, the seventh-day Sabbath. (Revelation 14:6-12; Isaiah 56:1; 58:1, 12-14.) (See pages 255, 441, 457, 536.)