The Signs of the Times


November 12, 1894

A Perpetual Memorial


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.” 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.” In the very bosom of the Decalogue is the fourth commandment, as it was proclaimed: ST November 12, 1894, par. 1

“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.” ST November 12, 1894, par. 2

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 nowise 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.” 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? ST November 12, 1894, par. 3

Jesus said at the close of his earthly ministry, “I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” 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. ST November 12, 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 since the beginning of the world to this time.” 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, nor upon the Sabbath day. After the death of Christ the disciples “rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” After the ascension of Christ, Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, preached to both Jews and Gentiles “on the Sabbath day.” ST November 12, 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 presents 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,—lead men away from the commandments of God to the veneration and obedience of the traditions of the world. 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. ST November 12, 1894, par. 6

Christ was the leader of the Hebrews as they marched from Egypt to Canaan. In union with the Father, Christ proclaimed the law amid the thunders of Sinai to the Jews, and when he appeared on earth as a man among men, he came as a descendant of Abraham. Shall we use the same argument concerning the Bible and Christ, and reject them as Jewish, as is done in rejecting the Sabbath of the Lord our God? The Sabbath institution is as closely identified with the Jews as is the Bible, and there is the same reason for the rejection of one as of the other. 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.” Christ announced himself as “the Lord of the Sabbath.” 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, by 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. ST November 12, 1894, par. 7

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. 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 pretense 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 induced them to reject Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath. ST November 12, 1894, par. 8

(Concluded next week.)