The Truth Found

10/21

OUR SAVIOUR DID NOT CHANGE THE SABBATH

As before said, Sabbath means rest; the Lord’s Sabbath day is the Lord’s rest-day. And as the fourth commandment refers only to the events of the week of creation, the rest of the Lord refers only to that rest which he enjoyed when he had made heaven and earth. But he made these in six days, and rested only on the seventh day, as his word declares; therefore, the seventh day alone is his rest-day. And the rest-day cannot be changed from the seventh day any more than the days of the work of creation can be changed from the first six days. Read again the fourth commandment, and you will find that the observance of no day but the seventh can be enforced thereby. To insert any other day besides the seventh in that commandment would destroy its force, by making it contradict the facts of creation, upon which it is based. Now, inasmuch as the Sabbath day is a definite day, specifying a definite event, and cannot be changed, even as the day of the occurrence of a past event cannot be changed, it does not seem to be strictly necessary to go further, and and prove that it has not been changed. Nor would it be just to require us to prove that a certain thing has not been done, which we have before proved cannot be done. It properly belongs to those who advocate the change to show that it has been made by the Author of the institution. But as the proof of our position is abundant, and as many take it for granted that the Saviour did change it, we will examine this also. TFNOS 14.1

Now if a change has been made we ought to be able to find it in the Bible; for we cannot think that we shall be brought into Judgment, to answer before God concerning matters not written in his word. And if it is in his word, it is either expressed or implied. But it is not expressed, as you must know; for there is not one word about a change of the Sabbath in all the New Testament. Neither is it implied; for if you will take the New Testament, and examine it with care, you will not find one text from which you could possibly gather that the day was changed. But you may say that from your very childhood you have been instructed that it was changed; and we would urge you to inquire of yourselves if your belief of a change did not proceed from such instruction instead of being derived from the Bible. And if your children should ask you to point out the change in the Bible, to what passage would you point, on which you would be willing to see them risk their eternal welfare? Do you know of any? If not, does your faith for the keeping of Sunday rest on the Bible, or on the word of a frail mortal like yourself? As you value your eternal welfare, weigh well this most important question. To aid you in your inquiries, we will point to those things usually considered sufficient to authorize a change. TFNOS 15.1

1. The Saviour broke the Sabbath. If this had not been actually urged by some, we would not think it possible that any could believe it. If the Saviour had broken the Sabbath, as the Pharisees accused him of doing, it would not prove that it was changed or abolished (for it was recognized afterward without any recognition of a change), but it would prove that Jesus was a breaker of his Father’s law. This may be disproved in various ways. (1) He said what he and his disciples did was “lawful;” that is, conformable to law, which of itself not only contradicts the objection, but shows that the law existed and was in fall force; for no action can be called conformable to law, where there is no law relating to it. (2) He said he had kept his Father’s commandments (John 15:10); of course, he did not break the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. (3) The Scriptures abundantly prove that he was without sin, which he would not have been had he been a breaker of the law. TFNOS 16.1

2. The resurrection of Christ was on the first day. This may be allowed; but the commandment which requires you to keep the Sabbath does not command you to keep the resurrection day, but the rest-day; nor is there any commandment given teaching us to observe the day of the resurrection. Now there is no commandment teaching the observance of a weekly Sabbath but the fourth of the ten, and if the keeping of the Sunday cannot be enforced by it, there is no law for its observance. But did you ever think how the fourth commandment would read to strike out the rest-day, and put the resurrection day in its place? We will see:— TFNOS 16.2

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the first day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, etc. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the first day; wherefore the Lord blessed the first day, and hallowed it.” TFNOS 16.3

This rendering destroys the commandment, because it contradicts the facts on which it is based. And if you neglect or refuse to keep the day that God has commanded, and in its place keep one that he has not commanded, do you not fear that you will be put to shame in that day when “God will bring every work into Judgment”? Let us, then, “fear God, and keep his commandments.” TFNOS 17.1

But we have an authorized memorial of the resurrection. It is baptism. Read Romans 6:1-5. And as the Holy Spirit has given one, let us not mock God by devising another, especially as the one so devised conflicts with that law by which we shall be judged. TFNOS 17.2

3. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the first day. The Scripture says it was on “the day of Pentecost,” which signifies the fiftieth day, not the first day, and which always occurred on the fifth day of the third month, and, of course, not always on the first day of the week. Cruden and Dr. Smith, however, say that the day of Pentecost was on the sixth day of the third month; if so, as the Saviour rose on the sixteenth day of the first month, and that was the first day of the week, it would bring the day of Pentecost in that year on the second day of the week, or Monday. But allowing that the day of Pentecost was on the first day, how do we learn that it is our duty to keep the day on which the Spirit was poured out? TFNOS 17.3

Do we find any commandment for it? We do not. This event has no bearing on the Sabbath, as God has not authorized us to keep a day for any such consideration. TFNOS 18.1

4. The disciples met on the first day to celebrate the resurrection. The events of only one first-day are recorded in the gospels; viz., that one immediately succeeding the crucifixion. The word is used by Matthew once, by Mark twice, by Luke once, and by John twice, but all referring to the same day. In order to show that the apostles did not observe the first day, nor celebrate the resurrection, we will relate these events as recorded in the four gospels. 1 TFNOS 18.2

After the Lord was risen, the women came to the sepulcher early in the morning. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1. These went and told his disciples that he was raised; but they did not believe them. Luke 24:1-11; Mark 16:9-11. The same day two disciples went to Emmaus, and Jesus walked and went with them, and was made known to them near the close of the day, being seven and a half miles from Jerusalem. Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12. They returned to Jerusalem just before the day closed, and found the eleven and others together, and told them they had seen the Lord; but they did not believe them. Luke 24:33-35; Mark 16:12, 13. While they were talking about these things, Jesus himself came into the room, where they sat at meat, and said, “Peace be unto you”; and then proceeded to upbraid them because they did not believe he was risen. Luke 24:36; John 20:19; Mark 16:14. TFNOS 18.3

Two things should be particularly noticed: (1) They did not believe that he was raised, and, of course, were not met to celebrate his resurrection. (2) They “sat at meat.” Now, by turning to Acts 1:13, it will be seen that they “abode” together, and instead of being at a public meeting, they were at their own residence, eating a common meal. It is claimed from John 20:26, that Christ’s next meeting with them was on the first day; but the seventh day from that first-day would have taken it to the next first-day, and “after eight days” would certainly carry it past the next first-day. On the Scripture usage of such terms, compare Matthew 17:1, with Luke 9:28. It needs but little study to perceive that there is no warrant in the gospels for neglecting to keep God’s holy rest-day, the seventh day of the week. TFNOS 19.1

5. The disciples met on the first day to break bread. Acts 20:7. As Paul was on his journey to Jerusalem, he came to Troas; and the church met to break bread, and Paul preached until midnight. The Scripture says also there were many lights, and he continued talking even till break of day, which shows, beyond a doubt, that it was an evening meeting. According to the reckoning of time which God ordained, and they observed, the evening was the first part of the day. See Genesis 1. Each day commenced at sunset; and as this is God’s own arrangement, the Sabbath should now be kept in that manner. Therefore, a meeting on the evening of the first day would occur on what is now called Saturday night. And as he held his meeting all night, even till break of day, and then departed, it is evident that he departed on his journey on first-day morning, now called Sunday morning. In the discussion of this question, this passage is very important, as it contains positive evidence that the disciples did not observe the first day of the week, nor consider it a sacred day. And we would appeal to you: Does Acts 20 show that the first day was ever hallowed? Does it command you to keep it? It does not; nor does any other scripture teach it; and as the keeping of Sunday is not enjoined in the Bible, it cannot be sin to labor on that day. TFNOS 19.2

6. Paul commanded that collections be taken on the first day. 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2. A close examination of this passage will show that this statement is not correct. Said Paul, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him,” which can have no reference to a public collection. A late writer (J. W. Morton) says:— TFNOS 20.1

“The apostle simply orders that each one of the Corinthian brethren should lay up at home some portion of his weekly gains, on the first day of the week. The whole question turns upon the meaning of the expression, ‘by him;’ and I marvel greatly how you can imagine that it means ‘in the collection-box of the congregation.’ Greenfield, in his Lexicon, translates the Greek term, ‘by one’s self, i. e., at home.’ Two Latin versions, the Vulgate, and that of Castellio, render it ‘apud se,’ with one’s self, at home. Three French translations, those of Martin, Osterwald, and De Sacy, ‘chez soi,’ at his own house, at home. The German of Luther, ‘bie sich selbst,’ by himself, at home. The Dutch, ‘by hemsclven,’ same as the German. The Italian Diodati, ‘appresso di se,’ in his own presence, at home. The Spanish of Felipe Scio, ‘en su casa,’ in his own house. The Portuguese of Ferreiro, ‘para isso,’ with himself. The Swedish, TFNOS 20.2

nar sig sjelf,’ near himself. I know not how much this list of authorities might be swelled; for I have not examined one translation that differs from those quoted above.” TFNOS 21.1

Dear reader, do you seriously think that the order of Paul indicates that any sanctity was attached to the first day at that time? If Paul had said, On the Sabbath day, let every one of you lay by him in store, we should not expect to make any one believe that it proved the sanctity of the day. On the contrary, we should expect it would be urged as a reason why the Sabbath need not be kept, in that its sanctity would have been slighted by an order to attend to secular concerns on that day. Let us then be impartial, and not let our prejudices pervert the truth, and turn aside the testimony of God’s word. TFNOS 21.2

7. John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. Only one thing is proved by this text, which is, that there is one day in this dispensation known as the Lord’s day—one day which he claims as his own. But this text does not tell us what day it is. We must look to other scriptures to ascertain that. Now take your Bible and learn from it what is the Lord’s day. Exodus 20:10: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Chap. 31:13: “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep.” Isaiah 58:13: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day.” The Sabbath is the Lord’s day; his holy day is the day that he hallowed, or sanctified, which was the rest-day—the seventh day of the week. No other day does God ever call his own. No other is called holy, for no other was ever sanctified. TFNOS 21.3

8. The work of redemption is greater than the work of creation. This is often given as a reason for keeping the day on which Christ arose: but for several reasons we think it cannot be allowed. (1) It is presumption: for no one really knows it to be true. God himself can alone judge, and he has not revealed it to us. But we know that in his word he lays great stress on his claim to the title of Creator; and he makes this the distinctive characteristic of his being, and the test of all false gods, that he made all things. Jeremiah 10:1-16; Psalm 96:5; Acts 17:22-26: Revelation 14:6, 7. (2) If it were true, it has no bearing on this question; as the Sabbath has no reference to redemption, but was instituted before the fall of man. (3) Redemption is not yet completed, but is a subject of hope. Romans 8:22, 23. We have a memorial of the Saviour’s death in the Lord’s supper (1 Corinthians 11:26); and of his resurrection in baptism (Romans 6:1-5); but of the whole work of redemption complete, we have none; it is not yet completed. Were the assumption true that redemption is greater than creation, and the resurrection the greatest part of the whole work, it would not prove that it was therefore pleasing to God for us to keep the day of the resurrection; for he has never required us to keep the day on which his greatest work was performed, but the day on which he did not work at all! How, then, shall we come before God, selecting the day on which we think the greatest work was done, and, in keeping it, claim to obey the commandment which requires us to keep the rest-day? “This wisdom cometh not from above.” TFNOS 21.4

It often occurs that, when these points are examined, and found to contain no warrant for profaning God’s holy Sabbath, we are met with the declaration that TFNOS 22.1

We are required to keep one-seventh part of time, or one day in seven, but no particular day. The inconsistency of this is shown by those who urge it; for it is urged by those who oppose the true Sabbath, the seventh day, which they would have no right to do if their declaration was true. For if no particular day be indicated by law, it must be left entirely to our choice, and we might as properly choose the seventh day as they the first. And as they oppose the seventh day, so do most of them argue that we ought to keep the first day; but if no particular day be commanded, how do they ascertain it to be duty to keep the first day? How could an indefinite commandment, which pointed out no particular day, be made to enforce the keeping of the first day? But we are firmly of the opinion that if a commandment could be produced which enjoined the observance of the first day, as plainly as God’s law does that of the seventh day, there would be enough, even among those who now oppose the Sabbath of the Lord, to point out its striking particularity. TFNOS 23.1

The Lord never commanded the observance of one-seventh part of time, or one day in seven, except as it fell on the seventh day of the week. To say that the Lord hallowed one day in seven, but no particular day, is as absurd as to say that Christ rose from the dead on one day in seven, but on no day in particular. The Scriptures teach that God sanctified the very day on which he rested; and surely no one will presume to say that God did not rest on any particular day! As one definite day is the resurrection day of the Son, so is one definite day the rest-day of the Father. And as the Son did not rise on more than one day of the week, so the Father did not rest on more than one day of the week. It is truly absurd to say that the day of the Lord’s Sabbath, or rest, which he also hallowed, and which he commanded his creatures to remember to keep, was no particular day. What would you think of him who should undertake to regularly celebrate the day of his birth, or the day of his marriage, and yet observe no particular day? Or what would you think of your friend who should cross the Atlantic, and then solemnly affirm that he landed at New York on one day in seven but on no day in particular? You would surely think that he had left his senses in his fatherland. And shall we treat God’s law in such a manner as to make it utter such absurdities? Remember, he says he is a jealous God, and he has commanded us in all things to be circumspect. TFNOS 23.2