The Review and Herald

888/1902

July 6, 1897

God's Holy Sabbath

EGW

In this world the controversy between the Prince of Life and the prince of darkness is being carried on. Ever since Satan fell, the conflict between right and wrong has been waging. After Christ was crucified, and had ascended to heaven, those who believed in him took up the work, and carried forward the warfare in his name. This conflict is still going on, and is becoming more and more earnest and positive. Satan is marshaling his forces for the last great battle; and the great question at issue is the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. RH July 6, 1897, par. 1

Satan has been blessed with great advantages. There can be no one greater or more talented, none more wise and good, than was Satan before he apostatized. But he allowed a spirit of selfishness to take possession of him, and he fell through self-exaltation. Angels fell with him because they placed themselves on the side of the great rebel instead of on the side of Christ. We read in Jude: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” RH July 6, 1897, par. 2

Satan has a great mind, but it is prostituted to evil; it is wise only to plan and to do evil. Ever since his fall, he has worked against God. He has striven to tear down God's appointed institutions. He led the Jewish leaders to pervert the true meaning of the Sabbath. Their teaching in regard to it was altogether wrong. They piled their own traditions and maxims upon it, burying it out of sight. RH July 6, 1897, par. 3

Satan is the sharpest critic that the world has ever known, and he works to hinder and pervert truth. He has induced men to strive to change the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Under his dictation the first day of the week has been adopted by the Christian world as the Sabbath. He has used his masterly mind to influence other men to adopt the same views that he himself entertains. But if we turn aside from the fourth commandment, so positively given by God, to adopt the inventions of Satan, voiced and acted by men under his control, we cannot be saved. We cannot with safety receive his traditions and subtleties as truth. RH July 6, 1897, par. 4

The man of sin has exalted Sunday; but whatever has been done in the change of the fourth commandment, has been done without God's sanction, and is in direct opposition to his express commands. What we all need is truth—plain, simple, unvarnished truth—that will sanctify the soul. Many will advance theories in regard to the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week; but God has made positive declarations in regard to the sacredness of the Sabbath instituted at Eden and proclaimed from Mount Sinai, and a penalty is attached to the disregard and dishonor of the seventh day of the week. RH July 6, 1897, par. 5

It becomes every one blessed with reasoning power to beware from what source he receives light and knowledge. We should not be dazzled by men who boast of their education and talent, but who use their power to bewilder souls. Thoughts flash from their minds which charm, but are soon forgotten. When these supposed grand thoughts, which perplex and mystify while they please, are presented, let those who have souls to save or to lose, inquire, Is there Scripture to prove the truth of these utterances? RH July 6, 1897, par. 6

Where eternal interests are involved, it becomes every soul to require ministers of the gospel to give Scriptural evidence for everything they say. The traditions of the Fathers, the customs and sayings of professedly good men, the opinions of the most learned divines or of the highest critics,—all are worthless unless they harmonize with the word of God. We must go back from the so called “Fathers” to the great Heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe. The Sabbath of the Lord must rest on its own basis—the word of the living God. RH July 6, 1897, par. 7

Every one is tested and tried in probationary time in regard to his obedience to the word of God. But what is the matter with the professed Christian world?—That which was the matter with Adam and Eve in Eden,—they are listening to another voice than that of God. God's voice, which is speaking plainly and distinctly to them through the fourth commandment, is disregarded; and a false voice, which advocates a false Sabbath, is listened to. They turn from a plain, “Thus saith the Lord,” to a Sabbath based upon inference and supposition, without a particle of Scriptural evidence to support it. Satan has succeeded in throwing the Christian world off the track, as he threw Adam and Eve off. People are walking in by and forbidden paths. O, why are men, when tempted, so easily overcome? Why are they so deceived in regard to the Sabbath? Why, without any foundation for their faith, do they accept and exalt a spurious Sabbath? RH July 6, 1897, par. 8

It is much easier to accept sophistry and fables than the truth. But it is a very serious matter for us to endanger our souls and forfeit immortality by worshiping a spurious institution. We cannot rely upon man's assertions any more safely than could the Jews upon their false theories in the time of Christ. Men's statements do not make truth falsehood or falsehood truth. We cannot with safety build our faith upon a false foundation, and give heed to fables because they have been passed down to us as tradition, even though they are hoary with age. Christ said of the Jews, who were loading down the law of God with the sayings and maxims of the ancient rabbis, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” These words are addressed to every soul who is doing likewise. RH July 6, 1897, par. 9

At the creation, God sanctified and blessed the Sabbath. He gave it to his people “to be a sign between me and them,” he declared, “that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” If this people had walked in the commandments of God, if they had kept his Sabbath, he would have greatly blessed them. But he declares: “The house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness; they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.... Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.” This was why, after God had established his people in the godly land of Canaan, they did not go forward from strength to strength, a praise in the earth as God's peculiar people. When the Sabbath interfered with their business, they found it inconvenient to observe it. They did not give up the Sabbath in theory, but they did not keep it according to the fourth commandment. RH July 6, 1897, par. 10

“I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me; they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.” RH July 6, 1897, par. 11

Why did the Lord not cut off this rebellious people, that had been blessed with so much light? They provoked him to deal with them in wrath. But the Lord declared: “Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth.” Every nation upon the earth was watching the people for whom God had done so much. If they had followed him, he would have exalted them, and made them a praise in the earth. They would have been regarded as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances of their God. RH July 6, 1897, par. 12

God did not then punish the children of Israel as they deserved: but, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Israel did not repent, and God says: “I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols.” RH July 6, 1897, par. 13

Those who reverence the commandments of Jehovah will, after the light has been given them in reference to the fourth precept of the decalogue, obey it without questioning the feasibility or convenience of such obedience. God made man in his own image, and then gave him an example of observing the seventh day, which he sanctified and made holy. He designed that man should worship him upon that day, and engage in no secular pursuits. No one who disregards the fourth commandment, after becoming enlightened in regard to the claims of the Sabbath, can be held guiltless in the sight of God. RH July 6, 1897, par. 14