The Signs of the Times


July 29, 1897

The Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment


“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 July 29, 1897, par. 1

The law of God is binding upon men of every age and in every country. All mankind are under obligation to obey every injunction set forth in its ten precepts. The fourth commandment is a part of that law. God has made that command specially significant, by placing it in the very bosom of the Decalog. ST July 29, 1897, par. 2

God's holy law was not instituted at Sinai, altho it was there first proclaimed. The thunder and lightnings that enveloped Sinai presented a scene of awe and terror which no voice or pen can describe. The splendor and majesty of God's glory there revealed caused the people whom he had rescued from the bondage of Egypt to tremble with fear. And as they heard the voice of God amid the smoke and the fire, the thunderings and the lightnings, and the noise of a trumpet, they moved afar off from the mount, and said unto Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. ST July 29, 1897, par. 3

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.” “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest; that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” ST July 29, 1897, par. 4

During the absence of Moses in the mount, whither he had gone to receive the tables of the law, the children of Israel lapsed into idolatry. When Moses returned and saw that they had broken their covenant with God, shame and confusion on their account took possession of him, and he there threw down the tables and broke them. As they had broken their covenant with God, Moses, in breaking the tables, signified to them that so also God had broken his covenant with them. ST July 29, 1897, par. 5

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” In writing the law upon tables of stone it was God's design to teach men the lasting character of his law, and the perpetual obligation of all mankind to obey that law which is the transcript of his character. ST July 29, 1897, par. 6

At the very beginning of the fourth precept God said, “Remember,” knowing that man, in the multitude of his cares and perplexities, would be tempted to excuse himself from meeting the full requirements of the law, or in the press of worldly business would forget its sacred importance. It is not the first day, or any common day, but the seventh that God has blessed and set apart for a sacred use. As he surveyed his work of creation, he saw that it was very good, and he rested on that day. And he designed that man should keep it holy because he himself on that day had rested. The teachers of our day, however high their claims to sanctity, who would pronounce the law of God Jewish, are wresting the Scriptures, misleading the people, and making God's law of none effect. The Sabbath was given to Adam and Eve in Eden for all their posterity. The Jews were not more closely related to Adam than were any of the other nations on the earth. Instead of losing its force now, the law is to be more fully understood. When the typical sacrifices ceased at the death of Christ, the original, as engraved on the tables of stone, stood immutable, holding its claims upon men in all ages. And in the Christian age the duty of man is not limited, but more especially defined and simply expressed. ST July 29, 1897, par. 7

God rested on the seventh day, not merely to furnish an example to the Jews. The Sabbath commandment is obligatory upon all men to the end of time. And not only this, its observance is to be carried into the future world, to be perpetuated throughout eternity. ST July 29, 1897, par. 8

God has given man six days in which to do his work, and carry on the usual business of life; but he claims one day, which he has blessed and sanctified. And he gives this to man as a day in which he can rest from labor and devote himself to the worship of his Maker. It is the grossest presumption for mortal man to venture upon a compromise with the Almighty in order to secure his own petty temporal interests. “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,” was thundered from Sinai. No partial obedience, no divided interest, is accepted by him who declares that the iniquities of the fathers shall be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him and that he will show mercy unto thousands of generations of them that love him, and keep his commandments. ST July 29, 1897, par. 9

Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, and in all his specific directions regarding the ceremonial observances, these were distinguished from the Decalog. They were to pass away. Type was to meet antitype in the one great offering of Christ for the sins of the world. ST July 29, 1897, par. 10

Christ and his disciples kept the Sabbath. When accused of breaking the Sabbath by rubbing the ears of wheat in his hands and eating with his disciples to satisfy his hunger, he denied the charge made against him. He assured his accusers that they had condemned the guiltless; for he had done only those things that were perfectly in harmony with the Sabbath commandment. If the priests and rulers could have substantiated their accusation, they would have had no need to suborn men to bear false witness against God at his trial. ST July 29, 1897, par. 11

The death of Christ upon the cross shows the immutability of the law of God. His death magnified the law and made it honorable. From his own divine lips are heard the words: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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.” ST July 29, 1897, par. 12