The Signs of the Times, vol. 17
The Signs of the Times, Vol. 17
October 19, 1891
“What Do You Call It?” The Signs of the Times 17, 41, p. 326.
GOD gave commandment by his prophet that men should “call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable.” He attached a rich promise to the duty thus enjoined. Thus saith the Scriptures: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13, 14. And God said, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.1
Yet to-day the most of men, even of those who profess to be God’s people, instead of calling the Lord’s Sabbath “a delight,” call it a burden ad a token of bondage. Instead of calling it “the holy of the Lord,” they call it “the old Jewish sabbath.” Instead of its being called “honorable,” it is despised and made a subject of reproach to those who would count it honorable. Surely there must be something wrong with the people, when the word of God is so reversed; when the day upon which he put honor, is persistently and intentionally dishonored; when the day which he blessed is cursed. But it would be well for all to remember the words of Balaam: “Behold I have received commandment to bless; and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.” Numbers 23:20. Behold all men have received commandment to call the Sabbath a delight; God hath made it a delight, it was a delight to him (Exodus 31:17); and men cannot reverse it. God hath given commandment to call the Sabbath the holy of the Lord, and to keep it holy unto the Lord; and he hath made it holy; and men cannot reverse it. God hath given commandment to call the Sabbath honorable; and he hath put honor upon it; and men cannot reverse it. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.2
Why should men attach disparaging epithets to that which God commands them to honor? Why should they call that the old Jewish sabbath, which God has commanded them to call “the holy of the Lord”? There can be but one answer; there can be but one explanation of it; and that is the explanation that the Scripture gives: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God.” Romans 8:7. The carnal mind supposes that by making the Sabbath of the Lord the “Jewish sabbath” it can accomplish the feat of making the heathen Sunday the “Christian sabbath.” But it can do the one no easier than it can do the other. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.3
Sabbath means rest. The Sabbath day is the rest day; and “God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” Hebrews 4:4. When God says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.... The seventh day is the Sabbath;” it is simply saying, Remember the rest day to keep it holy.... The seventh day is the rest of the Lord thy God. As therefore the seventh day is the day upon which God rested, that is the only day of that can be the rest day. God rested no other day of the week, therefore no other day of the week can be the rest day. Whenever anybody applies to Sunday the term sabbath—rest—it is simply to apply to it a false title, so far as the institution of God is concerned, for God did not rest on the first day of the week. It was the seventh day alone upon which God rested and it is the seventh day alone that can ever be the rest—the Sabbath—day of the Lord. And so long as it remains the fact that “God did rest the seventh day from all his works,” so long it will be the truth that the seventh day is the Sabbath. This discovers the utter absurdity of the idea that is so prevalent, and which is so much talked, and printed, and spread abroad, that “the Sabbath has been changed.” To speak of a real change of the Sabbath, is but to say that the rest of God has been changed from the day upon which he rested to one upon which he did not rest. In other words it is to say that the Lord rested upon a day upon which he did not rest. But that, it is impossible for even the Lord to do, for to call that a rest day upon which he worked would not be the truth, and it is impossible for God to lie. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.4
The seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord, rests upon facts, and it is impossible to change facts. Fact is from factum—that which is done. When a thing has been done, it will remain a fact to all eternity. To all eternity it will remain the truth that it was done. It may be undone yet the fact remains, that it was done. It is a fact that in six days God created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein. This can never cease to be a fact. The universe might be relegated again to chaos, yet the fact would remain that in six days God did created it. It would likewise remain a fact that the Lord worked each of the six days. And as long as this universe stands, which was created in these six days, so long will it remain impossible truthfully to call any one of these six days the Sabbath, that is, the rest day, because there stands the fact that the Lord worked, and, we repeat, he himself cannot call a day in which he worked, a rest day. It is likewise a fact that God did rest the seventh day. And as long as the creation stands, so long the truth stands that the seventh day is the rest day, the Sabbath of the Creator; and that none other can be. Therefore it is the simple, plain, demonstrated truth that the seventh day of the week, and that day only of all in the week, is the Sabbath of the Lord; and that while creation stands it cannot be changed. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.5
There is, however, a way, and only one conceivable way, in which the Sabbath could be changed; that is, as expressed by Alexander Campbell, by creation being gone through with again. Let us take Mr. Campbell’s conception and suppose that creation is to be gone through with again for the purpose of changing the Sabbath; and suppose that the present creation is turned once more to chaos. In creating again, the Lord could of course employ as many, or as few, days as he pleased, according to the day which he designed to make the Sabbath. If he should employ nine days in the work of creation, and rest the tenth day, then the tenth day would be of course the Sabbath. Or if he should employ eight days or seven days in creation, and rest the ninth or the eighth, as the case might be, that day would be the Sabbath; or, employ four days, and rest the fifth; or three days, and rest the fourth; or two days, and rest the third; or one day, and rest the second; then the fifth, the fourth, the third, or the second, day, as the case might be, would be the Sabbath. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.6
But suppose, to please the Sunday keepers and to conform to their will, it be designed by the Lord to change the Sabbath to the first day of the week. Could he do it? Not possibly. For suppose all things were created in one day, the day on which creation was performed would necessarily, and of itself be the first day, and the rest day, the Sabbath, therefore, could not possibly be earlier than the second day. The first day could not possibly be both a working day and a rest day. It matters not though only a portion of the day should be employed in the work, it would effectually destroy the possibility of its being a rest day. For that could not be truthfully called a rest day when a portion of it had been employed in work. So upon the hypothesis of a new creation, and upon that hypothesis alone, it is conceivable that the Sabbath could be changed; but even upon that hypothesis, it would be literally impossible to change the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.7
People will talk and write glibly about the change of the Sabbath, never pausing to consider what is involved in the idea; never considering that heaven and earth would have to be removed before such a thing could be done. Even as Christ said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” And, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.” In the prophecy which foretold this attempt to change the Sabbath, the word is not that he should change the law, but that, “He shall think to change times and laws” of the Most High. This might be expected of the power that should oppose and exalt himself above God (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4); and it is perfectly in keeping with his character that in his thought to change the Sabbath of the Lord, he should pitch upon the very day to which, above all others, it would be impossible for the Lord himself to change it. SITI October 19, 1891, page 326.8
A. T. JONES.