The Bible is a treasure-house of precious truths. How thankful we can be that such information is before us, to read and study. In this chapter, you will learn part of God's plan to restore to His people truths long forgotten that they need today.
Our God is a great God - and as we study His Word and trust Him to lead, He will open up to us pathways that will bring us all the way to the city of the great King - to that wonderful home He is preparing for us.
As those who first received the third angel's message saw the beauty and harmony of the system of truth that opened to their understanding, they desired that the light which appeared to them so precious might be imparted to all Christians; and they could not but believe that it would be joyfully accepted. But truths that would place them at variance with the world were not welcome to many who claimed to be followers of Christ. Obedience to the fourth commandment required a sacrifice from which the majority, even of Adventists, drew back.
As the claims of the Sabbath were presented, many who had endured reproach and persecution for the Advent faith, began to reason from the worldling's standpoint. Said they: "We have always kept Sunday, our fathers kept it, and many good and pious men have died happy while keeping it. If they were right, so are we. The keeping of this new Sabbath would throw us out of harmony with the world, and we would have no influence over them. What can a little company keeping the seventh day hope to accomplish against all the world who are keeping Sunday?" It was by similar arguments that the Jews endeavored to justify their rejection of Christ. Their fathers had been accepted of God in presenting the sacrificial offerings, and why could not the children find salvation in pursuing the same course? So, in the time of Luther, papists reasoned that true Christians had died in the Catholic faith, and therefore that religion was sufficient for salvation. Such reasoning would prove an effectual barrier to all advancement in religious faith or practice.
Many urged that Sunday-keeping had been an established doctrine and a widespread custom of the church for many centuries. Against this argument it was shown that the Sabbath and its observance was more ancient and widespread, even as old as the world itself, and bearing the sanction both of angels and of God. When the foundations of the earth were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath. Job 38:6, 7; Genesis 2:13. Well may this institution demand our reverence; it was ordained by no human authority, and rests on no human tradition; it was established by the Ancient of days, and commanded by His eternal word.
As the attention of the people was called to the subject of Sabbath reform, popular ministers perverted the word of God, placing such interpretations upon its testimony as would best quiet inquiring minds. And those who did not search the Scriptures for themselves were content to accept the ministers' conclusions. By argument, sophistry, the traditions of the Fathers, and the authority of the church, opposers endeavored to overthrow the truth. Its advocates were driven to their Bibles to defend the validity of the fourth commandment. Humble men, armed with the word of truth alone, met and withstood the attacks of men of learning. With surprise and anger popular ministers found their eloquent sophistry powerless against the simple, straight-forward reasoning of men who had but little of the learning of the schools.
In the absence of Scripture testimony in their favor, many with unwearying persistency inquired, - forgetting how the same reasoning had been employed against Christ and His apostles, - "Why do not our great men understand this Sabbath question? But few believe as you do, and even these are uneducated persons. It cannot be that you are right, and that all the men of learning in the world are wrong."
To refute such arguments it was needful only to cite the teachings of the Scriptures and the history of the Lord's dealings with His people in all ages. God works through these who "hear and obey His voice, those who will, if need be, speak unpalatable truths, those who do not fear to reprove popular sins. The reason why He does not oftener choose men of learning and high position is, that they trust to their creeds, theories, and theological systems, and feel no need to be taught of God. Only those who have a personal connection with the Source of wisdom are able to understand or explain the Scriptures. Men who have little of the learning of the schools are called to declare the truth, not because they are unlearned, but because they are not too self-sufficient to be taught of God. They learn in the school of Christ, and their humility and obedience make them great. In committing to them a knowledge of His truth, God confers upon them an honor, in comparison with which earthly honor and human greatness sink into insignificance.
As the majority of Adventists rejected the truths concerning the sanctuary and the law of God, many also renounced their faith in the Advent movement, and adopted unsound and conflicting views of the prophecies which applied to that work. Some were led into the error of repeated time-setting. The light of the third message would have shown them that no prophetic period extends to the coming of Christ; that the exact time of His coming is not foretold. But, turning from the light, they continued to set time after time for the Lord to come, and as often were disappointed.
When the Thessalonian church received erroneous views concerning the coming of Christ, the apostle Paul counseled them to carefully test their hopes and anticipations by the word of God. He cited them to prophecies revealing the events to take place before Christ should come, and showed that they had no ground to expect Him in their day. "Let no man deceive you by any means." are His words of warning. Should they indulge expectations that were not sanctioned by the Scriptures, they would be led to a mistaken course of action; disappointment would expose them to the derision of unbelievers, and they would be in danger of yielding to discouragement, and would be tempted to doubt the truths essential for their salvation. The apostle's admonition to the Thessalonians contains an important lesson for those who live in the last days. Many Adventists have felt that unless they could fix their faith upon a definite time for the Lord's coming, they could not be zealous and diligent in the work of preparation. But as their hopes are again and again excited, only to be destroyed, their faith receives such a shock that it becomes well-nigh impossible for them to be impressed by the great truths of prophecy. The more frequently a definite time is set for the second advent and the more widely it is taught, the better it suits the purpose of Satan. After the time has passed, he excites ridicule and contempt of its advocates, and thus casts reproach upon the true time movement of 1843 and 1844. Those who persist in this error will at last fix upon a date too far in the future for the coming of Christ. Thus they will be led to rest in a false security, and many will not be undeceived until it is too late.
The history of ancient Israel is a striking illustration of the past experience of the Adventist body. God led His people in the Advent movement, even as He led the children of Israel from Egypt. In the great disappointment their faith was tested as was that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Had they still trusted to the guiding hand that had been with them in their past experience, they would have seen of the salvation of God. If all who had labored unitedly in the work in 1844 had received the third angel's message, and proclaimed it in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts. A flood of light would have been shed upon the world. Years ago the inhabitants of the earth would have been warned, the closing work completed, and Christ would have come for the redemption of His people.
It was not the will of God that Israel should wonder forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there a holy, happy people. But "they could not enter in because of unbelief." Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy, they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the promised land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed, and His people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God. As they refused to do the work which He had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message. In mercy to the world, Jesus delays His coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning, and find in Him a shelter before the wrath of God shall be poured out.
Now, as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves the errors and sins of the times, will call forth a storm of opposition. "Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." John 3:20. Those who cannot sustain their position by the Scriptures are stubbornly determined that it shall be sustained at all hazards, and with a malicious spirit they attack the character and motives of those who stand in defense of unpopular truth. Though very unbelieving in regard to the sure word of prophecy, they manifest the utmost credulity in accepting anything detrimental to the Christian integrity of those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more as we near the close of time.
And what is our duty in view of this? Shall we conclude that the truth ought not to be presented, since its effect so often to arouse man to evade or resist its claims? - No, we have no more reason for withholding the testimony of God's word because it excites opposition than had Martin Luther. Luther declared himself to have been urged on, compelled by the Spirit of God, to battle against the evils of his time; and in the same manner must those labor who still carry forward the work of reform. To the servants of God at this time is the command addressed, "Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."
The true followers of Christ do not wait for truth too become popular. Being convinced of their duty, they deliberately accept the cross, and thus remove the greatest obstacle to the reception of truth, - the only argument which its advocates have never been able to refute. It is weak, inefficient world servers that think it praiseworthy to have no principle in religious things. We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God. To men of principle, faith, and daring, is the world indebted for its great reforms. By such men must the work of reform for this time be carried forward.
Thus saith the Lord: "Hearken unto Me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but My righteousness shall be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation." Isaiah 51:7, 8.
CHAPTER SUPPLEMENT - THE WEEKLY CYCLE
The writings of historians, the records of chronographers, the languages of earth, the calendars of time, and the existence of the Jewish race - all testify to the fact that the weekly cycle on our calendars today is the same as in earlier centuries - going back to the time of Christ, to Moses, and beyond.
In the beginning, God gave us the weekly seven-day cycle, with the Sabbath as the last day. That pattern has never changed. The seventh day of the week today is the true, Bible Sabbath. Our seventh day is the Sabbath which Jesus kept; it is the Sabbath in the time of Moses when the Ten Commandments were written down. Historians and scientists all agree that this is true.
If there had been any change in the weekly cycle, between the time of Creation - and the time of Moses, a correction would have been made when the Ten Commandments were given to the Hebrews. From that time, on down to the present, there have always been Jews to testify as to the true Sabbath. It is the same seventh day of the week which is on our calendars. While all the other ancient races are now intermingled, the Jews have been kept separate so they could testify to the fact that our seventh day is the Bible Sabbath!
The yearly cycle has been changed. In 1582, the length of the year was changed - to include the leap year. This changeover resulted in October 1582 having only 21 days! But each week remained the same seven days in length. Thursday, October 4, was followed by Friday, October 15. God has divinely protected the weekly cycle down through the ages. If He had not done this, it would be impossible to keep the - Sabbath holy, as He has commanded. But, because He has, we have no excuse not to. The seventh day is a holy day; made holy by the command of God. All calendars agree: the seventh day is Saturday. Sunday is the first day; the day called "Saturday" is the Sabbath.
Quite remarkably, in 108 of the 160 languages of mankind, the seventh day is called "the Sabbath"! Did you know that? Dr. William Mead Jones of London prepared a chart proving this. (A copy of this chart can be obtained free of charge from the publisher - of this book: ask for "The Chart of the Week" [BS-28-29]. English is one of the few major languages in which the seventh day is not called "the Sabbath".
Here are ten examples: Hebrew: Shabbath / Greek: Sabbaton / Latin: Sabbatum / Arabic: Assabit / Persian: Shambin / Russian: Subbota / Hindustani: Shambal / French: Samedi / Italian: Sabbato / Spanish: Sabado.
"By calculating the eclipses, it can be proven that no time has been lost and the creation days were seven, divided into 24 hours each" Dr Hinkley, The Watchman, July 1926 [Hinkley was a well-known astronomer].
"The human race never lost the septenary [seven day] sequence of week days and that the Sabbath of these latter times comes down to us from Adam, though the ages, without a single lapse".- Dr. Totten, professor of astronomy at Yale University. -
"Seven has been the ancient and honored number among the nations of the earth. They have measured their time by weeks from the beginning. The origin of this was the Sabbath of God, as Moses has given the reasons for it in his writings".- Dr. Lyman Coleman.
"There has been no change in our calendar in past centuries that has affected in any way the cycle of the week".- James Robertson, Director American Ephemeris, Navy Department, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1932.
"It can be said with assurance that not a day has been lost since Creation, and all the calendar changes notwithstanding, there has been no break in the weekly cycle".- Dr. Frank Jeffries, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Research Director of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England.
It is remarkable how complete is the Biblical and historical evidence corroborating the fact that the Bible Sabbath was given to us by the God of heaven. Let us keep the Sabbath that Jesus kept! He worshiped on the Bible Sabbath, and nevertold us to stop keeping it. No one else in the Bible said to either. The seventh day is the Sabbath, for God never changed it.
For a copy of the 256-page book, Beyond Pitcairn, explaining all about the Bible Sabbath, write to the publisher of this book.
"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claim 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, August, 1900.
"Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the [Roman Catholic] Church, has no good reason for its Sunday theory, and ought logically to keep Saturday as the Sabbath - John Gilmary Shea, in the American Catholic Quarterly Review, January 1883.
"It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church".- Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, NJ. News of March 18, 1903.
"Ques.- Have you any other way of proving that the [Catholic] Church has power to institute festivals of precept [to command holy days]?
"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 - Stephen Keenan, Doctrinal Catechism, p.176.
"Reason and common sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these two alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible".- The Catholic Mirror December23, 1893.
"God simply gave His [Catholic] Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days, as holy days - Vincent J. Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, p.2.
"Protestants... accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change... But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible, in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope - Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950.
"We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty".-Pope Leo XIII, in an Encyclical Letter, dated June 20, 1894.
"Not the Creator of the Universe, in Genesis 2:1-3, - but the Catholic Church can claim the honor of having granted man a pause to his work every seven days".- S.C. Mosna, Staria della Domenica, 1969, p.366-367.
"The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, hidden under veil of flesh".- The Catholic National, July 1895.
"If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church".- Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal, in a letter dated February 10, 1920.
"We define that the Holy Apostolic See (the Vatican) and the Roman Pontiff hold the primacy over the whole world".- A Decree of the Council of Trent, quoted in Philippe Labbe and Gabriel Cossart, "The Most Holy Councils", cal.1167.
"It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest [from the Bible Sabbath] to the Sunday... Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] Church".- Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk about the Protestantism of Today, p.213.
"We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday".- Peter Geiermann, CSSR, A Doctrinal Catechism, 1957 edition, p.50.
"We Catholics, then, have precisely the same authority for keeping Sunday holy instead of Saturday as we have for every other article of our creed, namely, the authority of the Church... whereas you who are Protestants have really no authority for it whatever; for there is no authority for it [Sunday sacredness] in the Bible, and you will not allow that there can be authority for it anywhere else".- The Brotherhood of St. Paul, "The Clifton tracts", Volume 4, tract 4, p.15.
"The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant - The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14, 1942, p.4.
The Bible is your only safe guide. Jesus can help you obey it. Trust God's Word more than man's traditions.
BAPTIST: "There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament - absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week".- Dr E.T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual.
CONGREGATIONALIST: "It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath... The Sabbath was founded on a specific divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday... There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday".- Dr R.W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, p.106-107.
PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL: "The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day... but as we meet with no Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by the authority of the church - The Protestant Episcopal Explanation of the Catechism.
BAPTIST: "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.
PRESBYTERIAN: "There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Ash Wednesday, or Lent, stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday. Into the REST of Sunday no Divine Law enters".- Canon Eyton, Ten Commandments.
ANGLICAN: "And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day".- Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, p.334,336.
METHODIST: "It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose. Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath base it only on a supposition".- Amos Binney, Theological Compendium, p.180-181.
EPISCOPALIAN: "We have made the change from the seventh to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, catholic, apostolic church of Christ".- Bishop Seymour, "Why We Keep Sunday".
SOUTHERN BAPTIST: "The sacred name of the seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to require argument [Exodus 20:10, quoted] On this point the plain teaching of the Word has been admitted in all ages... Not once did the disciples apply the Sabbath law to the first day of the week, - that folly was left for a later age, nor did they pretend that the first day supplanted the seventh".- Joseph Judson Taylor, The Sabbatic Question, p.14-17, 41.
AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST: "The current notion, that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament".- Dr. Lyman Abbot, in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890.
CHRISTIAN CHURCH: "Now there is no testimony in all the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath is changed, or that the Lord's Day came in the room of it".- Alexander Campbell, The Reporter, October 8, 1921.
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST: "There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day 'the Lord's Day'".- Dr. D.H. Lucas, Christian Oracle, January 23, 1890.
BAPTIST: "To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years discussion with His disciples, often conversing upon the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false [Jewish traditional] glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches, counseling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach the subject. "Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, then adopted and sanctified by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism".- Dr. E.T. Hiscox, report of his sermon at the Baptist Minister's Convention, New York Examiner, November 16, 1893.
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