of the Sabbath
1. OF what is the Sabbath commandment apart?
The law of God. See Ex. 20:8-11.
2. What, according to prophecy, was to be Christ's attitude toward the
"The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness sake;
He will magnify
the law, and make it honorable." Isa. 42:21.
3. In His first recorded discourse, what did Christ say of
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am
not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matt. 5:17.
4. How enduring did He say the law is?
"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." Verse
5. What did He say of those who should break one of the least of God's
commandments, and teach men so to do?
"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." Verse 19.
NOTE.-From this it
is evident that the entire code of ten commandments is binding in the Christian dispensation, and that Christ had no
thought of changing any of them. One of these commands the observance
of the seventh day as the Sabbath. But the practice of most Christians is
different; they keep the first day of the week instead, many of them
believing that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words,
we see that He came for no such purpose. The responsibility for this
change must therefore be looked for elsewhere.
6. What did God, through the prophet Daniel, say the power represented
by the "little horn" would think to do?
"And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the
saints of the Most High: and he shall think to change the times and the
law." Dan. 7:25, R. V.
NOTE.-For a full
explanation of this symbol, see readings on "The Kingdom and Work of
Antichrist" and "The Vicar of Christ," in previous chapters.
7. What did the apostle Paul say the "man of sin" would do?
"For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,
and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and
exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped." 2
NOTE.-There is only one way by which any power could exalt itself
above God, and that is by assuming to change the law of God, and to require obedience to its own law instead of God's law.
8. What power has claimed authority to change the law of God?
9. What part of the law of God especially has the Papacy
thought to change?
The fourth commandment.
NOTES.-"They [the Catholics]
allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord's day, contrary to
the decalogue, as it appears; neither is there any example more boasted
of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power
and authority of the church, since it dispensed with one of the ten
commandments."- Augsburg Confession, Art. XXVIII.
"It (the Roman Catholic Church] has reversed the fourth commandment,
doing away with the Sabbath of God's Word, and instituting Sunday as a holy day."-
N. Summerbell, in "History of the Christians,"
10. Why did God command Israel to hallow the Sabbath?
"And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you,
that ye may know that 1 am the Lord your God." Eze. 20:20.
NOTE.-As the Sabbath was given that man might keep God in mind
as Creator, it can be readily seen that a power endeavoring to exalt
itself above God would first try to cover up or remove that which calls
man's special attention to his Creator. This could be done in no other
effectually as by setting aside God's memorial-the
seventh-day Sabbath. To this work of the Papacy Daniel had reference when he said, "And he shall . . . think to change
times and laws." Dan. 7:25.
11. Does the Papacy acknowledge that it has changed the Sabbath?
NOTE.-"Question.- How prove you that the church hath power to
command feasts and holy days?
"Answer.- By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which
Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves
by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feast days commanded
by the same church."- "Abridgment of Christian Doctrine," by Rev. Henry
Tuberville, D. D., of Douay College, France (1649), page 58.
"Ques.- Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to
institute festivals of precept?
"Ans.- Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which
all modern religionists agree with her,- she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the
observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no
Scriptural authority."- "A Doctrinal Catechism," by Rev. Stephen Keenan,
"The Catholic Church of its own infallible authority created Sunday a
holy day to take the place of the Sabbath of the old law."- Kansas City
Catholic, Feb. 9, 1893.
"The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the
day from Saturday to Sunday."- Catholic Mirror, official organ of
Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
"Ques.- Which is the Sabbath day?
"Ans.- Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Ques.- Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"Ans.- We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic
Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 336), transferred the
solemnity from Saturday to Sunday ."- "The Convert's Catechism of
Catholic Doctrine," by Rev. Peter Geiermann, C. SS. R.., page 50,
third edition, 1913, a work which received the "apostolic blessing"
of Pope Pius X, Jan. 25, 1910.
What was done at the Council of Laodicea was but one of the steps by
which the change or the Sabbath was effected. See under questions 17-21.
The date usually given for this council is 364 A. D.
12. Do Catholic authorities acknowledge that there is no command in the
Bible for the sanctification of Sunday?
NOTE.-"You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and
you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of
Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a
day which we never sanctify."-
Cardinal Gibbons, in "The Faith of Our
Fathers," edition1892, page 111.
"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be
defended only on Catholic principles. . . . From beginning to end of
Scripture. there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of
weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first."-
Catholic Press (Sydney, Australia), Aug. 25, 1900.
13. Do Protestant writers acknowledge the same?
NOTE.-"Is there no express commandment for observing the first
day of the week as Sabbath, instead of the seventh day?- None whatever. Neither Christ, nor His apostles, nor the first Christians celebrated
the first day of the week instead of the seventh as the Sabbath."-
New York Weekly Tribune, May 24, 1900.
"The Scriptures nowhere call the first day of the week the Sabbath.
. . . There is no Scriptural authority for so doing, nor of course any
Scriptural obligation."- The Watchman (Baptist).
"The observance of the first instead of the seventh day rests on the
testimony of the church, and the church alone."- Hobart Church News
(Episcopalian), July 2, 1894.
14. How did this change in observance of days come about, suddenly or
NOTE.-"The Christian church made no formal, but a gradual and almost
unconscious transference of the one day to the other."- "The Voice From
Sinai," by Archdeacon F. W. Farrar, page 167.
This of itself is evidence that there was no divine command for the
change of the Sabbath.
15. For how long a time was the seventh-day Sabbath observed in the
For many centuries. In fact, its observance has never
wholly ceased in the Christian church.
NOTES.-Mr. Morer, a learned clergyman of the Church of England,
"The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and
spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted that
they derived this practice, from the apostles themselves."- "Dialogues
on the Lord's Day," page 189.
Prof. E. Brerwood, of Gresham College, London (Episcopal), says:
"The Sabbath was religiously observed in the Eastern church three hundred years and more after our Saviour's passion."-
"Learned Treatise of
the Sabbath," page 77.
Lyman Coleman, a careful and candid historian, says: "Down even, to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath
continued in the Christian church, but with a rigor and solemnity
gradually diminishing until it was wholly discontinued."- "Ancient
Christianity Exemplified," chap. 26, sec. 2.
The historian Socrates, who wrote about the middle of the fifth
century, says: "Almost all the churches throughout the world celebrate the
sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week,
yet the Christians of Alexandria
and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, refuse to do this."-
"Ecclesiastical History," book 5, chap. 22.
Sozomen, another historian of the same period, writes: "The people
of Constantinople, and of several other cities, assemble together on the
Sabbath as well as on the next day; which custom is never observed
at Rome."- "Ecclesiastical History." book 7, chap. 19.
All this would have been inconceivable and impossible had there been
a divine command given for the change of the Sabbath. The last two
quotations also show that Rome led in the apostasy and in the change of
What striking testimony is borne by Neander, the noted church
historian, regarding the origin of the Sunday sabbath?
"Opposition to Judaism introduced the particular festival of Sunday
very early, indeed, into the place of the Sabbath. . . . The festival of
Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance,
and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine
command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic
church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday. Perhaps at the
end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to
take place; for men appear by that time to have considered
laboring on Sunday as a sin."-
Neander's "Church History," Rose's
translation, page 186.
17. Who first enjoined Sunday-keeping by law?
Constantine the Great.
NOTES.-"The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal
duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A. D., enacting that all
courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at
rest on Sunday (venerabili die Solis), with an exception ill favor of
those engaged in agricultural labor."- Encyclopedia Britannica, ninth
edition, article "Sunday."
"Constantine the Great made a law for the whole empire (321 A. D.) that
Sunday should be kept as a day of rest in all cities and towns ; but he
allowed the country people to follow their work."- Encyclopedia Americana, article "Sabbath."
"Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which
the Sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is
the edict of Constantine, 321 A.D.,-
Chambers's Encyclopedia, article
18. What did Constantine's law require?
"Let all the judges and town
people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of
the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at
full liberty, attend to the business of agriculture; because it often
happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines;
lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by heaven."-
Edict of March 7, 321 A. D., Corpus Juris
Civilis Cod., lib. 3, tit. 12, 3.
NOTE.-This edict, issued by Constantine, under whom the Christian
church and the Roman state were first united, in a manner supplied the
lack of a divine command for Sunday observance, and may be considered
the original Sunday law, and the model after which all Sunday laws since
then have been patterned. It was one of the important steps in bringing about and establishing the change of the Sabbath.
19. What testimony does Eusebius (270-338), a noted bishop of the
church, a flatterer of Constantine, and the reputed father of
ecclesiastical history, bear upon this subject?
"All things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these
we have transferred to the Lord's day."-"Commentary on the Psalms,"
Cox's "Sabbath Literature," Vol. 1, page 361.
NOTE.-The change of the
Sabbath was the result of the combined efforts of church and state, and
it was centuries before it was fully accomplished.
20. When and by what church council was the observance of the seventh
day forbidden, and Sunday observance enjoined?
"The seventh-day Sabbath was . . . solemnized by Christ, the apostles, and
primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did, in a manner, quite
abolish the observation of it.
. . The Council of Laodicea [A. D. 364] . . . first settled the observation
of the Lord's day."-
Dissertation on the Lord's Day
Sabbath," page 163.
21. What did this council, in its twenty-ninth canon, decree concerning
the Sabbath and Christians who continued to observe it?
"Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [Sabbath], but
shall work on that day. . . . If, however, they are found Judaizing, they
shall be shut out from Christ."-
Hefele's "History of the Councils of
the Church," Vol. II, page 316.
NOTES.-Some of the further steps taken by church and state authorities
in bringing about this change may be noted as follows:-
"In 386, under Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius, it was decreed that
all litigation and business should cease [on Sunday]. . . .
"Among the doctrines laid down in a letter of Pope Innocent I, written in the last year of his papacy (416), is that Saturday should be
observed as a fast-day. . . .
"In 425, under Theodosius the Younger, abstinence from theatricals and
the circus [on Sunday] was enjoined. . . .
"In 538, at a council at Orleans, . . . it was ordained that everything
previously permitted on Sunday should still be lawful; but that work at the plow, or in the
vineyard, and cutting, reaping, threshing, tilling,
and hedging should be abstained from, that people might more
attend church. . . .
"About 590 Pope Gregory, in a letter to the Roman people denounced as
the prophets of Antichrist those who maintained that work ought not to
be done on the seventh day."- "Law of Sunday," by James T. Ringgold,
The last paragraph of the foregoing quotation indicates that even as
late as 590 A. D. there were those in the church who observed and who
taught the observance of the Bible Sabbath, the seventh day.
22. What determines whose servants we are?
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey,
servants ye are to whom ye obey?" Rom. 6:16.
23. When tempted to bow down and worship Satan, what reply did Christ
"Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord
thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." Matt. 4:10,11.
24. What do Catholics say of the observance of Sunday by Protestants?
"It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ,
has transferred this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the
resurrection of our Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by the
Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the
authority of the [Catholic] church."-
"Plain Talk About the
Protestantism of Today," by Mgr. Segur, page 213.
25. What kind of worship does the Saviour call that which is not
according to God's commandments?
"But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines
of men." Matt. 15:9.
26. When Israel had apostatized, and were almost universally
worshiping Baal, what appeal did Elijah make to them?
"How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him:
but if Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings 18:21.
NOTE.-In times of ignorance God winks at that which otherwise would be
sin; but when light comes He commands men everywhere to repent. Acts
17:30. The period during which the saints, times, and the law of God
were to be in the hands of the Papacy has expired (Dan. 7:25); the
true light on the Sabbath question is now shining; and God is sending a
message to the world, calling upon men to fear and worship Him, and to
return to the observance of His holy rest day, the seventh-day Sabbath.
Rev. 14:6-12; Isa. 56:1; 58:1,12-14. See readings in Chapters 58., 98.,
102., and 120. of this book.
WHO is on the Lord's side
There's a right and wrong side,
Where stand you?
Thousands on the wrong side
Choose to stand,
Still 'tis not the strong side,
True and grand.
Come and join the Lord's side:
Ask you why?-
'Tis the only safe side
By and by.
F. E. Belden.
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