Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 91, 1894

A Perpetual Memorial



Formerly Undated Ms 61. This manuscript is published in entirety in ST 11/12/1894.

The law of God is immutable in its character, for “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of the law to fail.” [Luke 16:17.] The law of God is a revelation of the divine will, a transcript of the divine character, and must forever endure. Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or a tittle of the law has been changed. The Psalmist says, “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” “All his commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.” [Psalm 119:89; 111:7, 8.] In the very bosom of the Decalogue is the fourth commandment, as it was proclaimed: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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 hallowed it.” [Exodus 20:8-11.] 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 1

The claim so often put forth that Christ changed the Sabbath is disproved by His own words. In the sermon on the mount He said: “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. 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 5:17-19.] 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 2

Both by precept and example the Saviour taught the sacred obligations of the Sabbath commandment. Throughout His ministry upon earth, no small share of His teaching was directed toward instructing men as to what was lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. He set aside the traditions of men, and because He did not concede to the perverted customs of the Jews, by which they heaped exactions upon the people in regard to the Sabbath, He was accused of Sabbath breaking. But this was a false charge for He declared that the works of mercy and necessity which He had done, were lawful works and in harmony with Sabbath keeping. In their ignorance and superstition, the Jews had condemned the guiltless. Are there not others who have followed this course and have charged Christ with Sabbath breaking, with violation of the law of God? 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 3

Jesus said at the close of His earthy ministry, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” [John 15:10.] Neither the Saviour nor His followers ever broke the law of the Sabbath. Had the Jews been able to sustain their charge against Christ as a Sabbath breaker, as they tried to do, they would have had no need of bringing false witnesses in order that they might secure His condemnation and death. But because no fault could be found with Him, in order to secure His death, it was necessary that men should perjure their souls by testifying to a lie. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 4

Christ not only honored the Sabbath throughout His life upon the earth, but He provided that its sacred claims should be remembered and honored after His death and resurrection. When warning His disciples of the destruction of Jerusalem, which did not take place until forty years after His ascension, He said, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day; for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time.” [Matthew 24:20, 21.] In accordance with His instruction, the followers of Christ were enabled to depart from the besieged city, and escape to the mountains, not taking their flight either in the winter, or upon the Sabbath day. After the death of Christ the disciples “rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” [Luke 23:56.] After the ascension of Christ, Paul the great apostle to the Gentiles preached to both Jews and Gentiles “on the sabbath day.” [Acts 13:14, 42, 44.] 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 5

Then how can we account for the observance of the first day of the week by the majority of professed Christians, when the Bible presented no authority for this change either in the precepts or in the example of Christ or His followers? We can account for it in the fact that the world has followed the traditions of men instead of a “Thus saith the Lord.” This has been the work that Satan has always sought to accomplish—to lead men away from the commandments of God to the veneration and obedience of the traditions of the world. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 6

Through human instrumentalities he has cast contempt upon the Sabbath of Jehovah, and has stigmatized it as “the old Jewish Sabbath.” Thousands have thoughtlessly echoed this reproach, as though it were something to which was attached great weight of argument; but they have lost sight of the fact that the Jewish people were especially chosen of God as the guardians of His truth, the keepers of His law, the depositary of His sacred oracles. They received the lively oracles to give unto us. The Old and New Testaments both came through the Jews to us. Every promise in the Bible, every ray of light which has shone upon us from the Word of God, has come through the Jewish nation. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 7

Christ was the leader of the Hebrews as they marched from Egypt to Canaan. In union with the Father, Christ proclaimed the law and the thunders of Sinai to the Jews, and when He appeared on earth as a man among men, He came and a descendent of Abraham. Shall we use the name argument concerning the Bible and Christ, and reject them as Jewish, as men do in rejecting the Sabbath of the Lord [our] God? The Sabbath institution is as closely identified with the Jews as is the Bible, an there is the same reason for the rejection of one, as of the other. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 8

But the Sabbath is not Jewish in its origin. It was instituted in Eden before there were such a people known as the Jews. The Sabbath was made for all mankind, and was instituted in Eden before the fall of man. The Creator called it “My holy day.” [Isaiah 58:13.] Christ announced Himself as “the Lord of the Sabbath.” [Matthew 12:8.] Beginning with creation, it is as old as the human race, and having been made for man it will exist as long as man shall exist. Hallowed by the Creator’s rest and blessing, the Sabbath was kept by Adam in his innocence in holy Eden; but Adam fallen, yet repentant, when he was driven from his happy estate. It was kept by all the patriarchs from Abel to Noah, to Abraham, to Jacob. When the chosen people were in bondage in Egypt, many, in the midst of the prevailing idolatry, lost their knowledge of God’s law; but when the Lord delivered Israel, He proclaimed His law in awful grandeur to the assembled multitude, that they might know His will, and fear and obey Him forever. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 9

From that day to this the knowledge of God’s law has been preserved in the earth, and the Sabbath of the fourth commandment has been kept. Christ has given no hint that the seventh-day Sabbath has ever [been], or ever could be changed, and no apostolic example for the change from the seventh to the first day of the week can be cited. The custom of observing the first day of the week instead of the seventh day of divine appointment has no authority save that of tradition, popular custom, and the command of the Church of Rome. The Church of Rome has been the agent by which Satan has made this breach in the law of God, and turned the professed Christian world away from the precepts of Jehovah. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 10

Through his insinuation men made the claim that because Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, therefore the first day of the week should be celebrated as the Christian Sabbath, but the Scriptures give no authority for this manner of reasoning. The prince of evil well knew that could he set aside the true foundation for Sabbath observance, he could make the fourth commandment of no significance in the minds of men. Thus under the pretence of honoring Christ, Satan succeeds in tearing down God’s great memorial, turning the minds of men away from their Creator in a false zeal for a spurious institution. He led the Jews to have a false zeal for the Sabbath, and then enduced them to reject Christ the Lord of the Sabbath. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 11

Satan’s chief agent in bringing about the rejection of the fourth commandment, and the [instituting of] the first day of the week as a day of rest, has been the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church does not deny the part she has acted in this change, but makes a boast of her power as shown in the change which she has brought about in the world. Papists acknowledge that the Bible gives no sanction to this change, and that Protestants have no Scriptural authority for Sunday worship. The Catholic Church changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day, and without the shadow of divine sanction it has been accepted by almost all the Protestant churches, and Rome, pointing to the adherents of her doctrines, claims the supremacy. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 12

In changing the fourth precept of God’s law, the papal power has thoughtful itself able to exalt itself “above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” [2 Thessalonians 2:4.] This was the very work that the prophesy foretold would be done by this power. In trampling upon the fourth commandment, the first commandment is broken. Their idolatry is similar to that of Israel’s when she substitute that which her own had made for the living and true God, and followed after the example of Egypt; for when the Catholics substitute a sabbath of their own making for that which God commanded, they too worship that which their own hands have made, and follow the example of the heathen who worshipped the Sun on the first day of the week. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 13

Through the pope of Rome the same work has been carried on here on earth as was carried on in the courts of heaven before the expulsion of the prince of darkness. Satan sought to correct the law of God in heaven, and to supply an amendment of his own. He exalted his own judgment above that of his Creator, and placed his will above the will of Jehovah, and in this way virtually declared God to be fallible. The pope also takes the same course, and, claiming infallibility for himself, seeks to adjust the law of God to meet his own ideas, thinking himself able to correct the mistakes he thinks he sees in the statutes and commands of the Lord of heaven and earth. He virtually says to the world, “I will give you better laws than those of Jehovah.” What an insult is this to the God of heaven! 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 14

Many thousands who have accepted the change made in the day of rest have done so ignorantly, and unwittingly have placed themselves under the banner of the prince of darkness. The Christian church has accepted the false sabbath, but the day of light has dawned, and though the times of this ignorance God winked at, He now commandeth men every where to repent. It is demonstrated that no change is necessary in the law of God. Were there a change needed in the law of God, and could such a change be made, the rebellion of Satan would be justified, and the universe would have to concerned that satan was wiser than God, and had a right to supreme authority. But Jesus came to magnify the law and to make it honorable, and his death on Calvary in the sinner’s behalf proves the immutability of the law of heaven. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 15

The work of the papal church was to be exactly of an opposite character to that of Christ. Daniel in holy vision saw that he “would think to change times and laws.” [Daniel 7:25.] The laws of God and the time of God were to be changed by this antichristian power. The laws of God are the only laws which men are prohibited from changing, for secular powers may change as they see fit the laws of secular governments. In the prophecy it is plainly shown that this papal power would with deliberate intention change the law of God. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 16

In the Catholic catechisms the second commandment is not taught as obligatory, but for this change they do not hold themselves responsible of intention to change the law, as they declare that the whole significance of the precept is all contained in the first commandment. But the change of the fourth commandment, the instigation of the first day of the week as the Sabbath instead of the seventh day, is a change for which she holds herself responsible of intention to change, and makes a boast of her power, because the whole professed Christian world acknowledges her mandate in this particular. It is by thus trampling upon God’s commandments (sin is the transgression of the law) that the Roman church has proved his right to the title given in prophesy to one who shall be the “mystery of lawlessness.” [2 Thessalonians 2:7.] 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 17

The Papacy, claiming to be the vicegerent of the Son of God, is in truth the vicegerent of another power. She points to the Sunday institution as the sign of her authority; but in the change of the law and time of God, she is only doing that which Satan tried to do in heaven—prove the law of God faulty, and the Lawgiver fallible. In boasting of her power above the law of God, she is but echoing the sentiments of the great deceiver. God instituted the Sabbath as a sign of His authority and power, and the papacy, acting for the prince of evil, points to the Sunday as a sign of her power and jurisdiction. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 18

The day of the sun, Sunday, was a day devoted to the most vile of the heathen worship, for it was celebrated in connection with sun worship. This Sunday-sabbath has been accepted by many who know it to be the foundling of heathenism, which has been cherished and nourished by the church of Rome, and by her clothed in the garments of sanctity. But while many are now aware of its origin, there are true Christians in every church who do not know the origin of the Sunday-sabbath, and believe that they are keeping the day which God sanctified and blest. This is true of worshippers even in the Catholic Church, and while this ignorance and integrity remains, God accepts their sincerity, but when light shall fall upon their pathway, God requires them to come into harmony with His law, and to observe the sabbath of His appointing. 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 19

The time has come when the glory of the Lord is to fill the earth, and when the whole earth shall be lightened with His glory. The cry is sounding to the honest in heart to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” [Revelation 18:4, 5.] “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] 9LtMs, Ms 91, 1894, par. 20