NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW CRISIS
14: The TWELVE Pillars
The Bible Sabbath hit the headlines in New York City not too long ago. The following article appeared in the New York Times on March 14, 1966. The title in bold type said this: "An earnest appeal to the pope of Rome to lead Christians back to the Bible."
Here is that news article:
"Dr. Earnest R. Palen, pastor of one of New York’s largest churches, the Marble Collegiate, for more than thirty years, created a stir that hit the headlines, when on March 13, 1966, he delivered a sermon in which he called for Protestants and Roman Catholics to join in returning to the Bible Sabbath that Jesus kept on Saturday.
"This Reformed Church (in America) theologian and pastor startled hearers by quoting from Exodus 20:8, and then saying, ‘It should not be too great a break for us . . to observe the same Sabbath day that Jesus Himself observed.’
"In this sermon, he pled for all the churches to return to the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath; and noting that mankind can only truly keep holy that day which the God of heaven has commanded to be kept holy, he said that this ‘one day of the week really kept holy by Catholics, Protestants, and Jews would give an uplift to the moral tone of our day that nothing else could do.’
"Dr. Palen, recognizing the well-known leadership of the pope in Sunday sanctification, asked that Pope Paul VI take the initiative in this matter. Dr. Palen predicted that if the pontiff would designate ‘the seventh day—the historical and Biblical Sabbath—as the day to keep holy,’ that most of the major Protestant bodies of our time would ‘go along.’ "—Article by George Dugan. "Christians Urged to Join Jews in Observing Saterday Sabbath," in New York Times, March 14, 1966.
And Dr. Palen is right. The Ten Commandments given by God, on Mount Sinai, is to be the great pattern for our lives. Through the grace of Jesus Christ we can be empowered to keep that holy law of God. The purpose of Christianity is to bring people back to God and enable them to obey Him.
The Bible Sabbath was given to us not only for healthful rest, but also as a test here in regard to our willingness to keep a Sabbath day because He has asked us to do so. But it is also a special test in another way: Will we be willing to observe it on the particular day of the week that He selected for this purpose?
At the creation of this world, centuries before there was a Jew, God gave the seventh-day Sabbath to all mankind. Later, on Mount Sinai, He wrote it down on tables of stone as the fourth of the Ten Commandments. Reading it, in Exodus 20:8-11, we see that we are not commanded to keep a sabbath but the seventh-day Sabbath. And we are told why: because the Sabbath is a memorial of the creation of this world. Thus, every week that we keep it, we acknowledge that He is the Creator of this world and the One whom alone we are to worship.
Fortunately, we can all know which day of the week is the seventh day, for the Jews have kept the Bible Sabbath for more than 3,500 years; and to them, as God’s commandment-keeping people in ancient times, were given the Ten Commandments and the seventh-day Sabbath.
Fifteen hundred years afterward, Jesus, while here on earth, faithfully kept the seventh-day Sabbath as an example for us. He kept it on the same day which the Jews of His time were keeping it—the same day of the week that their fathers and forefathers had been keeping it for 1,500 years.
In all the time that has elapsed from Christ’s time down to our own, the Jewish race has continued to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Thus we today can clearly identity the Sabbath of the fourth commandment: It falls on Saturday of each week—the Bible Sabbath, the seventh-day Sabbath, the only true Sabbath given by God anywhere in the Bible.
The Creator made this entire world on the first six days of Creation Week. We are told this in the first chapter in Scripture. It is only because He is the Creator that He is our God and should receive our worship. Keeping the Bible Sabbath shows that we believe that He created us. On the seventh day of that first week, God made the Sabbath and gave it to us as a rest day (Genesis 2:1-3), to be forever kept as a sign that He is our Creator (Exodus 31:17), our Redeemer (Ezekiel 20:12), and that we belong to Him (Ezekiel 20:20). He knew better than we how much we would need this weekly rest.
But, in the observance of that day there are always two tests: First, will we keep God’s Sabbath; and, second, will we keep it on the day of the week that He selected for us. How can we possibly keep His Sabbath if we do not keep it on the day of the week which He told us to keep it? We may ever so faithfully in keeping someone else’s "sabbath"; but, unless we keep His Sabbath on the day of the week He has specified, we are not keeping His!
Down through the centuries, many have not kept the Bible Sabbath, but some always have. Will you and I keep it today? Will we prove true to our God? Many do not know the truth about the true Sabbath, and God will take that into account. But you and I do know which day is the true Bible Sabbath. And we can be very thankful that we do.
Historians, scientists, and astronomers tell us that the weekly cycle has never been changed. The weekly cycle was given to us at the creation of this world (Genesis 2:1-3), and research scientists and historians confirm that it has continued down through the centuries without being changed or altered. Scientific statements and evidence for this is detailed tn our book, Beyond Pitcairn, 157-170. Yet all the evidence we need is the Jewish race. They are the only group of people that have come down as a distinct race from Biblical times and Biblical places. God has preserved them that we might know the true "seventh-day Sabbath"—it is Saturday, the seventh-day of the week on the calendars that we use today in our homes and at our places of business.
The basis of religion is the worship of God, and the basis of that worship is the weekly sacred day upon which is, in the fullest sense, to be rendered to Him. Here is a brief look at what the Bible tells us about this important subject.
(The following information is slightly adapted from pages 188-209 of our book, Beyond Pitcairn. Much more information on this will be found in the complete book, a copy of which may be obtained from the present publisher. It is a book you should read. See page 112.
Historians tell us that, in the time of Constantine the Great (A.D. 321), men officially tried to change the rest day from the seventh day Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week. Government and church edicts over the next several centuries enforced Sundaykeeping on nearly the entire Christian world. But the Scriptures teach that we must obey the commandments of God rather than human traditions when they conflict with those commandments.
"When they had brought them, they set them before the council . . Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’ "—Acts 5:27, 29.
"But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."—Matthew 15:9.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."—2 Timothy 4:3-4.
"But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves."—Luke 7:30.
"He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."—Mark 7-9 (Acts 4:19-20).
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."—1 Thessalonians 5:21.
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them."—Isaiah 8:20.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works."—2 Timothy 3:16-17.
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."—Titus 1:9.
How thankful we can be that we have the Bible—the precious Word of God! What would we do without it! We dare not leave it for the words of men—when those words teach disobedience to the inspired Word of God. Cling to Jesus and to your Bible all your life, and obey all that it tells you—and you will be safe.
"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto a knowledge of the truth."—1 Timothy 2:4.
"They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."—2 Thessalonians 2:10.
"God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."—2 Thessalonians 2:13 (1 Peter 1:2).
"Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit."—1 Peter 1:22.
"If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."—John 8:31-32.
"Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth."—John 17:17.
"Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in."—Isaiah 26:2.
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."—Revelation 21:1; 22:14.
We are told, in Proverbs 9:1, that wisdom hath builded her house out of many pillars. Here are the twelve Biblical pillars that undergird the Sabbath Truth; here are the foundational stones that prove the Bible Sabbath to be the only weekly rest day you should keep today:
PILLAR NUMBER ONE
The Sabbath was given to all mankind at the creation of this world.
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made: and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
"And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made."—Genesis 2:1-3.
In Pillar Number One, we have three unanswerables:
(1) Back in the beginning, God did three things to the seventh day: First He Himself rested upon it. What an honor that is to any day! Second, He blessed it. How many things all through the Bible did God bless? Not very many—but He blessed the seventh day and made it a rest day. Do we dare do our common labor on a day that He blessed and set aside for rest? Third, He sanctified or hollowed it. How many things did God hollow in the Bible? Very, very few things. How many things did He bless and hallow? Hardly any. Let no man tell you that the seventh-day Bible Sabbath is unimportant. It is important to your Creator; it ought to be very important to you also.
(2) The Bible Sabbath was the first divine institution given to mankind in the history of the world; and, along with marriage, it is one of the many institutions to come down, past Eden, into human history. The Sabbath is as sacred as is marriage and is to be as sacredly guarded.
(3) Two thousand years before the first Jew, God dedicated and set aside the Sabbath as a rest day. Abraham is considered, by all, to have been the first Jew. He lived about 2000 B.C. Biblical records indicate that the creation of this world took place about 4000 B.C., so the Bible Sabbath is definitely not Jewish! It was given to mankind; it is for all the world.
"The Sabbath was made for man."—Mark 2:27.
PILLAR NUMBER TWO
The Sabbath is a memorial as well as a symbol. First, it is a memorial of creation.
"It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed."—Exodus 31:17.
As a memorial of the creation of this world, it cannot pass away without first having this world pass away. Our planet could not have a new or different Sabbath day without having it first hurled into oblivion—and then a new planet created from nothing, in the place of Planet Earth which would, then, no longer have existence. But no such event has occurred.
Second, it is a symbol of our salvation through Christ. When we keep it, we tell all the world that we belong to God, that we serve and obey Him. The seventh-day Sabbath is a sign of our conversion, sanctification, and salvation.
"Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." Exodus 31:13.
"Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them."—Ezekiel 20:12.
"Hollow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am Lord your God."—Ezekiel 20:20.
Nowhere in Scripture were we ever told to keep any day in honor of Christ’s resurrection. To do so is unscriptural. But to set aside the creation-and-sanctification Sabbath of the Bible—for another day of the week—and then excuse it by saying that we do so, "in honor of Christ’s resurrection," is indeed a very daring thing. Who dares presume to set aside the memorial of creation and salvation for any reason! Knowingly to do so flies in the face of direct commands by the God of heaven, and thus is a denial of our creation and salvation by Him.
Yet those who do so, will, in the great day of judgment, only be able to plead that they did so because others did so. There is really no reason for keeping the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh day.
PILLAR NUMBER THREE
The people of God kept the Bible Sabbath before the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai.
This is understandable. The Sabbath truth was first given to our race in Eden before the fall of man. It was given before sin and apart from it. It was given to mankind to link him to his God. If Adam needed the Sabbath, we need it all the more today.
It is of interest that when Moses initially returned to Egypt, he told his enslaved people that they must begin keeping the Sabbath again. God was about to do great things for them, and they must show themselves to be His worshipers.
"The king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let [keep] the people from their works? Get you unto your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land are many and ye make them rest from their burdens."—Exodus 5:4-5.
Moses had not told them to stop working. He had told them to keep the weekly Sabbath rest. Pharaoh was angry about this.
Then, four chapters before the Ten Commandments were given on Mount Sinai, the God of heaven spoke in such a way that it is obvious that the seventh-day Sabbath was already well-known, but not always well-kept:
"Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily."
"It came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread . . And he [Moses] said unto them, This is that which the Lord had said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord . . Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws: So the people rested on the seventh day."—Exodus 16:4-5, 22, 23, 26-28, 30.
There are those who say that the seventh-day Sabbath was not commanded by God nor kept by man before Exodus 20; it was first introduced on Mount Sinai. But Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 16 prove otherwise.
PILLAR NUMBER FOUR
"Remember the Sabbath day to deep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor 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 hollowed it."—Exodus 20:8-11.
(1) The Sabbath commandment is part of moral law of the Ten Commandments. The Apostle James, tells us that if we break any part of this law, we have broken it all (James 2:10-12). We cannot tear out the fourth commandment without setting aside all the others as well. They all stand together because the God of heaven put them all together.
(2) This "Sabbath commandment" is not a one-day-a-week holy commandment, but the seventh-day holy commandment. We do not obey this commandment by keeping holy the third day of the week or the first. We only obey the commandment by keeping the seventh day of the week—which is the Bible Sabbath. Adam and Eve could not select at random any tree in the garden and call it the "tree of life." They had to go to the one that God had appointed as the tree of life. And the same for the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." God made the decision as to which tree was which. And He did the same with the Sabbath. He chose the seventh day of each week, and this did not include any other day with it or in place of it. We are not to decide which day of the week is to be kept holy unto God; He alone is to do this. It is for Him to command; it is for us to obey.
(3) Some say that Genesis 2:1-3 is not a command for man to keep the Sabbath, and therefore we need not do so. But Exodus 16 and 20 clearly show that man is commanded to keep it holy. Who will dare say that the Ten Commandments are only for the Jewish race. Are the rest of us permitted to lie, steal, cheat, and commit adultery? Are only the Hebrews not to bow down to idols and to honor their parents?
(4) The reason for the commandment is the creation of the world: "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth." This is not something local—merely for a Semitic race—it is a commandment for all in the entire world who shall bow down and worship their Creator in humble thankfulness for His plan to save them through the life and death of Jesus Christ.
(5) The commandment says to "remember." The people of God were not being told of some new concept. They were to keep in mind that which they already knew.
(6) God wrote these Ten Commandments with His own finger (Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10). He wrote them on the most enduring thing in the world (Exodus 31:18). And He wishes to write them on our hearts.
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord: 1 will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them."—Hebrews 10:16 (Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31:33).
Through the New Covenant, He may write His holy law upon our hearts, if we will but let Him. To have the Ten Commandments written on our hearts means two things: First, it means to be willing to obey them; and, second, it means to let God enable us to do so by the grace of Jesus, His Son.
PILLAR NUMBER FIVE
The weekly Sabbath—the seventh-day Sabbath—is part of the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments. It will stand forever. The yearly sabbaths were part of the ceremonial laws that prefigured, or foreshadowed, the death and ministry of Christ.
These "shadow laws," such as the Passover and the Wave Sheaf, which were part of the ceremonial, or sacrificial, law, would not endure past the death of Christ.
"For the [ceremonial] law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect, for then would they not have ceased to be offered? . . But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."—Hebrews 10:1-4.
These ceremonial laws were not written on rock, but were contained in ordinances, written on parchment. The rock was to endure; but the ordinances, on parchment, that foreshadowed the death of Christ were to pass away at His death. It is for this reason that we do not today observe the yearly sabbaths of the Passover and the Wave Sheaf.
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross . . Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect to an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."—Colossians 2:14, 16-17.
In the Greek, it says, "Of the sabbaths." The weekly Sabbath comes down to us from the creation of this world and will be kept in the New Earth (Isaiah 66:22-23). But the yearly sabbaths did not begin until Moses. They typified, or explained, the coming death of Christ; and, at His death, these sabbaths were nailed to the cross.
If the ordinances containing the yearly sabbaths had not been set aside at Calvary, we would need now to sacrifice animals on various occasions throughout the year. But we are not now to slay lambs; for Christ, our Passover and Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."—John 1:29.
"For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."—1 Corinthians 5:7.
"Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."—1 Peter 1:18-19.
PILLAR NUMBER SIX
Repeatedly, in Holy Scripture, God gave warnings of dire consequences to those who professed to worship Him but did not keep His holy Sabbath. Examples of this can be found in Numbers 15:32-36; 2 Chronicles 36:11-21; Jeremiah 17:19-27; 52:7-14.
God also warned against professed Sabbath observers who at the same time engaged in falsehood and wrongdoing. An example of the problem is given in Isaiah 58:1-14. The answers are clear, aren’t they? If we will seek God inspite all our darling sins, He will remold us into loving, obedient children. He will place His Holy Spirit within us and write His laws upon our hearts. And then it will be heart work to obey Him—an act of genuine, unfeigned love.
Repeatedly, during the earthly life of Christ, we see that the Jewish rabbis had bound heavy burdens upon the people that God had never asked of them. Jesus ignored these man-made restrictions. For example, on one occasion, He ate a meal with His disciples as they walked along. But, according to man-made rules, this was wrong to do (Matthew 12:1-2). On several occasions He healed people on the Sabbath, but the Jews thought it a terrible thing to be kind and helpful to God’s suffering creatures on the Sabbath day (Luke 6:7-11; John 5:16; Mark 2:24; Luke 13:14-17; Matthew 12:2, 10-12; Luke 14:5-6; John 9:16). Never imagine that, because others do not obey God according to His requirements, you do not need to do so. Just because the Jewish rabbis would not keep the Sabbath properly, many imagine that they need not do so either. But the Sabbath was not given because of the rabbis. It was given, at creation, to all the world.
"The scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the Sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him . . and they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus."—Luke 6:7, 11.
"Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk . . The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day."—John 5:8, 15-16.
PILLAR NUMBER SEVEN
Throughout His earthly life, Jesus always kept the Ten Commandments. And, by so doing, He gave us an example to follow. The Bible says we are to follow His example:
"It is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within thy heart."—Psalm 40:7-8.
"Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth."—1 Peter 2:22.
"[He] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."—Hebrews 4:15.
"Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."—Hebrews 2:17.
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps."—1 Peter 2:21.
"He that saith He abideth in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked."—1 John 2:6.
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."—Colossians 2:6.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."—Philippians 2:5.
"I seek not Mine own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."—John 5:30 (John 6:38).
There were those who feared that Jesus intended to overthrow the law of God. But He definitely stated His belief in its eternity. The law of God will never pass away. Its moral precepts are for all men through all time to come. And would we want it any other way?
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."—Matthew 5:17-18.
PILLAR NUMBER EIGHT
There is no doubt that the actions and attitudes of the disciples of Jesus, at the time of His death on Calvary, clearly revealed that which He had been teaching them for the preceding three and a half years. The sacred importance of the seventh-day Sabbath was of such concern to Christ’s disciples that they would not even prepare the body of Jesus properly for burial on Friday, lest they transgress the fourth commandment.
"Now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath . . Mary Magadalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where He was laid.
"And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?"—Mark 15:42, 47-16:3.
"And he took it down and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.
"Now upon the first day of he week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from sepulchre."—Luke 23:53-24:2.
Now, it is true that at that time there were some who did not sacredly regard the Bible Sabbath. But we do not wish to be reckoned among that company! These were the murderers of Jesus, who cared neither for His life of obedience to the Ten Commandments nor for His teachings to obey the Ten Commandments:
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so that the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch [of Roman guards]: go your way, make it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch.
"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it."—Matthew 28:1-2.
On Friday, while all the people were watching them, the Jewish rulers refused to enter Pilate’s judgment hall, lest they be "defiled." And so Pilate had to go outside to speak with them (John 18:28-29). But on the holy Sabbath day, they secretly did business—and walked directly into the judgment hall of Pilate to conduct it! While the evil priests and scribes did weekday business upon hours of the Sabbath, those who had daily listened to the teachings of Jesus and loved and obeyed His beliefs carefully refrained from working on those holy hours even though it would lead them to the impossible situation of not knowing how they would anoint His body two days later when the Roman seal would be upon the then-closed tomb.
And what was it that Jesus did during those holy hours of that Sabbath? This is also very revealing. God, in His great time clock, had arranged for the exact time when Christ should be born and when He should die. His death took place in A.D. 31, in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel 9:25-27. And it came to pass in the spring of the year—at the Passover time—when the lamb that prefigured His death was to be slain. On what day of the week did His death occur? In God’s great plan, Christ died on a Friday afternoon, so that, in the tomb, He could keep the Sabbath rest, free from harassment by enemies, all through those sacred hours.
And then, on the first day of the week, He arose and began working again. He went all the way to heaven in order to present His great sacrifice to His Father and received assurance that it had been accepted on behalf of His faithful ones on earth. Prior to this, He told Mary He had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17). When He returned to earth that evening, He walked with two disciples to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31) and, then, spoke with many of the others in room upper (John 20:19; Luke 24:36). That was a busy first day of the week for Him! But then, it was just another working day, as Scripture tells us.
At the creation, God used the first day of the week as a working day (Genesis 1:3-5). On Mount Sinai, He commanded that it be nothing more than a working day (Exodus 20:8-9). Our God considers it nothing more than a "working day" (Ezekiel 46:1). Should we consider it anything more than that?
But what about the apostles? There is no example of Sundaykeeping by any of the apostles. Twice Paul apparently mentioned the first day of the week. Oddly enough, they are the only two "first day passages" mentioned in all of his writings and travels. Let us examine both of those passages. They are found in Acts 20:6-14 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
The talk that Paul gave on the first day of the week at Troas—was actually on Saturday night. This is because a night meeting on the first day would have to be on Saturday night since, according to the Biblical pattern, the day begins and ends at sunset. The next day was Sunday. On that day he chose to walk 28 miles to Assos while his companions journeyed there by ship. This was not Sabbathkeeping! Sunday was just another workday for Paul.
And then there is that "first day passage" in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. It is only a statement by Paul that it would be well for the faithful to set aside, at home, each Sunday morning, as they budget their weekly accounts, a donation for the poor in Jerusalem. Paul wanted to obtain it when he later passed through town. They were to set it aside "without gathering." Modern translations show that this means to set aside the money at home.
PILLAR NUMBER NINE
According to all of the records that we have in the New Testament, the apostles of Jesus always kept the Bible Sabbath; they never kept Sunday sacred.
"They came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day."—Acts 13:14.
"When the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath."—Acts 13:42.
"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.
"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.
Paul supported himself by tentmaking; and, then on the Sabbath, he would preach the gospel.
"Because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers . . And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks . . He continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them."—Acts 18:3-4, 11.
Paul’s manner was the same as Christ’s custom: to keep the Bible Sabbath (Acts 17:1-2; Luke 4:16). Paul never taught that the moral law was, or could not be, set aside. It will always be the rule governing the conduct of mankind:
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."—Romans 3:31.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"—Romans 6:1-2.
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid: Nay. I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shall not covet."—Romans 7:7.
Paul clearly saw that our problem was that we needed to obey the law; there was nothing wrong with the requirements of the law itself.
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."—Romans 7:12.
"Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but [that which is important is] the keeping of the commandments of God."—1 Corinthians 7:19.
The moral standard that governs mankind was not relaxed or destroyed by the death of Christ; for indeed, it is through the merits of Christ’s sacrifice that we can be empowered to keep the law. As Jesus Himself told us:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy. but to fulfill."—Matthew 5:17.
He did not come to destroy but to fulfill. The word, "fulfill," in the original Greek means to "fill up a good example of." The same word is also used in 1 John 1:4; John 15:11; 16:24; 2 John 12; Philippians 2:2 (where it is "fulfill your joy." Jesus came to increase our happiness, not to blot it out. Also see Colossians 1:25 and 2 Corinthians 10:6.
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."—Matthew 5:19.
"Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."—Matthew 1:21.
Jesus saves us from our sins, not in our sins. And since sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments, it is obvious that He saves by enabling (strengthening) us to keep the law.
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law."—1 John 3:4.
The other apostles saw this same great truth, that the moral standard that governs mankind was not relaxed or destroyed by the death of Christ:
"But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed . . For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that saith, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty . . Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou has faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."—James 1:22-25; 2:10-12; 17-18.
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous."—1 John 5:2-3.
PILLAR NUMBER TEN
God predicted, in Scripture, that men would later try to change the law of God—and the time law in particular. We can understand why such a prophecy would be given to us, for the Bible Sabbath is very important (it is at the very center of our worship of God!); and, if men were later to try to change it—we could surely expect a warning in Scripture that such an attempt was going to be made.
"He [the little horn power] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."—Daniel 7:25.
According to Scripture, the little horn (Papal Rome) was to ruled the world for 1,260 years; and, during that time it would attempt to change God’s time law—the seventh-day Sabbath—by transferring its sacredness to Sunday, the first day of the week. Our book, Mark of the Beast, explains this in detail. You will want to read it. lt is full of historical statements about the attempted change of the Sabbath. See page 112 for further information.
"For that day [the Second Coming of Christ] 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 worshiped."—2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
God said: "Hollow my Sabbaths; and they shall be as a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God" (Ezekiel 20:20). But the papacy said, "No, you shall trample upon the Bible Sabbath; and, in its place, you shall honor my counterfeit, and on it alone you shall have your weekly holy day."
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey."—Romans 6:16.
"It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve."—Matthew 4:10.
"But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."—Matthew 15:9.
"How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him."—1 Kings 18:21.
PILLAR NUMBER ELEVEN
The seventh-day Sabbath, instituted by God at the creation of the world, is the seal of His governmental authority; for it alone identifies Him in His basic governmental code for mankind: the Ten Commandments.
Of all the commandments in the Decalogue, only the fourth commandment reveals the (1) name, (2) authority/office and (3) dominion of the Author of this law. It alone has the seal:
"In six days, the Lord [1-name] made [2-office, the Creator] heaven and earth [3-dominion or territory over which He rules]." This commandment alone contains the seal of God. Examine the seal of a notary public or any other legal seal. Each seal will always contain the above three identifying marks.
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hollowed it."—Exodus 20:8, 11.
The Sabbath commandment contains the seal of God, and the Sabbath itself, given in this commandment—is inseparably connected with this seal. For the Sabbath is the basis of all true worship of our Creator. This worship lies at the heart of all our acknowledgment of His authority as our Creator and our God. The Sabbath is ever to be kept as a sign that we belong to Him. The keeping of it brings us within the circle of this seal.
The seal is impressed in order that all may know the authority from whence it comes—and that all may know that it is not to be changed. The placing of the seal identifies the owner of the seal. The seventh-day Sabbath comes from God. Let no man dare to tamper with it—for the seal of God is upon it.
"Now, O King, establish the decree, and sign the writing that it be not changed."—Daniel 6:8.
"Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples."—Isaiah 8:16.
"It [the Sabbath] is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the seventh day He rested and was refreshed."—Exodus 31:17.
"Hollow 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.
The Sabbath is a vivid sign of God’s creative power—not only of this earth, but in our lives as well. It requires the same power to clean our lives and redeem us as it did to create us in the first place.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God."—Psalm 51:10.
"We are . . created in Christ Jesus unto good works."—Ephesians 2:10.
In addition, there is to be a special sealing work in these last days, just before the return of Jesus in the clouds of heaven:
"I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels . . saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads."—Revelation 7:2-3 (Ezekiel 9:1-6).
"I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads."—Revelation 14:1.
The name of the father is expressive of His character. When Moses asked to see the glory of God, the Lord passed by and told His name—that which He was like:
"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." — Exodus 34:6 (Exodus 33:18-19).
As we look to God’s holy law, we see another view of His character. It is a transcript of that character; it is God’s characteristics written out.
When God writes His name on your head and right hand—He has written His law on your heart. This is the work of the new covenant (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16; Jeremiah 31:33), and that work reaches its climax when God "seals in" His own just before He returns the second time in the clouds of heaven.
What are those sealed ones like? They are fully obedient to the law of God:
"In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."—Revelation 14:5.
But, in the final crisis before His return, there will be those who will yield obedience to the beast instead of to the law of God.
"The third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of God."—Revelation 14:9-10.
"He [the beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads."—Revelation 13:16.
In contrast with those who serve the beast and receive his mark are those who, in the last days, will serve God and receive His seal. How can they be identified? Our Creator has carefully explained in His Word. Here is a description of His final remnant people at the end of time:
"The dragon [Satan, working through his agents] was wroth with the woman [the true church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."—Revelation 12:17.
The third angel of Revelation 14, which warns men not receive the mark of the beast and, at the same time, tells them how to avoid receiving it—by keeping the commandments of God through the faith of Jesus Christ:
"The third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture . . Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."—Revelation 14:9-10, 12.
Here is the final remnant of God’s people on earth before the end of time. Here is how to identify them: They keep the commandments of God by faith in the enabling grace of Jesus Christ!
The final crisis will come over a decree by the beast, that all men must disobey a commandment of the law of God. The nations and churches of the world will not require men to steal or lie or to commit adultery. The growing movement toward National Sunday Laws is growing stronger every passing year. It is seen that in this point, and in this alone, will be found the heart of the crisis of Revelation 13 and 14. The final crisis will be keyed to this test of obedience to the law of God.
The first angel of Revelation 14 calls upon men everywhere, today, to reverence God—by returning to the worship of the Creator of all things.
"I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people:
"Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come: and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."—Revelation 14:6-7.
As the crisis nears, we must be preparing for it.
"The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) church."—Monsignor Louis Segur, "Plain Talk About the Protestantism Today, 213.
Already we are facing Sunday closing laws on local levels. Men are prohibited from doing business on the first working day of the week, lest they be fined or imprisoned. And the situation will grow worse in the days just ahead.
"That the image of the beast should both speak, and cause [decree] that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark."—Revelation 13:15-17.
But there is victory for those who will stand true to the God of heaven. There is overcoming power for those who will "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).
"I saw . . them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."—Revelation 15:2.
PILLAR NUMBER TWELVE
And it is a double strength pillar:
(1) Even though there are over two thousand denominations today, the remnant people of God, living at the end of time, can be identified. God has identified them for us.
After speaking about how the antichrist power (especially Papal Rome) has tried to destroy the people of God for long ages of time, we are told how to identify them in these last days, just before Christ returns in the clouds for His own:
"The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."—Revelation 12:17.
The third angel, after warning all men against receiving the mark of the beast, tells us clearly who will be the little group that will stand apart from this almost universal apostasy:
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."—Revelation 14:12.
Yes, it will be an almost universal apostasy. All around us can be seen a rising tide of rebellion against the Ten Commandments. In their science, history, and psychology classes, the colleges and universities teach that man is but an animal descended from worms and amoeba. The churches teach that God destroyed the Ten Commandments at Calvary and that Jesus died to take sinners to heaven just as they are. Governmental agencies are relaxing moral restrictions and permitting gambling, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and other vices.
Because of disobedience to Heaven’s laws, this world is becoming a curse, but soon God will intervene. Prophecy tells us that, before the end, there will be a small company who will stand true to the commandments of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
(2) Soon this present evil world will be ended suddenly by the return of Jesus Christ—and heaven will begin for the faithful.
In that heaven, the seventh-day Sabbath will be kept forever. For long ages, God’s people suffered and died rather than repudiate it; amid the peace of heaven, they will worship God on that holy day through all time to come. You and I want to be among that number.
Revelation 21 and 22 tells us about this new life with Jesus, when sin will have come to an end and the wicked are no longer alive.
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea . . And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."—Revelation 21:1; 22:1.
We are told, in Scripture, who will enter that beautiful new world:
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."—Revelation 22:14.
But more, there is the promise that they will keep the holy Sabbath through all eternity.
"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind . . and they shall build houses and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and eat of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands . . The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord . .
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord."—Isaiah 65:17, 21-22, 25; 66:22-23.
Now you have seen God’s plan for His people. It is a wonderful one! It can begin for you right now. And it will continue throughout eternity. Why not begin today? Tell God that, by His grace, you will worship your Creator on His day.
Next Sabbath—begin that holy walk with God on His day, the holy day of Isaiah 58. Read this chapter and see the blessings He will add as you surrender to Him.
But do not think that there will be no problems or trials. Satan will bring many upon you. He hates the Sabbath and all who will stand loyal to it. But, if you will determine to be true to God and His Word, you will have strength from above to go through all that lies ahead.
One day soon, if faithful, you with the redeemed of all ages will rejoice on the sea of glass and will receive, from the hand of Jesus, the overcomer’s crown. You will be given that new name, expressive of a new character. And you will begin a walk with Jesus that will last through all eternity.
"One of the elders answered, saying unto me, what are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence come they?
"I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
"For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."—Revelation 7:13-17.
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