by J. N. Andrews
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Part I: Bible History
Chapter 1: Creation Of The Sabbath
Chapter 2: The Institution Of The Sabbath
Chapter 3: The Sabbath Committed To The Hebrews
Chapter 4: The Fourth Commandment
Chapter 5: The Sabbath Written By The Finger Of God
Chapter 6: The Sabbath During The Day Of Temptation (Israel’s Time in the Wilderness)
Chapter 7: The Feasts, New Moons, And Sabbaths, Of The Hebrews
Chapter 8: The Sabbath From David To Nehemiah
Chapter 9: The Sabbath From Nehemiah To Christ
Chapter 10: The Sabbath During The Last Of The Seventy Weeks (Jesus and the Sabbath)
Chapter 11: The Sabbath During The Ministry Of The Apostles
Part II: Secular History (4th edition)
Chapter 12: Early Apostasy In The Church
Chapter 13: The First Witnesses For Sunday
Chapter 13a: The Sunday-Lord’s Day Not Traceable To The Apostles
Chapter 14: Examination Of A Famous Falsehood: Forged Chain of Sunday Evidence
Chapter 15: Origin Of First-Day Observance
Chapter 16: The Lord’s Day Of The Early Fathers
Chapter 17: The Civil Ecclesiastical Sunday
Chapter 18: The Legal Lord’s Day
Chapter 29: The Sabbath During The First Centuries
Chapter 20: Sunday Holiness During The Middle Ages
Chapter 21-1: Part One: Traces Of The Sabbath During The Dark Ages
Chapter 21-2: Part Two: The Church In The Wilderness
Chapter 22: Sunday The Distinctive Mark Of Papal Power
Chapter 23: The ‘Incomplete’ Sunday Of The Reformers
Chapter 24: Reformers And The Sabbath Command
Chapter 25: Sabbath-Keepers In The Fifteenth To Sixteenth Century
Chapter 26: Protestant Misappropriation Of The Fourth Commandment
Chapter 27: Sabbath From Sixteenth To Nineteenth Century
Chapter 28: God’s Holy Sabbath World-Wide
Chapter 29: International Sunday
Chapter 30: The Eternal Sabbath Rest
THE history of the Sabbath embraces the period of 6000 years. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. The acts which constituted it such were, first, the example of the Creator; secondly, his placing his blessing upon the day; and thirdly, the sanctification or divine appointment of the day to a holy use. The Sabbath, therefore, dates from the beginning of our world’s history. The first who Sabbatized on the seventh day is God the Creator; and the first seventh day of time is the day which he thus honored. The highest of all possible honors does, therefore, pertain to the seventh day. Nor is this honor confined to the first seventh day of time; for so soon as God had rested upon that day, he appointed the seventh day to a holy use, that man might hallow it in memory of his Creator.
This divine appointment grows out of the nature and fitness of things, and must have been made directly to Adam, for himself and wife were then the only beings who had the days of the week to use. As it was addressed to Adam while yet in his uprightness, it must have been given to him as the head of the human family. The fourth commandment bases all its authority upon this original mandate of the Creator, and must, therefore, be in substance what God commanded to Adam and Eve as the representatives of mankind.
The patriarchs could not possibly have been ignorant of the facts and the obligation which the fourth commandment shows to have originated in the beginning, for Adam was present with them for a period equal to more than half the Christian dispensation. Those, therefore, who walked with God in the observance of his commandments did certainly hallow his Sabbath.
The observers of the seventh day must therefore include the ancient godly patriarchs, and none will deny that they include also the prophets and the apostles. Indeed, the entire church of God embraced within the records of inspiration were Sabbath-keepers. To this number must be added the Son of God.
What a history, therefore, has the Sabbath of the Lord! It was instituted in Paradise, honored by several miracles each week for the space of forty years, proclaimed by the great Lawgiver from Sinai, observed by the Creator, the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and the Son of God! It constitutes the very heart of the law of God, and so long as that law endures, so long shall the authority of this sacred institution stand fast.
Such being the record of the seventh day, it may well be asked, How came it to pass that this day has been abased to the dust, and another day elevated to its sacred honors? The Scriptures nowhere attribute this work to the Son of God. They do, however, predict the great apostasy in the Christian church, and that the little horn, or man of sin, the lawless one, should think to change times and laws.
It is the object of the present volume to show, 1. The Bible record of the Sabbath; 2. The record of the Sabbath in secular history; 3. The record of the Sunday festival, and of the several steps by which it has usurped the place of the ancient Sabbath.
The writer has attempted to ascertain the exact truth in the case by consulting the original authorities as far as it has been possible to gain access to them. The margin will show to whom he is mainly indebted for the facts presented in this work, though it indicates only a very small part of the works consulted. He has given the exact words of the historians, and has endeavored, conscientiously, to present them in such a light as to do justice to the authors quoted.
It is not the fault of the writer that the history of the Sunday festival presents such an array of frauds and of iniquities in its support. These are, in the nature of the case, essential to its very existence, for the claim of a usurper is necessarily based in fraud. The responsibility for these rests with those who dare commit or uphold such acts. The ancient Sabbath of the Lord has never needed help of this kind, and never has its record been stained by fraud or falsehood.
—J. N. A., Battle Creek, Mich., Nov. 18, 1873
Time and eternity
The Creator and his work
Events of the first day of time
Of the second
Of the third
Of the fourth
Of the fifth
Of the sixth.
TIME, as distinguished from eternity, may be defined as that part of duration which is measured by the Bible. From the earliest date in the book of Genesis to the resurrection of the unjust at the end of the millennium, the period of about 7000 years is measured off.1 Before the commencement of this great week of time, duration without beginning fills the past; and at the expiration of this period, unending duration opens before the people of God. Eternity is that word which embraces duration without beginning and without end. And that Being whose existence comprehends eternity, is he who only hath immortality, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.2
When it pleased this infinite Being, he gave existence to our earth. Out of nothing God created all things;3 “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” This act of creation is that event which marks the commencement of the first week of time. He who could accomplish the whole work with one word chose rather to employ six days, and to accomplish the result by successive steps. Let us trace the footsteps of the Creator from the time when he laid the foundation of the earth until the close of the sixth day, when the heavens and the earth were finished, “and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”4
On the first day of time God created the heaven and the earth. The earth thus called into existence was without form, and void; and total darkness covered the Creator’s work. Then “God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” “And God divided the light from the darkness,” and called the one day, and other night.5
On the second day of time “God said, Let there be a firmament [margin, Heb., expansion] in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” The dry land had not yet appeared; consequently the earth was covered with water. As no atmosphere existed, thick vapors rested upon the the face of the water; but the atmosphere being now called into existence by the word of the Creator, causing those elements to unite which compose the air we breathe, the fogs and vapors that had rested upon the bosom of the water were borne aloft by it. This atmosphere or expansion is called heaven.6
On the third day of time God gathered the waters together and caused the dry land to appear. the gathering together of the waters God called seas; the dry land, thus rescued from the waters, he called earth. “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” “And God saw that it was good.”7
On the fourth day of time “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.” Light had been created on the first day of the week; and now on the fourth day he causes the sun and moon to appear as light-bearers, and places the light under their rule. And they continue unto this day according to his ordinances, for all are his servants. Such was the work of the fourth day. And the Great Architect, surveying what he had wrought, pronounced it good.8
On the fifth day of time “God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”9
On the sixth day of time “God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Thus the earth, having been fitted for the purpose, was filled with every order of living creature, while the air and waters teemed with animal existence. To complete this noble work of creation, God next provides a ruler, the representative of himself, and places all in subjection under him. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Last of all, God created Eve, the mother of all living. The work of the Creator was now complete. “The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Adam and Eve were in paradise; the tree of life bloomed on earth; sin had not entered our world, and death was not here, for there was no sin. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Thus ended the sixth day.10
Event of the seventh day
Why the Creator rested
Acts by which the Sabbath was made
Time and order of their occurrence
Meaning of the word sanctified
The fourth commandment refers the origin of the Sabbath to creation
The second mention of the Sabbath confirms this fact
The Saviour’s testimony
When did God sanctify the seventh day
Object of the Author of the Sabbath
Testimony of Josephus and of Philo
Negative argument from the book of Genesis considered
Adam’s knowledge of the Sabbath not difficult to be known by the patriarchs.
The work of the creator was finished, but the first week of time was not yet completed. Each of the six days had been distinguished by the Creator’s work upon it; but the seventh was rendered memorable in a very different manner. “And on the seventh1 day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” In yet stronger language it is written: “On the seventh day he rested, and was REFRESHED.”2
Thus the seventh day of the week became the rest-day of the Lord. How remarkable is this fact! “The everlasting God, The Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary.”3 He needed no rest; yet it is written, “On the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Why does not the record simply state the cessation of the Creator’s work? Why did he at the close of that work employ a day in rest? The answer will be learned from the next verse. He was laying the foundation of a divine institution, the memorial of his own great work.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” The fourth commandment states the same fact: He “rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”4
The blessing and sanctification of the seventh day were because that God had rested upon it. His resting upon it, then, was to lay the foundation for blessing and sanctifying the day. His being refreshed with this rest, implies that he delighted in the act which laid the foundation for the memorial of his great work.
The second act of the Creator in instituting this memorial was to place his blessing upon the day of his rest. Thence forward it was the blessed rest-day of the Lord. A third act completes the sacred institution. The day already blessed of God is now, last of all, sanctified or hallowed by him. To sanctify is “to separate, set apart, or appoint to a holy, sacred, or religious use.” To hallow is “to make holy; to consecrate; to set apart for a holy or religious use.”5
The time when these three acts were performed is worthy of especial notice. The first act was that of rest. This took place on the seventh day; for the day was employed in rest. The second and third acts took place when the seventh day was past. “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work.” Hence it was on the first day of the second week of time that God blessed the seventh day, and set it apart to a holy use. The blessing and sanctification of the seventh day, therefore, relate not to the first seventh day of time, but to the seventh day of the week for time to come, in memory of God’s rest on that day from the work of creation.
With the beginning of time, God began to count days, giving to each an ordinal number for its name. Seven different days receive as many different names. In memory of that which he did on the last of these days, he sets that apart by name to a holy use. This act gave existence to weeks, or periods of seven days. For with the seventh day, he ceased to count, and, by the divine appointment of that day to a holy use in memory of his rest thereon, he causes man to begin the count of a new week so soon as the first seventh day had ceased. And as God has been pleased to give man, in all, but seven different days, and has given to each one of these days a name which indicates its exact place in the week, his act of setting apart one of these by name, which act created weeks and gave man the Sabbath, can never—except by sophistry—be made to relate to an indefinite or uncertain day.
The days of the week are measured off by revolution of our earth on its axis; and hence our seventh day, as such, can come only to dwellers on this globe. To Adam and Eve, therefore, as inhabitants of this earth, and not to the inhabitants of some other world, were the days of the week given to use. Hence, when God set apart one of these days to a holy use in memory of his own rest on that day of the week, the very essence of the act consisted in his telling Adam that this day should be used only for sacred purposes. Adam was then in the garden of God, placed there by the Creator to dress it and to keep it. He was also commissioned of God to subdue the earth.6 When therefore the rest-day of the Lord should return, from week to week, all this secular employment, however proper in itself, must be laid aside, and the day observed in memory of the Creator’s rest.
Dr. Twisse quotes Martin Luther thus:
“And Martin Luther professeth as much (tome vi, in Gen.2:3). ‘It follows from hence,’ saith he, ‘that, if Adam had stood in his innocency, yet he should have kept the seventh day holy, that is, on that day he should have taught his children, and children’s children, what was the will of God, and wherein his worship did consist; he should have praised God, given thanks, and offered. On other days he should have tilled his ground, looked to his cattle.’”7
The Hebrew verb, kadash, here rendered sanctified, and in the fourth commandment rendered hallowed, is defined by Gesenius, “To pronounce holy, to sanctify; to institute any holy thing, to appoint.”8 It is repeatedly used in the Old Testament for a public appointment or proclamation. Thus, when the cities of refuge were set apart in Israel, it is written: “They appointed [margin, Heb., sanctified] Kedesh in Galilee in Mount Naphtali, and Shechem in Mount Ephraim,” &c. This sanctification or appointment of the cities of refuge was by a public announcement to Israel that these cities were set apart for that purpose. This verb is also used for the appointment of a public fast, and for the gathering of a solemn assembly. Thus it is written: “Sanctify [i.e., appoint] ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God.” “Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify [i.e., appoint] a fast, call a solemn assembly.” “And Jehu said, Proclaim [margin, Heb., sanctify] a solemn assembly for Baal.”9 This appointment for Baal was so public that all the worshipers of Baal in all Israel were gathered together. These fasts and solemn assemblies were sanctified or set apart by a public appointment or proclamation of the fact. When therefore God set apart the seventh day to a holy use, it was necessary that he should state that fact to those who had the days of the week to use. Without such announcement the day could not be set apart from the others.
But the most striking illustration of the meaning of this word may be found in the record of the sanctification of Mount Sinai.10 When God was about to speak the ten commandments in the hearing of all Israel, he sent Moses down from the top of Mount Sinai to restrain the people from touching the mount. “And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.” Turning back to the verse where God gave this charge to Moses, we read: “And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount or touch the border of it.” Hence to sanctify the mount was to command the people not to touch even the border of it; for God was about to descend in majesty upon it. In other words, to sanctify or set apart to a holy use Mount Sinai, was to tell the people that God would have them treat the mountain as sacred to himself. And thus also to sanctify the rest-day of the Lord was to tell Adam that he should treat the day as holy to the Lord.
The declaration, “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,” is not indeed a commandment for the observance of that day; but it is the record that such a precept was given to Adam.11 For how could the Creator “set apart to a holy use” the day of his rest, when those who were to use the day knew nothing of his will in the case? Let those answer who are able.
This view of the record in Genesis we shall find to be sustained by all the testimony in the Bible relative to the rest-day of the Lord. The facts which we have examined are the basis of the fourth commandment. Thus spake the great Law-giver from the summit of the flaming mount: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” “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.”12
The term Sabbath is transferred from the Hebrew language, and signifies rest.13 The command, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” is therefore exactly equivalent to saying, “Remember the rest-day, to keep it holy.” The explanation which follows sustains this statement: “The seventh day is the Sabbath [or rest-day] of the Lord thy God.” The origin of this rest-day is given in these words: “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.” That which is enjoined in the fourth commandment is to keep holy the rest-day of the Lord. And this is defined to be the day on which he rested from the work of creation. Moreover, the fourth commandment calls the seventh day the Sabbath day at the time when God blessed and hallowed that day; therefore the Sabbath is an institution dating from the foundation of the world. The fourth commandment points back to the creation for the origin of its obligation; and when we go back to that point, we find the substance of the fourth commandment given to Adam: “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it;” i.e., set it apart to a holy use. And in the commandment itself, the same fact is stated: “The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it;” i.e., appointed it to a holy use. The one statement affirms that “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it;” the other, that “the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” These two statements refer to the same acts. Because the word Sabbath does not occur in the first statement, it has been contended that the Sabbath did not originate at creation, it being the seventh day merely which was hallowed. From the second statement, it has been contended that God did not bless the seventh day at all, but simply the Sabbath institution. But both statements embody all the truth. God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; and this day thus blessed and hallowed was his holy Sabbath, or rest-day. Thus the fourth commandment establishes the origin of the Sabbath at creation.
The second mention of the Sabbath in the Bible furnishes a decisive confirmation of the testimonies already adduced. On the sixth day of the week, Moses, in the wilderness of Sin, said to Israel, “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.”14 What had been done to the seventh day since God blessed and sanctified it as his rest-day in paradise? Nothing. What did Moses do to the seventh day to make it the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord? Nothing. Moses on the sixth day simply states the fact that the morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord. The seventh day had been such ever since God blessed and hallowed the day of his rest.
The testimony of our divine Lord relative to the origin and design of the Sabbath is of peculiar importance. He is competent to testify, for he was with the father in the beginning of the creation.15 “The Sabbath was made for man,” said he, “not man for the Sabbath.”16 The following grammatical rule is worthy of notice: “A noun without an adjective is invariably taken in its broadest extension, as: Man is accountable.”17 The following texts will illustrate this rule, and also this statement of our Lord’s: “Man lieth down and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” “It is appointed unto men once to die.”18 In these texts man is used without restriction, and, therefore, all mankind are necessarily intended. The Sabbath was therefore made for the whole human family, and consequently originated with mankind. But the Saviour’s language is even yet more emphatic in the original: “The Sabbath was made for THE man, not THE man for the Sabbath.” This language fixes the mind on the man Adam, who was made of the dust of the ground just before the Sabbath was made for him, of the seventh day.
This is a striking confirmation of the fact already pointed out that the Sabbath was given to Adam, the head of the human family.
“The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; yet he made the Sabbath for man.” God made the Sabbath his by solemn appropriation, that he might convey it back to us under the guarantee of a divine charter, that none might rob us of it with impunity. ”
But is it not possible that God’s act of blessing and sanctifying the seventh day did not occur at the close of creation week? May it not be mentioned then because God designed that the day of his rest should be afterward observed? Or rather, as Moses wrote the book of Genesis long after the creation, might he not insert this account of the sanctification of the seventh day with the record of the first week, though the day itself was sanctified in his own time?
It is very certain that such an interpretation of the record cannot be admitted, unless the facts in the case demand it. For it is, to say the least, a forced explanation of the language. The record in Genesis, unless this be an exception, is a plain narrative of events. Thus what God did on each day is recorded in its order down to the seventh. It is certainly doing violence to the narrative to affirm that the record respecting the seventh day is of a different character from that respecting the other six. He rested the seventh day; he sanctified the seventh day because he had rested upon it. The reason why he should sanctify the seventh day existed when his rest was closed. To say, therefore, that God did not sanctify the day at that time, but did it in the days of Moses, is not only to distort the narrative, but to affirm that he neglected to do that for which the reason existed at creation, until twenty-five hundred years after.19
But we ask that the facts be brought forward which prove that the Sabbath was sanctified in the wilderness of Sin, and not at creation. And what are the facts that show this? It is confessed that such facts are not upon record. Their existence is assumed in order to sustain the theory that the Sabbath originated at the fall of the manna, and not in paradise.
Did God sanctify the Sabbath in the wilderness of Sin? There is no intimation of such fact. On the contrary, it is mentioned at that time as something already set apart of God. On the sixth day Moses said, “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” 20 Surely this is not the act of instituting the Sabbath, but the familiar mention of an existing fact. We pass on to Mount Sinai. Did God sanctify the Sabbath when he spoke the ten commandments? No one claims that he did. It is admitted by all that Moses spoke of it familiarly the previous month.21 Does the Lord at Sinai speak of the sanctification of the Sabbath? He does; but in the very language of Genesis he goes back for the sanctification of the Sabbath, not to the wilderness of Sin, but to the creation of the world.22 We ask those who hold the theory under examination, this question: If the Sabbath was not sanctified at creation, but was sanctified in the wilderness of Sin, why does the narrative in each instance23 record the sanctification of the Sabbath at creation and omit all mention of such fact in the wilderness of Sin? Nay, why does the record of events in the wilderness of Sin, show that the holy Sabbath was at that time already in existence? In a word, How can a theory subversive of all the facts in the record, be maintained as the truth of God?
We have seen the Sabbath ordained of God at the close of the creation week. The object of its Author is worthy of especial attention. Why did the Creator set up this memorial in paradise? Why did he set apart from the other days of the week that day which he had employed in rest? “Because that in it,” says the record, “he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” A rest necessarily implies a work performed. And hence the Sabbath was ordained of God as a memorial of the work of creation. And therefore that precept of the moral law which relates to this memorial, unlike every other precept of that law, begins with the word, “Remember.” The importance of this memorial will be appreciated when we learn from the Scriptures that it is the work of creation which is claimed by its Author as the great evidence of his eternal power and Godhead, and as that great fact which distinguishes him from all false gods. Thus it is written:
“He that built all things is God.” “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” “But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King.” “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Thus “the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”24
Such is the estimate which the Scriptures place upon the work of creation as evincing the eternal power and Godhead of the creator. The Sabbath stands as the memorial of this great work. Its observance is an act of grateful acknowledgment on the part of his intelligent creatures that he is their Creator, and that they owe all to him; and that for his pleasure they are and were created. How appropriate this observance for Adam! And when man had fallen, how important for his well being that he should “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” He would thus have been preserved from atheism and from idolatry; for he could never forget that there was a God from whom all things derived their being; nor could he worship as God any other being than the Creator.
The seventh day, as hallowed by God in Eden, was not Jewish, but divine; it was not the memorial of the flight of Israel from Egypt, but of the Creator’s rest. Nor is it true that the most distinguished Jewish writers deny the primeval origin of the Sabbath, or claim it as a Jewish memorial. We cite the historian Josephus and his learned contemporary, Philo Judaeus. Josephus, whose “Antiquities of the Jews” run parallel with the Bible from the beginning, when treating of the wilderness of Sin, makes no allusion whatever to the Sabbath, a clear proof that he had no idea that it originated in that wilderness. But when giving the account of creation, he bears the following testimony:
“Moses says that in just six days the world and all that is therein was made. And that the seventh day was a rest and a release from the labor of such operations; WHENCE it is that we celebrate a rest from our labor on that day, and call it the Sabbath; which word denotes rest in the Hebrew tongue.” 25
And Philo bears an emphatic testimony relative to the character of the Sabbath as a memorial. Thus he says:
“But after the whole world had been completed according to the perfect nature of the number six, the Father hallowed the day following, the seventh, praising it and calling it holy. For that day is the festival, not of one city or one country, but of all the earth; a day which alone it is right to call the day of festival for all people, and the birth-day of the world.”26
Nor was the rest-day of the Lord a shadow of man’s rest after his recovery from the fall. God will ever be worshiped in an understanding manner by his intelligent creatures. When therefore he set apart his rest-day to a holy use, if it was not as a memorial of his work, but as a shadow of man’s redemption from the fall, the real design of the institution must have been stated, and, as a consequence, man in his unfallen state could never observe the Sabbath as a delight, but ever with deep distress, as reminding him that he was soon to apostatize from God. Nor was the holy of the Lord and honorable, one of the “carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation;” 27 for there could be no reformation with unfallen beings.
But man did not continue in his uprightness. Paradise was lost, and Adam was excluded from the tree of life. The curse of God fell upon the earth, and death entered by sin, and passed upon all men.28 After this sad apostasy, no further mention of the Sabbath occurs until Moses on the sixth day said, “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.”
It is objected that there is no precept in the book of Genesis for the observance of the Sabbath, and consequently no obligation on the part of the patriarchs to observe it. There is a defect in this argument not noticed by those who use it. The book of Genesis was not a rule given to the patriarchs to walk by. On the contrary, it was written by Moses 2500 years after creation, and long after the patriarchs were dead. Consequently the fact that certain precepts were not found in Genesis is no evidence that they were not obligatory upon the patriarchs. Thus the book does not command men to love God with all their hearts, and their neighbours as themselves; nor does it prohibit idolatry, blasphemy, disobedience to parents, adultery, theft, false witness or covetousness. Who will affirm from this that the patriarchs were under no restraint in these things? As a mere record of events, written long after their occurrence, it was not necessary that the book should contain a moral code. But had the book been given to the patriarchs as a rule of life, it must of necessity have contained such a code. It is a fact worthy of especial notice that as soon as Moses reaches his own time in the book of Exodus, the whole moral law is given. The record and the people were then contemporary, and ever afterward the written law is in the hands of God’s people, as a rule of life, and a complete code of moral precepts.
The argument under consideration is unsound, 1. Because based upon the supposition that the book of Genesis was the rule of life for the patriarchs; 2. Because if carried out it would release the patriarchs from every precept of the moral law except the sixth.29 3. Because the act of God in setting apart his rest-day to a holy use, as we have seen, necessarily involves the fact that he gave a precept concerning it to Adam, in whose time it was thus set apart. And hence, though the book of Genesis contains no precept concerning the Sabbath, it does contain direct evidence that such precept was given to the head and representative of the human family.
After giving the institution of the Sabbath, the book of Genesis, in its brief record of 2370 years, does not again mention it. This has been urged as ample proof that those holy men, who, during this period, were perfect, and walked with God in observance of his commandments, statutes and laws,30 all lived in open profanation of that day which God had blessed and set apart to a holy use. But the book of Genesis also omits any distinct reference to the doctrine of future punishment, the resurrection of the body, the revelation of the Lord in flaming fire, and the Judgment of the great day. Does this silence prove that the patriarchs did not believe these great doctrines? Does it make them any the less sacred?
But the Sabbath is not mentioned from Moses to David, a period of five hundred years, during which it was enforced by the penalty of death. Does this prove that it was not observed during this period?31 The jubilee occupied a very prominent place in the typical system, yet in the whole Bible a single instance of its observance is not recorded. What is still more remarkable, there is not on record a single instance of the observance of the great day of atonement, notwithstanding the work in the holiest on that day was the most important service connected with the worldly sanctuary. And yet the observance of the other and less important festivals of the seventh month, which are so intimately connected with the day of atonement, the one preceding it by ten days, the other following it in five, is repeatedly and particularly recorded.32 It would be sophistry to argue from this silence respecting the day of atonement, when there were so many instances in which its mention was almost demanded, that that day was never observed; and yet it is actually a better argument than the similar one urged against the Sabbath from the book of Genesis.
The reckoning of time by weeks is derived from nothing in nature, but owes its existence to the divine appointment of the seventh day to a holy use in memory of the Lord’s rest from the six days’ work of creation.33 This period of time is marked only by the recurrence of the sanctified rest-day of the Creator. That the patriarchs reckoned time by weeks and by sevens of days, is evident from several texts.34 That they should retain the week and forget the Sabbath by which alone the week is marked, is not a probable conclusion. That the reckoning of the week was rightly kept is evident from the fact that in the wilderness of Sin on the sixth day the people, of their own accord, gathered a double portion of manna. And Moses said to them, “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.”35
The brevity of the record in Genesis causes us to overlook many facts of the deepest interest. Adam lived 930 years. How deep and absorbing the interest that must have existed in the human family to see the first man! To converse with one who had himself talked with God! To hear from his lips a description of that paradise in which he had lived! To learn from one created on the sixth day the wondrous events of the creation week! To hear from his lips the very words of the creator when he set apart his rest-day to a holy use! And to learn, alas! the sad story of the loss of paradise and the tree of life!36
It was therefore not difficult for the facts respecting the six days of creation and the sanctification of the rest-day to be diffused among mankind in the patriarchal age. Nay, it was impossible that it should be otherwise, especially among the godly. From Adam to Abraham a succession of men—probably inspired of God—preserved the knowledge of God upon earth. Thus Adam lived till Lamech, the father of Noah, was 56 years of age; Lamech lived till Shem, the son of Noah, was 93; Shem lived till Abraham was 150 years of age. Thus are we brought down to Abraham, the father of the faithful. Of him it is recorded that he obeyed God’s voice and kept his charge, his commandments, his statutes, and his laws. And of him the Most High bears the following testimony: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment.”37 The knowledge of God was preserved in the family of Abraham; and we shall next find the Sabbath familiarly mentioned among his posterity, as an existing institution.
Object of this chapter
Total apostasy of the human family in the antediluvian age
Destruction of mankind—The family of Noah spared
Second apostasy of mankind in the patriarchal age
The apostate nations left to their own ways
The family of Abraham chosen—Separated from the rest of mankind
Their history—Their relation to God
The Sabbath in existence when they came forth from Egypt
Analysis of Ex.16
The Sabbath committed to the Hebrews.
We are now to trace the history of divine truth for many ages in almost the exclusive connection with the family of Abraham. That we may vindicate the truth from the reproach of pertaining only to the Hebrews—a reproach often urged against the Sabbath—and justify the dealings of God with mankind in leaving to their own ways the apostate nations, let us carefully examine the Bible for the reasons which directed divine Providence in the choice of Abraham’s family as the depositaries of divine truth.
The antediluvian world had been highly favored of God. The period of life extended to each generation was twelve-fold that of the present age of man. For almost one thousand years, Adam, who had conversed with God in paradise, had been with them. Before the death of Adam, Enoch began his holy walk of three hundred years, and then he was translated that he should not see death. This testimony to the piety of Enoch was a powerful testimony to the antediluvians in behalf of truth and righteousness. Moreover the Spirit of God strove with mankind; but the perversity of man triumphed over all the gracious restraints of the Holy Spirit. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Even the sons of God joined in the general apostasy. At last a single family was all that remained of the worshipers of the Most High.1
Then came the deluge, sweeping the world of its guilty inhabitants with the besom of destruction.2 So terrible a display of divine justice might well be thought sufficient to restrain impiety for ages. Surely the family of Noah could not soon forget this awful lesson. But alas, revolt and apostasy speedily followed, and men turned from God to the worship of idols. Against the divine mandate separating the human family into nations,3 mankind united in one great act of rebellion in the plain of Shinar. “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Then God confounded them in their impiety and scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.4 Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge; wherefore God gave them over to a reprobate mind, and suffered them to change the truth of God into a lie, and to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. Such was the origin of idolatry and of the apostasy of the Gentiles.5
In the midst of this wide-spread apostasy on man was found whose heart was faithful with God. Abraham was chosen from an idolatrous family, as the depositary of divine truth, the father of the faithful, the heir of the world, and friend of God.6 When the worshipers of God were found alone in the family of Noah, God gave up the rest of mankind to perish in the flood. Now that the worshipers of God are again reduced almost to a single family, God gives up the idolatrous nations to their own ways, and takes the family of Abraham as his peculiar heritage. “For I know him,” said God, “that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to justice and judgment.”7 That they might preserve in the earth the knowledge of divine truth and the memory and worship of the Most High, they were to be a people walled off from all mankind, and dwelling in a land of their own. That they might thus be separated from the heathen around, God gave to Abraham the rite of circumcision, and afterward to his posterity the whole ceremonial law.8 But they could not possess the land designed for them until the iniquity of the Amorites, its inhabitants, was full that they should be thrust out before them. The horror of great darkness, and the smoking seen by Abraham in vision, foreshadowed the iron furnace and the bitter servitude of Egypt.
The family of Abraham must go down thither. Brief prosperity and long and terrible oppression follow.9 At length the power of the oppressor is broken, and the people of God are delivered. The expiration of four hundred and thirty years from the promise to Abraham marks the hour of deliverance to his posterity.10 The nation of Israel is brought forth from Egypt as God’s peculiar treasure, that he may give them his Sabbath, and his law, and himself. The psalmist testifies that God “brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: and gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labor of the people: that they might observe his statutes and keep his laws. And the Most High says, I am the Lord which hallow you, that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God.”11 Not that the commandments of God, his Sabbath and himself, had no prior existence, nor that the people were ignorant of the true God and his law; for the Sabbath was appointed to a holy use before the fall of man; and the commandments of God, his statutes and his laws, were kept by Abraham; and the Israelites themselves, when some of them had violated the Sabbath, were reproved by the question, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” 12 And as to the Most High, the psalmist exclaims, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”13 But there must be a formal public espousal of the people by God, and of his law and Sabbath and himself by the people.14 But neither the Sabbath, nor the law, nor the great Law-giver, by their connection with the Hebrews, became Jewish. The Law-giver indeed became the God of Israel,15 and what Gentile shall refuse him adoration for that reason? but the Sabbath still remained the Sabbath of the Lord,16 and the law continued to be the law of the Most High.
In the month following their passage through the Red Sea, the Hebrews came into the wilderness of Sin. It is at this point in his narrative that Moses for the second time mentions the sanctified rest-day of the Creator. The people murmured for bread:
“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily… I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp; and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna; for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing left over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning and it bred worms, and stank; and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating; and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread,17 two omers for one man; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said,18 To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to-day; for to-day is a Sabbath unto the Lord:19 to-day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.”20
This narrative shows,
“See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days:25 abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”26 As a special trust, God committed the Sabbath to the Hebrews. It was now given them, not now made for them. It was made for man at the close of the first week of time; but all other nations having turned from the Creator to the worship of idols, it is given the Hebrew people. Nor does this prove that all the Hebrews had hitherto disregarded it. For Christ uses the same language respecting circumcision. Thus he says, Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers.”27 Yet God had enjoined that ordinance upon Abraham and his family four hundred years previous to this gift of it by Moses, and it had been retained by them.28
The language, “The Lord hath given you the Sabbath,” implies a solemn act of committing a treasure to their trust. How was this done? No act of instituting the Sabbath here took place. No precept enjoining its observance was given until some of the people violated it, when it was given in the form of a reproof; which evinced a previous obligation, and that they were transgressing an existing law. And this view is certainly strengthened by the fact that no explanation of the institution was given to the people; a fact which indicates that some knowledge of the Sabbath was already in their possession.
But how then did God give them the Sabbath? He did this, first, by delivering them from the abject bondage of Egypt, where they were a nation of slaves. And second, by providing them food in such a manner as to impose the strongest obligation to keep the Sabbath. Forty years did he give them bread from heaven, sending it for six days, and withholding it on the seventh, and preserving food for them over the Sabbath. Thus was the Sabbath especially intrusted to them.
As a gift to the Hebrews, the Creator’s great memorial became s sign between God and themselves. “I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” As a sign, its object is stated to be, to make known the true God; and we are told why it was such a sign. “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”29 The institution itself signified that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Its observance by the people signified that the Creator was their God. How full of meaning was this sign!
The Sabbath was a sign between God and children of Israel, because they alone were the worshipers of the Creator. All other nations had turned from him to “the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth.”30 For this reason the memorial of the great Creator was committed to the Hebrews, and it became a sign between the Most High and themselves. Thus was the Sabbath a golden link uniting the Creator and his worshipers.
The holy One upon Mount Sinai
Three great gifts bestowed upon the Hebrews
The Sabbath proclaimed by the voice of God
Position assigned it in the moral law
Origin of the Sabbath
Definite character of the commandment
Name of the Sabbatic institution
Seventh day of the commandment identical with the seventh day of the New Testament week
Testimony of Nehemiah
Moral obligation of the fourth commandment.
And now we approach the record of that sublime event, the personal descent of the Lord upon mount Sinai. 1
The sixteenth chapter of Exodus, as we have seen, is remarkable for the fact that God gave to Israel the Sabbath; the nineteenth chapter, for the fact that God gave himself to that people in solemnly espousing them as a holy nation unto himself; while the twentieth chapter will be found remarkable for the act of the Most High in giving to Israel his law.
It is customary to speak against the Sabbath and the law as Jewish, because thus given to Israel. As well might the Creator be spoken against, who brought them out of Egypt to be their God, and who styles himself the God of Israel. 2 The Hebrews were honored by being thus intrusted with the Sabbath and the law, not the Sabbath and the law and the Creator rendered Jewish by this connection. The sacred writers speak of the high exaltation of Israel in being thus entrusted with the law of God.
“He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord!” “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” 3
After the Most High had solemnly espoused the people unto himself, as his peculiar treasure in the earth, 4 they were brought forth out of the camp to met with God. “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” Out of the midst of this fire did God proclaim the ten words of his law. 5
The fourth of these precepts is the grand law of the Sabbath. Thus spake the great Lawgiver:
“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 man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, 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.”
The estimate which the Law-giver placed upon his Sabbath is seen in that he deemed it worthy of a place in his code of ten commandments, thus causing it to stand in the midst of nine immutable moral precepts. Nor is this to thought a small honor that the Most High, naming one by one the great principles of morality until all are given, and he adds no more, 6 should include in their number the observance of his hallowed rest-day. This precept is expressly given to enforce the observance of the Creator’s great memorial; and unlike all the others, this one traces its obligation back to the creation, where that memorial was ordained.
The Sabbath is to be remembered and kept holy because that God hallowed it, i.e., appointed it to a holy use, at the close of the first week. And this sanctification or hallowing of the rest-day, when the first seventh day of time was past, was the solemn act of setting apart the seventh day for time to come in memory of the Creator’s rest. Thus the fourth commandment reaches back and embraces the institution of the Sabbath in paradise, while the Sanctification of the Sabbath in paradise extends forward to all coming time. The narrative respecting the wilderness of Sin admirably cements the union of the two. Thus in the wilderness of Sin, before the fourth commandment was given, stands the Sabbath, holy to the Lord, with an existing obligation to observe it, though no commandment in that narrative creates the obligation. This obligation is derived from the same source as the fourth commandment, namely, the sanctification of the Sabbath in paradise, showing that it was an existing duty, and not a new precept. For it should never be forgotten that the fourth commandment does not trace its obligation to the wilderness of Sin, but to the creation; a decisive proof that the Sabbath did not originate in the wilderness of Sin.
The fourth commandment is remarkably definite. It embraces, first, a precept: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy;” second, and explanation of this precept: “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 man-servant, nor thy maid-servant nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;” third, the reasons on which the precept is based, embracing the origin of the institution, and the very acts by which it was made, and enforcing all by the example 7 of the Law-giver himself: “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.”
The rest-day of the Lord is thus distinguished from the six days on which he labored. The blessing and sanctification pertain to the day of the Creator’s rest. There can be, therefore, no indefiniteness in the precept. It is not merely one day in seven, but that day in the seven on which the Creator rested, and upon which he placed his blessing, namely, the seventh day. 8 And this day is definitely pointed out in the name given it by God: “The seventh day is the Sabbath [i.e., the rest-day] of the Lord thy God.”
That the seventh day in the fourth commandment is the seventh day of the New Testament week may be plainly proved. In the record of our Lord’s burial, Luke writes thus:
“And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” 9
Luke testifies that these women kept “the Sabbath day according to the commandment.”
The Commandment says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” This day thus observed was the last or seventh day of the week, for the following 10 day was the first day of the week. Hence the seventh day of the commandment is the seventh day of the New Testament week.
The testimony of Nehemiah is deeply interesting. “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.” 11 It is remarkable that God is said to have made known the Sabbath when he thus came down upon the mount; for the children of Israel had the Sabbath in possession when they came to Sinai. This language must therefore refer to that complete unfolding of the Sabbatic institution which is given in the fourth commandment. And mark the expression: “Madest known 12 unto them thy holy Sabbath;” not madest the Sabbath for them:language which plainly implies its previous existence, and which cites the mind back to the Creator’s rest for the origin of the institution. 13
The moral obligation of the fourth commandment which is so often denied may be clearly shown by reference to the origin of all things. God created the world and gave existence to man upon it. To him he gave life and breath, and all things. Man therefore owes everything to God. Every faculty of his mind, every power of his being, all his strength and all his time belong of right to the Creator. It was therefore the benevolence of the Creator that gave to man six days for his own wants. And in setting apart the seventh day to a holy use in memory of his own rest, the Most High was reserving unto himself one of the seven days, when he could rightly claim all as his. The six days therefore are the gift of God to man, to be rightly employed in secular affairs, not the seventh day, the gift of man to God. The fourth Commandment, therefore, does not require man to give something of his own to God, but it does require that man should not appropriate to himself that which God has reserved for his own worship. To observe this day then is to render to God of the things that are his; to appropriate it to ourselves is simply to rob God.
Classification of the precepts given through Moses
The Sabbath renewed
Solemn ratification of the covenant between God and Israel
Moses called up to receive the law which God had written upon stone
Events of the forty days
The Sabbath becomes a sign between God and Israel
The penalty of death
The tables of testimony given to Moses—And broken when he saw the idolatry of the people
The idolaters punished
Moses goes up to renew the tables
The Sabbath again enjoined - The tables given again
The ten commandments were the testimony of God- Who wrote them
Three distinguished honors which pertain to the Sabbath
The ten commandments a complete code
Relation of the fourth commandment to the atonement
Valid reason why God himself should write that law which was placed beneath the mercy-seat.
When the voice of the Holy One had ceased, "the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." A brief interview follows1 in which God gives to Moses a series of precepts, which, as a sample of the statutes given through him, may be classified thus: Ceremonial precepts, pointing to the good things to come; judicial precepts, intended for the civil government of the nation; and moral precepts, stating anew in other forms the ten commandments.
In this brief interview the Sabbath is not forgotten:
“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.”2
This scripture furnishes incidental proof that the Sabbath was made for mankind, and for those creatures that share the labors of man. The stranger and the foreigner must keep it, and it was for their refreshment.3 But the same persons could not partake of the passover until they were made members of the Hebrew church by circumcision.4
When Moses had returned unto the people, he repeated all the words of the Lord. With one voice all the people exclaim, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” Then Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. “And he took the book of the covenant and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Then Moses “sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.”5
The way was thus prepared for God to bestow a second signal honor upon his law:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them… And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.6
And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.”7
During this forty days God gave to Moses a pattern of the ark in which to place the law that he had written upon stone, and of the mercy-seat to place over that law, and of the sanctuary in which to deposit the ark. He also ordained the priesthood, which was to minister in the sanctuary before the ark.8 These things being ordained, and the Law-giver about to commit his law as written by himself into the hands of Moses, he again enjoins the Sabbath:
“And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”9
This should be compared with the testimony of Ezekiel, speaking in the name of God:
“I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. … 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.”10
It will be observed that neither of these scriptures teach that the Sabbath was made for Israel, nor yet do they teach that it was made after the Hebrews came out of Egypt. In neither of these particulars do they even seem to contradict those texts that place the institution of the Sabbath at creation. But we do learn, 1. That it was God’s act of giving to the Hebrews his Sabbath that made it a sign between them and himself. “I gave them my Sabbaths TO BE a sign between me and them.” This act of committing to them the Sabbath has been noticed already.11 2. That it was to be a sign between God and the Hebrews, “that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Wherever the word LORD in the Old Testament is in small capitals, as in the texts under consideration, it is in the Hebrew, Jehovah. The Sabbath then as a sign signified that it was Jehovah, i.e., the infinite, self-existent God, who had sanctified them. To sanctify is to separate, set apart, or appoint, to a holy, sacred or religious use.12 That the Hebrew nation had thus been set apart in the most remarkable manner from all mankind, was sufficiently evident. But who was it that had thus separated them from all other people? As a gracious answer to this important question, God gave to the Hebrews his own hallowed rest-day. But how could the great memorial of the Creator determine such a question? Listen to the words of the Most High: “Verily my Sabbaths,” i.e., my rest-days, “ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you. … It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” The Sabbath as a sign between God and Israel, was a perpetual testimony that he who had separated them from all mankind as his peculiar treasure in the earth, was that Being who had created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. It was therefore the strongest possible assurance that he who sanctified them was indeed Jehovah.
From the days of Abraham God had set apart the Hebrews. He who had previously borne no local, national or family name, did from that time until the end of his covenant relation with the Hebrew race, take to himself such titles as seemed to show him to be their God alone. From his choice of Abraham and his family forward he designates himself as the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; the God of the Hebrews, and the God of Israel.13 He brought Israel out of Egypt to be their God,14 and at Sinai did join himself to them in solemn espousal. He did thus set apart or sanctify unto himself the Hebrews, because that all other nations had given themselves to idolatry. Thus the God of Heaven and earth condescended to give himself to a single race, and to set them apart from all mankind. It should be observed that it was not the Sabbath which had set Israel apart from all other nations, but it was the idolatry of all other nations that caused God to set the Hebrews apart for himself; and that God gave to Israel the Sabbath which he had hallowed for mankind at creation as the most expressive sign that he who thus sanctified them was indeed the living God.
It was the act of God in giving his Sabbath to the Israelites that rendered it a sign between them and himself. But the Sabbath did not derive its existence from being thus given to the Hebrews; for it was the ancient Sabbath of the Lord when given to them, and we have seen15 that it was not given by a new commandment. On the contrary, it rested at that time upon existing obligation. But it was the providence of God in behalf of the Hebrews, first in rescuing them from abject servitude, and second, in sending them bread from heaven for six days, and preserving food for the Sabbath, that constituted the Sabbath a gift to that people. And mark the significancy of the manner in which this gift was bestowed, as showing who it was that sanctified them. It became a gift to the Hebrews by the wonderful providence of the manna: a miracle that ceased not openly to declare the Sabbath every week for the space of forty years; thus showing incontrovertibly that He who led them was the author of the Sabbath, and therefore the Creator of heaven and earth. That the Sabbath which was made for man should thus be given to the Hebrews is certainly not more remarkable than that the God of the whole earth should give his oracles and himself to that people. The Most High and his law and Sabbath did not become Jewish; but the Hebrews were made the honored depositaries of divine truth; and the knowledge of God and of his commandments was preserved in the earth.
The reason on which this sign is based, points unmistakably to the true origin of the Sabbath. It did not originate from the fall of the manna for six days and its cessation on the seventh—for the manna was given thus because the Sabbath was in existence—but because that “in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Thus the Sabbath is shown to have originated with the rest and refreshment of the Creator, and not at the fall of the manna. As an INSTITUTION, the Sabbath declared its Author to be the Creator of heaven and earth; as a sign16 between God and Israel, it declared that he who had set them apart was indeed Jehovah.
The last act of the Law-giver in this memorable interview was to place in the hands of Moses the “two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Then he revealed to Moses the sad apostasy of the people of Israel, and hastened him down to them.
“And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the table were written on both their sides: on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables… And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”
Then Moses inflicted retribution upon the idolaters, “and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” And Moses returned unto God and interceded in behalf of the people. Then God promised that his angel should go with them, but that he himself would not go up in their midst lest he should consume them.17 Then Moses presented an earnest supplication to the Most High that he might see his glory. This petition was granted, saving that the face of God should not be seen.18
But before Moses ascended that he might behold the majesty of the infinite Law-giver, the Lord said unto him:
“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… And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in morning, and went up unto Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him.”
Then Moses beheld the glory of the Lord, and he “made haste and bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.” This interview lasted forty days and forty nights, as did the first, and seems to have been spent by Moses in intercession that God would not destroy the people for their sin.19 The record of this period is very brief, but in this record the Sabbath is mentioned. “Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.”20 Thus admonishing them not to forget in their busiest season the Sabbath of the Lord.
This second period of forty days ends like the first with the act of God in placing the tables of stone in the hands of Moses. “And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he21 wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” Thus it appears that the tables of testimony were two tables of stone with the commandments written upon them by the finger of god. Thus the testimony of God is shown to be the ten commandments. The writing on the second tables was an exact copy of that on the first. “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write,” said God, “upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” And of the first tables Moses says: “He declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.”22
Thus did God commit to his people the ten commandments. Without human or angelic agency he proclaimed them himself; and not trusting his most honored servant Moses, or even an angel of his presence, himself wrote them with his own finger. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” is one of the ten words thus honored by the Most High. Nor are these two high honors the only ones conferred upon this precept. While it shares them in common with the other nine commandments, it stands in advance of them in that it is established by the EXAMPLE of the Law-giver himself. These precepts were given upon two tables with evident reference to the two-fold division of the law of God; supreme love to God, and the love of our neighbor as ourselves. The Sabbath commandment, placed at the close of the first table, forms the golden clasp that binds together both divisions of the moral law. It guards and enforces that day which God claims as his; it follows man through the six days which God has given him to be properly spent in the various relations of life, thus extending over the whole of human life, and embracing in its loan of six days to man all the duties of the second table, while itself belonging to the first.
That these ten commandments form a complete code of moral law is proved by the language of the Law-giver when he called Moses up to himself to receive them. “Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written.”23 This law and commandments was the testimony of God engraven upon stone. The same great fact is presented by Moses in his blessing pronounced upon Israel: “And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them: he shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”24 There can be no dispute that in this language the Most High is represented as personally present with ten thousands of his holy ones, or angels. And that which he wrote with his own right hand is called by Moses “a fiery law,” or as the margin has it, “a fire of law.” And now the man of God completes his sacred trust. And thus he rehearses what God did in committing his law to him, and what he himself did in its final disposition: “And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.” Thus was the law of God deposited in the ark beneath the mercy-seat.25 Nor should this chapter close without pointing out the important relation of the fourth commandment to the atonement.
The top of the ark was called the mercy-seat, because all those who had broken the law contained in the ark beneath the mercy-seat, could find pardon by the sprinkling of the blood of atonement upon it.
The law within the ark was that which demanded an atonement; the ceremonial law which ordained the Levitical priesthood and the sacrifices for sin, was that which taught men how the atonement could be made. The broken law was beneath the mercy-seat; the blood of sin-offering was sprinkled upon its top, and pardon was extended to the penitent sinner. There was actual sin, and hence a real law which man had broken; but there was not a real atonement, and hence the need of the great antitype to the Levitical sacrifices. The real atonement when it is made must relate to that law respecting which an atonement had been shadowed forth. In other words, the shadowy atonement related to that law which was shut up in the ark, indicating that a real atonement was demanded by that law. It is necessary that the law which demands atonement, in order that its transgressor may be spared, should itself be perfect, else the fault would in part at least rest with the Law-giver, and not wholly with the sinner. Hence, the atonement when made does not take away the broken law, for that is perfect, but is expressly designed to take away the guilt of the transgressor.26 Let it be remembered then that the fourth commandment is one of the ten precepts of God’s broken law; one of the immutable holy principles that made the death of God’s only Son necessary before pardon could be extended to guilty man. these facts being borne in mind, it will not be thought strange that the Law-giver should reserve the proclamation of such a law to himself; and that he should intrust to no created being the writing of that law which should demand as its atonement the death of the Son of God.
General history of the Sabbath in the wilderness
Its violation by their children in the wilderness
Its violation one cause of excluding that generation from the promised land
The statute respecting fires upon the Sabbath
Various precepts relative to the Sabbath
The Sabbath not a Jewish feast
The man who gathered sticks upon the Sabbath
Appeal of Moses in behalf of the decalogue
The Sabbath not derived from the covenant at Horeb
Final appeal of Moses in behalf of the Sabbath
The original fourth commandment
The Sabbath not a memorial of the flight from Egypt
What words were engraven upon stone
General summary from the books of Moses
The history of the Sabbath during the provocation in the day of temptation in the wilderness when God was grieved for forty years with his people may be stated in few words. Even under the eye of Moses, and with the most stupendous miracles in their memory and before their eyes, they were idolaters,1 neglecters of sacrifices, neglecters of circumcision,2 murmurers against God, despisers of his law3 and violators of his Sabbath.
Of their treatment of the Sabbath while in the wilderness, Ezekiel gives us the following graphic description:
“But 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. But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.”4
This language shows a general violation of the Sabbath, and evidently refers to the apostasy of Israel during the first forty days that Moses was absent from them. God did then purpose their destruction; but at the intercession of Moses, spared them for the very reason assigned by the prophet.5 A further probation being granted them they signally failed a second time, so that God lifted up his hand to them that they should not enter the promised land. Thus the prophet continues:
“Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; BECAUSE they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my Sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.”
This language has undoubted reference to the act of God in excluding all that were over twenty years of age from entering the promised land.6 It is to be noticed that the violation of the Sabbath is distinctly stated as one of the reasons for which that generation were excluded from the land of promise. God spared the people so that the nation was not utterly cut off; for he extended to the younger part a further probation. Thus the prophet continues:
“But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: 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. 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. 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 father’s idols.”
Thus it appears that the younger generation, which God spared when he excluded their fathers from the land of promise, did, like their fathers, transgress God’s law, pollute his Sabbath, and cleave to idolatry. God did not see fit to exclude them from the land of Canaan, but he did lift up his hand to them in the wilderness, that he would give them up to dispersion among their enemies after they had entered the land of promise. Thus it is seen that the Hebrews while in the wilderness laid the foundation for their subsequent dispersion from their own land; and that one of the acts which led to their final ruin as a nation was the violation of the Sabbath before they had entered the promised land. Well might Moses say to them in the last month of his life: “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.”7 In Caleb and Joshua was another spirit, for they followed the Lord fully.8
Such is the general history of Sabbatic observance in the wilderness. Even the miracle of the manna, which every week for forty years bore public testimony to the Sabbath,9 became to the body of Hebrews a mere ordinary event, so that they dared to murmur against the bread thus sent from heaven;10 and we may well believe that those who were thus hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, had little regard for the testimony of the manna in behalf of the Sabbath.11 In the Mosaic record we next read of the Sabbath as follows:
And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.12 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day. 13
The chief feature of interest in this text relates to the prohibition of fires on the Sabbath. As this is the only prohibition of the kind in the Bible, and as it is often urged as a reason why the Sabbath should not be kept, a brief examination of the difficulty will not be out of place. It should be observed, 1. That this language does not form part of the fourth commandment, the grand law of the Sabbath. 2. That as there were laws pertaining to the Sabbath, that were no part of the Sabbatic institution, but that grew out of its being intrusted to the Hebrews, such as the law respecting the presentation of the shew-bread on the Sabbath; and that respecting the burnt-offering for the Sabbath:14 so it is at least possible that this is a precept pertaining only to that nation, and not a part of the original institution. 3. That as there were laws peculiar only to the Hebrews, so there were many that pertained to them only while they were in the wilderness. Such were all those precepts that related to the manna, the building of the tabernacle and the setting of it up, the manner of encamping about it, &c. 4. That of this class were all the statutes given from the time that Moses brought down the second tables of stone until the close of the book of Exodus, unless the words under consideration form an exception. 5. That the prohibition of fires was a law of this class, i.e., a law designed only for the wilderness, is evident from several decisive facts.
From these facts it follows that the favorite argument drawn from the prohibition of fires, that the Sabbath was a local institution, adapted only to the land of Canaan, must be abandoned; for it is evident that that prohibition was a temporary statute not even adapted to the land of promise, and not designed for that land. We next read of the Sabbath as follows:
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. … Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.”22
These constant references to the Sabbath contrast strikingly with the general disobedience of the people. And thus God speaks again:
“Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” 23
Thus does God solemnly designate his rest-day as a season of holy worship, and as the day of weekly religious assemblies. Again the great Law-giver sets forth his Sabbath:
“Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it; for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.”24
Happy would it have been for the people of God had they thus refrained from idolatry and sacredly regarded the rest-day of the Creator. Yet idolatry and Sabbath-breaking were so general in the wilderness that the generation which came forth from Egypt were excluded from the promised land.25 After God had thus cut off from the inheritance of the land the men who had rebelled against him,26 we next read of the Sabbath as follows:
“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him inward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.”27
The following facts should be considered in explaining this text: 1. That this was a case of peculiar guilt; for the whole congregation before whom this man stood in judgment, and by whom he was put to death, were themselves guilty of violating the Sabbath, and had just been excluded from the promised land for this and other sins.28 2. That this was not a case which came under the existing penalty of death for work upon the Sabbath; for the man was put in confinement that the mind of the Lord respecting his guilt might be obtained. The peculiarity of his transgression may be learned from the context. The verses which next precede the case in question read thus:
“But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.”29
These words being followed by this remarkable case were evidently designed to be illustrated by it. It is manifest, therefore, that this was an instance of presumptuous sin, in which the transgressor intended despite to the Spirit of grace and to the statutes of the Most High. This case cannot therefore be quoted as evidence of extraordinary strictness on the part of the Hebrews in observing the Sabbath; for we have direct evidence that they did greatly pollute it during the whole forty years of their sojourn in the wilderness.30 It stands therefore as an instance of transgression in which the sinner intended to show his contempt for the Law-giver, and in this consisted his peculiar guilt.31
In the last month of his long and eventful life Moses rehearsed all the great acts of God in behalf of his people, with the statutes and precepts that he had given them. This rehearsal is contained in the book of Deuteronomy, a name which signifies second law, and which is applied to that book, because it is a second writing of the law. It is the farewell of Moses to a disobedient and rebellious people; and he endeavors to fasten upon them the strongest possible sense of personal obligation to obey. Thus, when he is about to rehearse the ten commandments, he uses language evidently designed to impress upon the minds of the Hebrews a sense of their individual obligation to do what God had commanded. Thus he says:
“Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.”32
It was not the act of your fathers that placed this responsibility upon you, but your own individual acts that brought you into the bond of this covenant. You have personally pledged yourselves to the Most High to keep these precepts.33 Such is the obvious import of this language; yet it has been gravely adduced as proof that the Sabbath of the Lord was made for the Hebrews, and was not obligatory upon the patriarchs. The singularity of this deduction appears in that it is brought to bear against the fourth commandment alone; whereas, if it is a just and logical argument, it would show that the ancient patriarchs were under no obligation in respect to any precept of the moral law. But it is certain that the covenant at Horeb was simply an embodiment of the precepts of the moral law, with mutual pledges respecting them between God and the people, and that that covenant did not give existence to either of the ten commandments. At all events, we find the Sabbath ordained of God at the close of creation34 and obligatory upon the Hebrews in the wilderness before God had given them a new precept on the subject.35 As this was before the covenant at Horeb it is conclusive proof that the Sabbath did no more originate from that covenant than did the prohibition of idolatry, theft or murder.
The man of God then repeats the ten commandments. And thus he gives the fourth:
“Keep the Sabbath day, to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God commanded thee. Six days thou shalt 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, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, not any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou was a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.”36
It is a singular fact that this scripture is uniformly quoted by those who write against the Sabbath, as the original fourth commandment; while the original precept itself is carefully left out. Yet there is the strongest evidence that this is not the original precept; for Moses rehearses these words at the end of the forty years’ sojourn, whereas the original commandment was given in the third month after the departure from Eqypt.37 The commandment itself, as here given, contains direct proof on the point. Thus it reads; “Keep the Sabbath day, to sanctify it, AS the Lord thy God HATH COMMANDED thee;” thus citing elsewhere for the original statute. Moreover the precept as here given is evidently incomplete. It contains no clue to the origin of the Sabbath of the Lord, nor does it show the acts by which the Sabbath came into existence. This is why those who represent the Sabbath as made in the wilderness and not at creation quote this as the fourth commandment, and omit the original precept, which God himself proclaimed, where all these facts are distinctly stated.38
But while Moses in this rehearsal omits a large part of the fourth commandment, he refers to the original precept of the whole matter, and then appends to this rehearsal a powerful plea of obligation on the part of the Hebrews to keep the Sabbath. It should be remembered that many of the people had steadily persisted in the violation of the Sabbath, and that this is the last time that Moses speaks in its behalf. Thus he says:
“And remember that thou was a servant in the land of Egypt, and that Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.”
These words are often cited as proof that the Sabbath originated at the departure of Israel from Egypt, and that it was ordained at that time as a memorial of their deliverance from thence. But it will be observed, 1. That this text says not one word respecting the origin of the Sabbath or rest-day of the Lord. 2. That the facts on this point are all given in the original fourth commandment, and are there referred to creation. 3. That there is no reason to believe that God rested upon the seventh day at the time of this flight from Egypt; nor did he then bless and hallow the day. 4. That the Sabbath has nothing in it of a kind to commemorate the deliverance from Egypt, as that was a flight and this is a rest; and that flight was upon the fifteenth of the first month, and this rest, upon the seventh day of each week. Thus one would occur annually; the other, weekly. 5. But God did ordain a fitting memorial of that deliverance to be observe by the Hebrews: the passover, on the fourteenth day of the first month, in memory of God’s passing over them when he smote the Egyptians; and the feast of unleavened bread, in memory of their eating this bread when they fled out of Egypt.39
But what then do these words imply? Perhaps their meaning may be more readily perceived by comparing them with an exact parallel found in the same book and from the pen of the same writer:
“Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge; but thou shalt remember that thou was a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence; therefore I command thee to do this thing.”40
It will be seen at a glance that this precept was not given to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage; nor could that deliverance give existence to the moral obligation expressed in it. If the language in the one case proves that men were not under obligation to keep the Sabbath before the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, it proves with equal conclusiveness in the other that before that deliverance they were not under obligation to treat with justice and mercy the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. And if the Sabbath is shown in the case to be Jewish, in the other, the statute of the great Law-giver in behalf of the needy and the helpless must share the same fate. It is manifest that this language is in each case an appeal to their sense of gratitude. You were slaves in Egypt, and God rescued you; therefore remember others who are in distress, and oppress them not. You were bondmen in Egypt, and God redeemed you; therefore sanctify unto the Lord the day which he has reserved unto himself; a most powerful appeal to those who had hitherto persisted in polluting it. Deliverance from abject servitude was necessary, indeed, in each case, in order that the things enjoined might be fully observed; but that deliverance did not give existence to either of theses duties. It was indeed one of the acts by which the Sabbath of the Lord was given to that nation, but it was not one of the acts by which God made the Sabbath, nor did it render the rest-day of the Lord a Jewish institution.
That the words engraven upon stone were simply the ten commandments is evident.
It is said of the first tables:
“And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.”41
Thus the first tables of stone contained the ten commandments alone. That the second tables were an exact copy of what was written upon the first, is plainly stated:
“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 breakest.” “And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou breakest and thou shalt put them in the ark.”42
This is confirmed by the following decisive testimony:
“And he wrote upon the table the words of the covenant, the ten commandments,” margin, Heb., “words.” “And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments [margin, words], which the Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me.”43
These texts will explain the following language: “And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.”44 Thus God is said to have written upon the tables according to all the words which he spoke in the day of the assemble; and these words which he thus wrote, are said to have been TEN WORDS. But the preface to the decalogue was not one of these ten words, and hence was not written by the finger of God upon stone. That this distinction must be attended to, will be seen by examining the following text and its connection:
“THESE WORDS the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”45
THESE WORDS here brought to view as written by the finger of God after having been uttered by him in the hearing of all the people, must be understood as one of two things. 1. They are simply the ten words of the law of God; or, 2. They are the words used by Moses in this rehearsal of the decalogue. But they cannot refer to the words used in this rehearsal; for, 1. Moses omits an important part of the fourth precept as given by God in its proclamation from the mount. 2. In this rehearsal of that precept he cites back to the original for that which is omitted.46 3. He appends to this precept an appeal in its behalf to their gratitude which was not made by God in giving it. 4. This language only purports to be a rehearsal and not the original itself; and this is further evinced by many verbal deviations from the original decalogue.47 These facts are decisive as to what was placed upon the tables of stone. It was not an incomplete copy, citing elsewhere for the original, but the original code itself. And hence when Moses speaks of THESE WORDS as engraven upon the tables, he refers not to the words used by himself in this rehearsal, but to the TEN WORDS of the law of God, and excludes all else.
Thus have we traced the Sabbath through the books of Moses. We have found its origin in paradise when man was in his uprightness; we have seen the Hebrews set apart from all mankind as the depositaries of divine truth; we have seen the Sabbath and the whole moral law committed as a sacred trust to them; we have seen the Sabbath proclaimed by God as one of the ten commandments; we have seen it written by the finger of God upon stone in the bosom of the moral law; we have sen that law possessing no Jewish, but simply moral and divine, features, placed beneath the mercy-seat in the ark of God’s testament; we have seen that various precepts pertaining to the Sabbath were given to the Hebrews and designed only for them; we have seen that the Hebrews did greatly pollute the Sabbath during their sojourn in the wilderness; and we have heard the final appeal made in its behalf by Moses to that rebellious people.
We rest the foundation of the Sabbatic institution upon its sanctification before the fall of man; the fourth commandment is its great citadel of defense; its place in the midst of the moral law beneath the mercy-seat shows its relation to the atonement and its immutable obligation.
Enumeration of the Hebrew festivals
The Feast of Tabernacles
The New Moons
The First and Second Annual Sabbaths
The Third—The fourth—The fifth—The sixth and seventh
The sabbath of the land
None of these festivals in force until the Hebrews entered their own land
The contrast between the Sabbath of the Lord and the sabbaths of the Hebrews
Testimony of Isaiah—Of Hosea—Of Jeremiah
Final cessation of these festivals.
We have followed the Sabbath of the Lord through the books of Moses. A brief survey of the Jewish festivals is necessary to the complete view of the subject before us. Of these there were three feasts: the passover, the Pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles; each new moon, that is, the first day of each month throughout the year; then there were seven annual sabbaths, namely,
The passover takes its name from the fact that the angel of the Lord passed over the houses of the Hebrews on that eventful night when the firstborn in every Egyptian family was slain. This feast was ordained in commemoration of the deliverance of that people from Egyptian bondage. It began with the slaying of the paschal lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month, and extended through a period of seven days, in which nothing but unleavened bread was to be eaten. Its great antitype was reached when Christ our passover was sacrificed for us. 1
The Pentecost was the second of the Jewish feasts, and occupied but a single day. It was celebrated on the fiftieth day after the first-fruits of barley harvest had been waved before the Lord. At the time of this feast the first-fruits of wheat harvest were offered unto God. The antitype of this festival was reached on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Christ, when the great outpouring of the Holy Ghost took place. 2
The feast of tabernacles was the last of the Jewish feast. It was celebrated in the seventh month when they had gathered in the fruit of the land, and extended from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of that month. It was ordained as a festival of rejoicing before the Lord; and during this period the children of Israel dwelt in booths in commemoration of their dwelling thus during their sojourn in the wilderness. It probably typifies the great rejoicing after the final gathering of all the people of God into his kingdom. 3
In connection with these feast it was ordained that each new moon, that is, the first day of every month, should be observed with certain specified offerings, and with tokens of rejoicing. 4 The annual sabbaths of the Hebrews have been already enumerated. The first two of these sabbaths were the first and seventh days of the feast of unleavened bread, that is, the fifteenth and twenty-first days of the first month. they were thus ordained by God:
“Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses… And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.” 5
The third in order of the annual sabbaths was the day of Pentecost. This festival was ordained as a rest-day in the following language:
“And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein; it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.” 6
The first day of the seventh month was the fourth annual sabbath of the Hebrews. It was thus ordained:
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein; but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” 7
The great day of atonement was the fifth of these sabbaths. Thus spake the Lord unto Moses:
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement; it shall be an holy convocation unto you… Ye shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” 8
The sixth and seventh of these annual sabbaths were the fifteenth and twenty-second days of the seventh month, that is, the first day of the feast of tabernacles, and the day after its conclusion. Thus were they enjoined by God:
“Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days; on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be sabbath.” 9
Besides all these, every seventh year was a sabbath of rest unto the land. The people might labor as usual in other business, but they were forbidden to till the land, that the land itself might rest. 10 After seven of these sabbaths, the following or fiftieth year was to be the year of jubilee, in which every man was to be restored unto his inheritance. 11 There is no evidence that the jubilee was ever observed, and it is certain that the sabbatical year was almost entirely disregarded. 12
Such were the feasts, new moons, and sabbaths, of the Hebrews. A few words will suffice to point out the broad distinction between them and the Sabbath of the Lord. The first of the three feasts was ordained in memory of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and was to be observed when they should enter their own land. 13 The second feast, as we have seen, could not be observed until after the settlement of the Hebrews in Canaan; for it was to be celebrated when the first fruits of wheat harvest should be offered before the Lord. The third feast was ordained in memory of their sojourn in the wilderness, and was to be celebrated by them each year after the ingathering of the entire harvest. Of course this feast, like the others, could not be observed until the settlement of the people in their own land. The new moons, as has been already seen, were not ordained until after these feasts had been instituted. The annual sabbaths were part and parcel of these feasts, and could have no existence until after the feasts to which they belonged had been instituted. Thus the first and second of these sabbaths were the first and seventh days of the paschal feast. The third annual sabbath was identical with the feast of Pentecost. The fourth of these sabbaths was the same as the new moon in the seventh month. The fifth one was the great day of atonement. The sixth and the seventh of these annual sabbaths were the fifteenth and twenty-second days of the seventh month, that is, the first day of the feast of tabernacles, and the next day after the close of that feast. As these feasts were not to be observed until the Hebrews should possess their own land, the annual sabbaths could have no existence until that time. And so of the sabbaths of the land. These could have no existence until after the Hebrews should possess and cultivate their own land; after six years of cultivation, the land should rest the seventh year, and remain untilled. After seven of these sabbaths of the land came the year of jubilee.
The contrast between the Sabbath of the Lord and these sabbaths of the Hebrews 14 is strongly marked.
“These are the feast of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, … BESIDE the Sabbaths of the Lord.” 17
The annual sabbaths are presented by Isaiah in a very different light from that in which he presents the Sabbath of the Lord. Of the one he says:
“Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” 18
In striking contrast with this, the same prophet speaks of the Lord’s Sabbath;
“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” 19
Hosea carefully designates the annual sabbaths in the following prediction:
“I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, her new moons, and HER sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” 20
This prediction was uttered about B.C. 785. It was fulfilled in part about two hundred years after this, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Of this event, Jeremiah, about B.C. 588, speaks as follows:
“Her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at HER sabbaths. … The Lord was as an enemy; he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces; he hath destroyed his strongholds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation. And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden; he hath destroyed his places of the assembly; the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast.” 21
The feasts of the Lord were to be holden in the place which the Lord should choose, namely, Jerusalem; 22 and when that city, the place of their solemn assemblies, was destroyed and the people themselves carried into captivity, the complete cessation of their feasts, and, as a consequence, of the annual sabbaths, which were specified days in those feasts, must occur. The adversaries mocked at her sabbaths, by making a “noise in the house of the Lord as in the day of a solemn feast.” But the observance of the Lord’s Sabbath did not cease with the dispersion of the Hebrews from their own land; for it was not a local institution, like the annual sabbaths. Its violation was one chief cause of the Babylonish captivity; 23 and their final restoration to their own land was made conditional upon their observing it in their dispersion. 24 The feasts, new moons, and annual sabbaths, were restored when the Hebrews returned from captivity, and with some interruptions, were kept up until the final destruction of their city and nation by the Romans. But ere the providence of God thus struck out of existence these Jewish festivals, the whole typical system was abolished, having reached the commencement of its antitype, when our Lord Jesus Christ expired upon the cross. The handwriting of ordinances being thus abolished, no one is to be judged respecting its meats, or drinks, or holy days, or new moons, or sabbaths, “which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” But the Sabbath of the Lord did not form a part of this handwriting of ordinances; for it was instituted before sin had entered the world, and consequently before there was any shadow of redemption; it was written by the finger of God, not in the midst of types and shadows, but in the bosom of the moral law; and the day following that on which the typical sabbaths were nailed to the cross, the Sabbath commandment of the moral law is expressly recognized. Moreover, when the Jewish festivals were utterly extinguished with the final destruction of Jerusalem, even then was the Sabbath of the Lord brought to the minds of his people. 25 Thus have we traced the annual sabbaths until their final cessation, as predicted by Hosea. It remains that we trace the Sabbath of the Lord until we reach the endless ages of the new earth, when we shall find the whole multitude of the redeemed assembling before God for worship on each successive Sabbath.
Silence of six successive books of the Bible relative to the Sabbath
This silence compared to that of the book of Genesis
The siege of Jericho
The standing still of the sun
David’s act of eating the shew-bread
The Sabbath of the Lord, how connected with and how distinguished from the annual sabbaths
Earliest reference to the Sabbath after the days of Moses
Incidental allusions to the Sabbath
Testimony of Amos—Of Isaiah
The Sabbath a blessing to MANKIND
The condition of being gathered to the holy land
Not a local institution
Commentary on the fourth commandment
Testimony of Jeremiah
Jerusalem to be saved if she would keep the Sabbath
This gracious offer despised
The Sabbath distinguished from the other days of the week
The Sabbath after the Babylonish captivity
Time for the commencing of the Sabbath
The violation of the Sabbath caused the destruction of Jerusalem.
When we leave the books of Moses there is a long-continued break in the history of the Sabbath. 1 No mention of it is found in the book of Joshua, nor in that of Judges, nor in the book of Ruth, nor in that of first Samuel, nor in the book of second Samuel, nor in that of first Kings. It is not until we reach the book of second Kings1 that the Sabbath is even mentioned. In the book of first Chronicles, however, which as a narrative is parallel to the two books of Samuel, the Sabbath is mentioned 2 with reference to the events of David’s life. Yet this leaves a period of five hundred years, which the Bible passes in silence respecting the Sabbath.
During this period we have a circumstantial history of the Hebrew people from their entrance into the promised land forward to the establishment of David as their king, embracing many particulars in the life of Joshua, of the elders and judges of Israel, of Gideon, of Barak, of Jephthah, of Samson, of Eli, of Naomi and Ruth, of Hannah and Samuel, of Saul, of Jonathan and of David. Yet in all this minute record we have no direct mention of the Sabbath.
It is a favorite argument with anti-Sabbatarians in proof of the total neglect of the Sabbath in the patriarchal age, that the book of Genesis, which does give a distinct view of the origin of the Sabbath in Paradise, at the close of the first week of time, does not in recording the lives of the patriarchs, say anything relative to its observance. Yet in that one book are crowded the events of two thousand three hundred and seventy years. What then should they say of the fact that six successive books of the Bible, relating with comparative minuteness the events of five hundred years, and involving many circumstances that would call out a mention of the Sabbath, do not mention it at all? Does the silence of one book, which nevertheless does give the institution of the Sabbath at its very commencement, and which brings into its record almost twenty-four hundred years, prove that there were no Sabbath-keepers prior to Moses? What then is proved by the fact that six successive books of the Bible, confining themselves to the events of five hundred years, an average of less than one hundred years apiece, the whole period covered by them being about one-fifth that embraced in the book of Genesis, do nevertheless preserve total silence respecting the Sabbath?
No one will adduce this silence as evidence of total neglect of the Sabbath during this period; yet why should they not? Is it because that when the narrative after this long silence brings in the Sabbath again, it does this incidentally and not as a new institution? Precisely such is the case with the second mention of the Sabbath in the Mosaic record, that is, with its mention after the silence in Genesis. 3 Is it because the fourth commandment had been given to the Hebrews whereas no such precept had previously been given to mankind? This answer cannot be admitted, for we have seen that the substance of the fourth commandment was given to the head of the human family; and it is certain that when the Hebrews came out of Egypt they were under obligation to keep the Sabbath in consequence of existing law. 4 The argument therefore is certainly more conclusive that there were no Sabbath-keepers from Moses to David, than that there were none from Adam to Moses; yet no one will attempt to maintain the first position, however many there will be to affirm the latter.
Several facts are narrated in the history of this period of five centuries that have a claim to our notice. The first of these is found in the record of the siege of Jericho. 5 By the command of God the city was encompassed by the Hebrews each day for seven days; on the last day of the seven they encompassed it seven times, when by divine interposition the walls were thrown down before them and the city taken by assault. One day of this seven must have been the Sabbath of the Lord. Did not the people of God therefore violate the Sabbath in their acting thus? Let the following facts answer:
“It does not appear that there could be any breach in the Sabbath by the people simply going round the city, the ark in company, and the priests sounding the sacred trumpets. This was a mere religious procession, performed at the command of God, in which no servile work was done.” 6
At the word of Joshua it pleased God to arrest the earth in its revolution, and thus to cause the sun to remain stationary for a season, that the Canaanites might be overthrown before Israel. 7 Did not this great miracle derange the Sabbath? Not at all; for the lengthening of one of the six days by God’s intervention could not prevent the actual arrival of the seventh day, though it would delay it; nor could it destroy its identity. The case involves a difficulty for those who hold the theory that God sanctified the seventh part of time, and not the seventh day; for in this case the seventh part of time was not allotted to the Sabbath; but there is no difficulty involved for those who believe that God set apart the seventh day to be kept as it arrives, in memory of his own rest. One of the six days was allotted a greater length than ever before or since; yet this did not in the slightest degree conflict with the seventh day, which nevertheless did come. Moreover all this was while inspired men were upon the stage of action; and it was by the direct providence of God; and what is also to be particularly remembered, it was at a time when no one will deny that the fourth commandment was in full force.
The case of David’s eating the shew-bread is worthy of notice, as it probably took place upon the Sabbath, and because it is cited by our Lord in a memorable conversation with the Pharisees. 8 The law of the shew-bread enjoined the setting forth of twelve loaves in the sanctuary upon the pure table before the Lord EVERY Sabbath. 9 When new bread was thus placed before the Lord each Sabbath, the old was taken away to be eaten by the priests. 10 It appears that the shew-bread which was given to David had that day been taken from before the Lord to put hot bread in its place, and consequently that day was the Sabbath. Thus, when David asked bread, the priest said, “There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread.” And David said, “The bread is in a manner common, especially [as the margin has it] when THIS DAY there is other sanctified in the vessel.” And so the sacred writer adds: “The priest gave him hallowed bread; for there was no bread there but the shew-bread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.” The circumstances of this case all favor the view that this was upon the Sabbath.
A distinction may be here pointed out, which should never be lost sight of. The presentation of the shew-bread and the offering of burnt sacrifices upon the Sabbath as ordained in the ceremonial law, formed no part of the original Sabbatic institution. For the Sabbath was made before the fall of man; while burnt-offerings and ceremonial rites in the sanctuary were introduced in consequence of the fall. While these rites were in force they necessarily, to some extent, connected the Sabbath with the festivals of the Jews in which the like offerings were made. This is seen only in those scriptures which record the provision made for these offerings. 12 When the ceremonial law was nailed to the cross, all the Jewish festivals ceased to exist; for they were ordained by it; 13 but the abrogation of that law could only take away those rites which it had appended to the Sabbath, leaving the original institution precisely as it came at first from its author.
The earliest reference to the Sabbath after the days of Moses is found in what David and Samuel ordained respecting the offices of the priests and Levites at the house of God. It is as follows:
“And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shew-bread, to prepare it every Sabbath.” 14
It will be observed that this is only an incidental mention of the Sabbath. Such an allusion, occurring after so long a silence, is decisive proof that the Sabbath had not been forgotten or lost during the five centuries in which it had not been mentioned by the sacred historians. After this no direct mention of the Sabbath is found from the days of David to those of Elisha the prophet, a period of about one hundred and fifty years. Perhaps the ninety-second psalm is an exception to this statement, as its title, both in Hebrew and English, declares that it was written for the Sabbath day; 15 and it is not improbable that it was composed by David, the sweet singer of Israel.
The son of the Shunammite woman being dead, she sought the prophet Elisha. Her husband not knowing that the child was dead said to her:
“Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day? It is neither new moon, nor Sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.” 16
It is probable that the Sabbath of the Lord is here intended, as it is thrice used in a like connection. 17 If this be correct, it shows that the Hebrews were accustomed to visit the prophets of God upon that day for divine instruction; a very good commentary upon the words used relative to gathering the manna: “Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 18 Incidental allusion is made to the Sabbath at the accession of Jehoash to the throne of Judah, 19 about B.C. 778. In the reign of Uzziah, the grandson of Jehoash, the prophet Amos, B.C. 787, uses the following language:
“Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?” 20
These words were spoken more directly concerning the ten tribes, and indicate the sad state of apostasy which soon after resulted in their overthrow as a people. About fifty years after this, at the close of the reign of Ahaz, another allusion to the Sabbath is found. 21 In the days of Hezekiah, about B.C. 712, the prophet Isaiah uses the following language in enforcing the Sabbath:
“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant, even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls, a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” 22
This prophecy presents several features of peculiar interest.
Isaiah again presents the Sabbath; and this he does in language most emphatically distinguishing it from all ceremonial institutions. Thus he says:
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” 27
This language is an evangelical commentary upon the fourth commandment. It appends to it an exceeding great and precious promise that takes hold upon the land promised to Jacob, even the new earth. 28
In the year B. C. 601, thirteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, God made to the Jewish people through Jeremiah the gracious offer, that if they would keep his Sabbath, their city should stand forever. At the same time he testified unto them that if they would not do this, their city should be utterly destroyed. Thus said the prophet:
“Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: Thus saith the Lord: Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;29 neither carry forth a burden30 out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ears, but made their necks stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. 31 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall *REMAIN FOREVER.* And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and meat-offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the Lord. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” 32
This gracious offer of the Most High to his rebellious people was not regarded by them; for eight years after this Ezekiel testifies thus:
“In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow. Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my Sabbaths… Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them… Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my Sabbaths. For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.” 33
Idolatry and Sabbath-breaking, which were besetting sins with the Hebrews in the wilderness, and which there laid the foundation for their dispersion from their own land, 34 had ever cleaved unto them. And now when their destruction was impending from the overwhelming power of the king of Babylon, they were so deeply attached to these and kindred sins, that they would not regard the voice of warning. Before entering the sanctuary of God upon his Sabbath, they first slew their own children in sacrifice to their idols! 35 Thus iniquity came to its hight, and wrath came upon them to the uttermost.
“They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the kind, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon, and they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the king of Persia.” 36
While the Hebrews were in captivity at Babylon, God made to them an offer of restoring them to their own land and giving them again a city and a temple under circumstances of wonderful glory. 37 The condition of that offer being disregarded, 38 the offered glory was never inherited by them. In this offer were several allusions to the Sabbath of the Lord, and also to the festivals of the Hebrews. 39 One of these allusions is worthy of particular notice for the distinctness with which it discriminates between the Sabbath and the other days of the week:
“Thus saith the Lord God: The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east, shall be shut THE SIX WORKING DAYS; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.” 40
Six days of the week are by divine inspiration called "the six working days;" the seventh is called the Sabbath of the Lord. Who shall dare confound this marked distinction?
After the Jews had returned from their captivity in Babylon, and had restored their temple and city, in a solemn assembly of the whole people they recount in an address to the Most High all the great events of God’s providence in their past history. Thus they testify respecting the Sabbath:
“Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandest them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.” 41
Thus were all the people reminded of the great events of Mount Sinai—the giving of the ten words of the law of God, and the making known of his holy Sabbath. So deeply impressed was the whole congregation with the effect of their former disobedience, that they entered into a solemn covenant to obey God. 42 They pledged themselves to each other thus:
“And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day; and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.” 43
In the absence of Nehemiah at the Persian court, this covenant was in part, at least, forgotten. Eleven years having elapsed, Nehemiah thus testifies concerning things at his return about B.C. 434:
“In those days saw I in Judah some treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath. And it came to pass, that, when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, 44 I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.” 45
This scripture is an explicit testimony that the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews at Babylon were in consequence of their profanation of the Sabbath. It is a striking confirmation of the language of Jeremiah, already noticed, in which he testified to the Jews that if they would hallow the Sabbath their city should stand forever; but that it should be utterly destroyed if they persisted in its profanation. Nehemiah bears testimony to the accomplishment of Jeremiah’s prediction concerning the violation of the Sabbath; and with his solemn appeal in its behalf ends the history of the Sabbath in the Old Testament.
Great change in the Jewish people respecting idolatry and Sabbath-breaking after their return from Babylon
Decree of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Sabbath
Massacre of a thousand Sabbath-keepers in the wilderness
Similar massacre at Jerusalem
Decree of the Jewish elders relative to resisting attacks upon the Sabbath
Victories of Judas Maccabeus
How Pompey captured Jerusalem
Teaching of the Jewish doctors respecting the Sabbath
State of the Sabbatic institution at the first advent of the Saviour.
The period of almost five centuries intervenes between the time of Nehemia and the commencement of the ministry of the Redeemer. During this time an extraordinary change came over the Jewish people. Previously, they had been to an alarming extent idolaters, and outbreaking violators of the Sabbath. But after their return from Babylon they were never guilty of idolatry to any extent, the chastisement of that captivity effecting a cure of this evil. 1 In like manner did they change their conduct relative to the Sabbath; and during this period they loaded the Sabbatic institution with the most burdensome and rigorous ordinances. A brief survey of this period must suffice. Under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria, B.C. 170, the Jews were greatly oppressed.
“King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath.” 2
The greater part of the Hebrews remained faithfull to God, and, as a consequence, were obliged to flee for their lives. Thus the historian continues:
“Then many that sought after justice and judgment went down into the wilderness, to dwell there: both they, and their children, and their wives, and their cattle; because afflictions increased sore upon them. Now when it was told the king’s servants, and the host that was at Jerusalem, in the city of David, that certain men, who had broken the king’s commandment, were gone down into the secret places in the wilderness, they pursued after them a great number, and having overtaken them, they camped against them, and made war against them on the Sabbath day. And they said unto them, Let that which ye have done hitherto suffice; come forth, and do according to the commandment of the king, and ye shall live. But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the Sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle with all speed. Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid. But said, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the Sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people.” 3
In Jerusalem itself a like massacre took place. King Antiochus sent Appollonius with an army of twenty-two thousand,
“Who, coming to Jerusalem, and pretending peace, did forbear till the holy day of the Sabbath, when taking the Jews keeping holy day, he commanded his men to arm themselves. And so he slew all them that were gone to the celebrating of the Sabbath, and running through the city with weapons, slew great multitudes.” 4
In view of these dreadful acts of slaughter, Mattathias, “an honorable and great man,” the father of Judas Maccabeus, with his friends decreed thus:
“Whosoever shall come to make battle with us on the Sabbath day we will fight against him; neither will we die all, as our brethren that were murdered in the secret places.” 5
Yet were some martyred after this for observing the Sabbath. Thus we read:
“And others, that had run together into caves near by, to keep the Sabbath day secretly, being discovered to Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honor of the most sacred day.” 6
After this, Judas Maccabeus did great exploits in defense of the Hebrews, and in resisting the dreadful oppression of the Syrian government. Of one of these battles we read:
“When he had given them this watchword, The help of God, himself leading the first band, he joined battle with Nicanor. And by the help of the Almighty they slew above nine thousand of their enemies, and wounded and maimed the most part of Nicanor’s host, and so put all to flight; and took their money that came to buy them, and pursued them far; but lacking time, they returned: for it was the day before the Sabbath, and therefore they would no longer pursue them. So when they had gathered their armor together, and spoiled their enemies, they occupied themselves about the Sabbath, yielding exceeding praise and thanks to the Lord, who had preserved them unto that day, which was the beginning of mercy distilling upon them. And after the Sabbath, when they had given part of the spoils to the maimed, and the widows, and orphans, the residue they divided among themselves and their servants.” 7
After this the Hebrews being attacked upon the Sabbath by their enemies, defeated them with much slaughter. 8
About B.C. 63, Jerusalem was besieged and taken by Pompey, the general of the Romans. To do this, it was necessary to fill an immense ditch, and to raise against the city a bank on which to place the engines of assault. Thus Josephus relates the event:
“And had it not been our practice, from the days of our forefathers, to rest on the seventh day, this bank could never have been perfected, by reason of the opposition the Jews would have made; for though our law gives us leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin to fight with us, and assault us, yet does it not permit us to meddle with our enemies while they do anything else. Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths, they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them, but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next days.” 9
From this it is seen that Pompey carefully refrained from any attack upon the Jews on each Sabbath during the siege, but spent that day in filling the ditch and raising the bank, that he might attack them on the day following each Sabbath, that is, upon Sunday. Josephus further relates that the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by the stones thrown among them from the engines of Pompey, even “if any melancholy accident happened;” and that when the city was taken and the enemy fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temples, yet did not the priests run away or desist from the offering of the accustomed sacrifices.
These quotations from Jewish history are sufficient to indicate the extraordinary change that came over that people concerning the Sabbath, after the Babylonish captivity. A brief view of the teaching of the Jewish doctors respecting the Sabbath at the time when our Lord began his ministry will conclude this chapter:
“They enumerated about forty primary works, which they said were forbidden to be done on the Sabbath. Under each of these were numerous secondary works, which they said were also forbidden… Among the primary works which were forbidden, were ploughing, sowing, reaping, winnowing, cleaning, grinding, etc. Under the head of grinding, was included the breaking or dividing of things which were before united… Another of their traditions was, that, as threshing on the Sabbath was forbidden, the bruising of things, which was a species of threshing, was also forbidden. Of course, it was violation of the Sabbath to walk on green grass, for that would bruise or thresh it. So, as a man might not hunt on the Sabbath, he might not catch a flea; for that was a species of hunting. As a man might not carry a burden on the Sabbath, he might not carry water to a thirsty animal, for that was a species of burden; but he might pour water into a trough, and lead the animal to it… Yet should a sheep fall into a pit, they would readily lift him out, and bear him to a place of safety… They said a man might minister to the sick for purpose of relieving their distress, but not for the purpose of healing their diseases. He might put a covering on a diseased eye, or anoint it with eye-salve for the purpose of easing the pain, but not to cure the eye.” 10
Such was the remarkable change in the conduct of the Jewish people towards the Sabbath; and such was the teaching of their doctors respecting it. The most merciful institution of God for mankind had become a source of distress; that which God ordained as a delight and a source of refreshment had become a yoke of bondage; the Sabbath, made for man in paradise, was now a most oppressive and burdensome institution. It was time that God should interfere. Next upon the scene of action appears the Lord of the Sabbath.
Mission of the Saviour
His qualifications as a judge of Sabbatic observance
State of the institution at his advent
The Saviour at Nazareth
His discourse in the corn field
Case of the man with a withered arm
The Saviour among his relatives
Case of the impotent man
Object of our Lord’s teaching and miracles relative to the Sabbath
Of the man born blind
Of the woman bound by Satan
Of the man who had the dropsy
Unfairness of many anti Sabbatatians
Examination of Matt.24:20
The Sabbath not abrogated at the crucifixion
Fourth commandment after that event
Sabbath not changed at the resurrection of Christ
Examination of John 20:26
Of Acts 2:1,2
Redemption furnishes no argument for the change of the Sabbath
Examination of Ps. 118:22—24
The Sabbath neither abolished nor changed as late as the close of the Seventy weeks.
In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son to be the Saviour of the world. He who fulfilled this mission of infinite benevolence was both the Son of God and the Son of man. He was with the Father before the world was, and by him God created all things. 1 The Sabbath being ordained at the close of that great work as a memorial to keep it in lasting remembrance, the Son of God, by whom all things were created, could not be otherwise than a perfect judge of its true design, and of its proper observance. The sixty-nine weeks of Daniel’s prophecy being accomplished, the Redeemer began to preach, saying, “The time is fulfilled.” 2 The ministry of the Saviour was at a time when the Sabbath of the Lord had become utterly perverted from its gracious design, by the teaching of the Jewish doctors. As we have seen in the previous chapter, it was to the people no longer a source of refreshment and delight, but a cause of suffering and distress. It had been loaded down with traditions by the doctors of the law until its merciful and beneficent design was utterly hidden beneath the rubbish of men’s inventions. It being impracticable for Satan, after the Babylonish captivity, to cause the Jewish people, even by bloody edicts, to relinquish the Sabbath and openly to profane it as before that time, he turned their doctors so to pervert it, that its real character should be utterly changed and its observance entirely unlike that that which would please God. We shall find that the Saviour never missed an opportunity to correct their false notions respecting the Sabbath; and that he selected, with evident design, the Sabbath as the day on which to perform many of his merciful works. It will be found that no small share of his teaching through his whole ministry was devoted to a determination of what was lawful on the Sabbath, a singular fact for those to explain who think that he designed its abrogation. At the opening of our Lord’s ministry, we read thus:
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee; and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” 3
Such was the manner of the Saviour relative to the Sabbath. It is evident that in this he designed to show his regard for that day; for it was not necessary thus to do in order to gain a congregation, as vast multitudes were ever ready to throng his steps. His testimony being rejected, our Lord left Nazareth for Capernaum. Thus the sacred historian says:
“But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine; for his word was with power. And in the synagogue there was a man which had a spirit of an unclean devil; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth; art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her; and immediately she rose and ministered unto them.” 4
These miracles are the first which stand upon record as performed by the Saviour upon the Sabbath. But the strictness of Jewish views relative to the Sabbath is seen in that they waited till sunset, that is, till the Sabbath was passed, 5 before they brought the sick to be healed. Thus it is added:
“And at even when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” 6
The next mention of the Sabbath is of peculiar interest:
“At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shew-bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you that in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” 7
The parallel text in Mark has an important addition to the conclusion as stated by Matthew:
“And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” 8
The following points should be noted in examining this text:
There must be a time when these acts were performed. And on this point there is really no room for controversy. They were not performed at Sinai, nor in the wilderness of Sin, but in paradise. And this is strikingly confirmed by the language here used by the Saviour: “The Sabbath was made for THE man, not THE man for the Sabbath;” 14 thus citing our minds to the man Adam that was made of the dust of the ground, and affirming that the Sabbath was made for him; a conclusive testimony that the Sabbath originated in paradise. This fact is happily illustrated by a statement of the apostle Paul: “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” 15 It will not be denied that this language has direct reference to the creation of Adam and Eve. If then we turn back to the beginning, we shall find Adam made of the dust of the ground, Eve taken from his side, and the Sabbath made of the seventh day. 16 Thus the Saviour, to complete the solution of the question raised by the Pharisees, traces the Sabbath back to the beginning, as he does the institution of marriage when the same class proposed for his decision the lawfulness of divorce. 17 His careful statement of the design of the Sabbath and of marriage, tracing each to the beginning, in the one case striking down their perversion of the Sabbath, in the other, that of marriage, is the most powerful testimony in behalf of the sacredness of each institution. The argument in the one case stands thus: In the beginning God created one man and one woman, designing that they TWO should be one flesh. The marriage relation therefore was designed to unite simply two persons, and this union should be sacred and indissoluble. Such was the bearing of his argument upon the question of divorce. In relation to the Sabbath, his argument is this: God made the Sabbath for the man that he made of the dust of the ground; and being thus made for an unfallen race, it can only be a merciful and beneficent institution. He who made the Sabbath for man before the fall saw what man needed, and knew how to supply that want. It was given to him for rest, refreshment, and delight; a character that it sustained after the fall, 18 but which the Jews had wholly lost sight of. 19 And thus our Lord lays open his whole heart concerning the Sabbath. He carefully determines what works are not a violation of the Sabbath; and this he does by Old-Testament examples, that it may be evident that he is introducing no change in the institution; he sets aside their rigorous and burdensome traditions concerning the Sabbath, by tracing it back to its merciful origin in paradise; and having thus disencumbered the Sabbath of Pharisaic rigor, he leaves it upon its paradisiacal foundation, enforced by all the authority and sacredness of that law which he came not to destroy, but to magnify and make honorable. 20
From this time the Pharisees watched the Saviour to find an accusation against him of violating the Sabbath. The next example will show the malignity of their hearts, their utter perversion of the Sabbath, the urgent need of an authoritative correction of their false teachings respecting it, and the Saviour’s unanswerable defense:
“And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: and behold there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore, it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.” 21
What was the act that caused this madness of the Pharisees? On the part of the Saviour, it was a word; on the part of the man, it was the act of stretching out his arm. Did the law of the Sabbath forbid either of these things? No one can affirm such a thing. But the Saviour had publicly transgressed that tradition of the Pharisees that forbade the doing of anything whatever toward the healing of the sick upon the Sabbath. And how necessary that such a wicked tradition should be swept away, if the Sabbath itself was to be preserved for man. But the Pharisees were filled with such madness that they went out of the synagogue and consulted how they might destroy the Saviour. Yet Jesus only acted in behalf of the Sabbath in setting aside those traditions by which they had perverted it.
After this, our Lord returned into his own country, and thus we read of him:
“And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?” 22
Not far from this time we find the Saviour at Jerusalem, and the following miracle was performed upon the Sabbath:
“And a certain man was there which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been there now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked; and on the same day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day: It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? … The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” 23
Our Lord here stands charged with two crimes:
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” 28
This answer involves two points:
Several months after this, the same case of healing was under discussion:
“Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the Sabbath-day circumcise a man. If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?” 29
This Scripture contains our Lord’s second answer relative to healing the impotent man upon the Sabbath. In his first answer he rested his defense upon the fact that what he had done was precisely the same as that which his Father had done hitherto, that is, from the beginning of the world; which implies that the Sabbath had existed from the same point, else the example of the Father during this time would not be relevant. In this, his second answer, a similar point is involved relative to the origin of the Sabbath. His defense this time rests upon the fact that his act of healing no more violated the Sabbath than did the act of circumcising upon the Sabbath. But if circumcision, which was ordained in the time of Abraham, was older than the Sabbath—as it certainly was if the Sabbath originated in the wilderness of Sin—there would be an impropriety in the allusion; for circumcision would be entitled to the priority as the more ancient institution. It would be strictly proper to speak of the more recent institution as involving no violation of an older one; but it would be otherwise to speak of an ancient institution as involving no violation of one more recent. The language therefore implies that the Sabbath was older than circumcision; in other words, more ancient that the days of Abraham. These two answers of the Saviour are certainly in harmony with the unanimous testimony of the sacred writers, that the Sabbath originated with the sanctification of the rest-day of the Lord in Eden.
What had the Saviour done to justify the hatred of the Jewish people toward him? He had healed upon the Sabbath, with one word, a man who had been helpless thirty-eighty years. Was not this act in strict accordance with the Sabbatic institution? Our Lord has settled this point in the affirmative by weighty and unanswerable arguments, 30 not it this case alone, but in others already noticed, and also in those which remain to be noticed. Had he left the man in his wretchedness because it was the Sabbath, when a word would have healed him, he would have dishonored the Sabbath, and thrown reproach upon its Author. We shall find the Lord of the Sabbath still further at work in its behalf in rescuing it from the hands of those who had so utterly perverted its design; a work quite unnecessary, had he designed to nail the institution to his cross.
The next incident to be noticed is the case of the man that was born blind. Jesus seeing him said:
“I must work the works of him that sent me whilst it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent). He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing… And it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.” 31
Here is the record of another of our Lord’s merciful acts upon the Sabbath day. He saw a man blind from his birth; moved with compassion toward him, he moistened clay and anointed his eyes, and sent him to the pool to wash; and when he had washed he received sight. The act was alike worthy of the Sabbath and of its Lord: and it pertains only to the opponents of the Sabbath now, as it pertained only to the enemies of its Lord then, to see in this even the slightest violation of the Sabbath.
After this we read as follows:
“And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her; and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. The Lord then answered him and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.” 32
This time a daughter of Abraham, that is, a pious woman, 33 who had been bound by Satan eighteen years, was loosed from that bond upon the Sabbath day. Jesus silenced the clamor of his enemies by an appeal to their own course of action in loosing the ox and leading him to water upon the Sabbath. With this answer our Lord made ashamed all his adversaries, and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. The last of these glorious acts with which Jesus honored the Sabbath is thus narrated:
“And it came to pass as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the the Sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things.” 34
It is evident that the Pharisees and lawyers durst not answer the question, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? If they said, "Yes," they condemned their own tradition. If they said, "No," they were unable to sustain their answer by fair argument. Hence they remained silent. And when Jesus had healed the man, he asked a second question equally embarrassing: Which of you shall have an ox fall into a pit and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath? They could not answer him again to these things. It is apparent that our Lord’s argument with the Pharisees from time to time relative to the Sabbath had satisfied them at last that silence relative to their traditions was wiser than speech. In his public teaching the Saviour declared that the weightier matters of the law were judgment, MERCY, and faith; 35 and his long-continued and powerful effort in behalf of the Sabbath, was to vindicate it as a MERCIFUL institution, and to rid it of Pharisaic traditions, by which it was perverted from its original purpose. Those who oppose the Sabbath are here guilty of unfairness in two particulars:
And now we come to the Saviour’s memorable discourse upon the mount of Olives, on the very eve of his crucifixion, in which for the last time he mentions the Sabbath:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the house-top not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 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, no, nor ever shall be.” 36
In this language our Lord brings to view the dreadful calamities of the Jewish people, and the destruction of their city and temple as predicted by the Daniel the prophet; 37 and his watchful care over his people as their Lord leads him to point out their means of escape.
“Who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already at the city and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day. It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world.” 39
“After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink.” 40
Eusebius also relates its fulfillment:
“The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Here, those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice for their crimes against Christ and his apostles, finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evil-doers from the earth.” 41
“He pitched his camp at a certain place called Gabao, fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. But as for the Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their metropolis, they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms; and taking courage greatly from their multitude, went in a sudden and disorderly manner to the fight, with a great noise, and without any consideration had of the rest of the seventh day, although the Sabbath was the day to which they had the greatest regard; but that rage which made them forget the religious observation [of the Sabbath] made them too hard for their enemies in the fight; with such violence therefore did they fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and to march through the midst of them, making a great slaughter as they went,” 45 etc.
Thus it is seen that on the eve of the disciples’ flight the rage of the Jews toward their enemies made them utterly disregard the Sabbath! 4. But after Cestius encompassed the city with his army, thus giving the Saviour’s signal, he suddenly withdrew it, as Josephus says, “without any reason in the world.” This was the moment of flight for the disciples, and mark how the providence of God opened the way for those in Jerusalem:
“But when the robbers perceived this unexpected retreat of his, they resumed their courage, and ran after the hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a considerable number of both their horsemen and footmen: and now Cestius lay all night at the camp which was at Scopus, and as he went off farther next day, he thereby invited the enemy to follow him, who still fell upon the hindmost and destroyed them.” 46
This sally of the excited multitude in pursuit of the Romans was at the very moment when the disciples were commanded to flee, and could not but afford them the needed facility of escape. Had the flight of Cestius happened upon the Sabbath, undoubtedly the Jews would have pursued him upon that day, as under less exciting circumstances they had a few days before gone out several miles to attack him upon the Sabbath. It is seen, therefore, that whether in city or country, the disciples were not in danger of being attacked by their enemies, even had their flight been upon the Sabbath day.
A few days after this discourse, the Lord of the Sabbath was nailed to the cross as the great sacrifice for the sins of men. 49 The Messiah was thus cut off in the midst of the seventieth week; and by his death he caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. 50
Paul thus describes the abrogation of the typical system at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus:
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross… Let no man thereof judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” 51
The object of this action is declared to be the handwriting of ordinances. The manner of its abrogation is thus stated:
Its nature is shown in these words: “Against us” and “contrary to us.” The things contained in it were meats, drinks, holy days [Gr. eorhtes a feast day], new moons and sabbaths. 52 The whole is declared a shadow of good things to come; and the body which casts this shadow is of Christ. That law which was proclaimed by the voice of God and written by his own finger upon the tables of stone, and deposited beneath the mercy-seat, was altogether unlike that system of carnal ordinances that was written by Moses in a book, and placed in the side of the ark. 53 It would be absurd to speak of the tables of STONE as NAILED to the cross; or to speak of BLOTTING out what was ENGRAVED in STONE. It would be to represent the Son of God as pouring out his blood to blot out what the finger of his Father had written. It would be to confound all the immutable principles of morality, to represent the ten commandments as “contrary” to man’s moral nature. It would be to make Christ the minister of sin, to represent him as dying to utterly destroy the moral law. Nor does that man keep truth on his side who represents the ten commandments as among the things contained in Paul’s enumeration of what was abolished. Nor is there any excuse for those who would destroy the ten commandments with this statement of Paul; for he shows, last of all, that what was thus abrogated was a shadow of good things to come—an absurdity if applied to the moral law.
The feasts, new moons, and sabbaths, of the ceremonial law, which Paul declared to be abolished in consequence of the abrogation of that code, have been particularly noticed already. 54 That the Sabbath of the Lord is not included in their number, the following facts evince:
When the Saviour died upon the cross the whole typical system which had pointed forward to that event as the commencement of its antitype, expired with him. The Saviour being dead, Joseph of Arimathea went in unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus, and with the assistance of Nicodemus, buried it in his own new tomb. 62
“And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” 63
This text is worthy of special attention.
In the course of the day following this Sabbath, that is, upon the first day of the week, it was ascertained that Jesus was risen from the dead. It appears that this event must have taken place upon that day, though it is not thus stated in express terms. At this point of time it is supposed by many that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week; and that the sacredness of the seventh day was then transferred to the first day of the week, which henceforth was the Christian Sabbath, enforced by all the authority of the fourth commandment. To judge of the truthfulness of these positions, let us read with care each mention of the first day found in the four evangelists. Thus writes Matthew:
“In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.”
Thus also Mark writes:
“And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun… Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.”
Luke uses the following language:
“And they returned and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”
John bears the following testimony:
“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away form the sepulcher… Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in their midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” 64
In these texts the foundation of the “Christian Sabbath” must be sought—if indeed such an institution actually exists—for there are no other records of the first day which relate to the time when it is supposed to have become sacred. These texts are supposed to prove that at the resurrection of the Saviour, the first day absorbed the sacredness of the seventh, elevating itself from the rank of a secular to that of a sacred day, and abasing the Sabbath of the Lord to the rank of “the six working days.” 65 Yet the following facts must be regarded as very extraordinary indeed. if this supposed change of the Sabbath here took place:
Should it be asserted, however, from the words of John, that the disciples were on this occasion convened for the purpose of honoring the day of the resurrection, and that Jesus sanctioned this act by meeting with them, thus accomplishing the change of the Sabbath, it is sufficient to cite in reply the words of mark in which the same interview is narrated:
“Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” 67
This testimony of Mark shows that the inference so often drawn from the words of John is utterly unfounded. 1. The disciples were assembled for the purpose of eating supper. 2. Jesus came into their midst and upbraided them for their unbelief respecting his resurrection.
The Scriptures declare that “with God all things are possible;” yet this statement is limited by the declaration that God cannot lie. 68 Does the change of the Sabbath pertain to those things that are possible with God, or is excluded by that important limitation, God cannot lie? The Law-giver is the God of truth, and his law is the truth. 69 Whether it would still remain the truth if changed to something else, and whether the Law-giver would still continue to be the God of truth after he had thus changed it, remains to be seen. The fourth commandment, which is affirmed to have been changed, is thus expressed:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God… 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.”
If now we insert “first day” in place of the seventh, we shall bring the matter to a test:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the first day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
This changes the truth of God into a lie;70 for it is false that God rested upon the first day of the week and blessed and hallowed it. Nor is it possible to change the rest-day of the Creator from that day on which he rested to one of the six days on which he did not rest. 71 To change a part of the commandment, and to leave the rest unchanged, will not therefore answer, as the truth which is left is still sufficient to expose the falsehood which is inserted. A more radical change is needed, like the following:
“Remember the Christian Sabbath, to keep it holy. The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord Jesus Christ. For on that day he arose from the dead; wherefore he blessed the first day of the week, and hallowed it.”
After such a change, no part of the original Sabbatic institution remains. Not only is the rest-day of the Lord left out, but even the reasons on which the fourth commandment is based are of necessity omitted also. But does such an edition of the fourth commandment as this exist? Not in the Bible, certainly. Is it true that such titles as these are applied to the first day? Never, in the Holy Scriptures. Did the Law-giver bless and hallow that day? Most assuredly not. He did not even take the name of it into his lips. Such a change of the fourth commandment on the part of the God of truth is impossible; for it not merely affirms that which is false and denies that which is true, but it turns the truth of God itself into a lie. It is simply the act of setting up a rival to the Sabbath of the Lord, which, having neither sacredness nor authority of it own, has contrived to absorb that of the Bible Sabbath itself. Such is the FOUNDATION of the first-day Sabbath. The texts which are employed in rearing the institution upon this foundation will be noticed in their proper order and place. Several of these texts properly pertain to this chapter:
“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” 72
It is not asserted that on this occasion our Lord hallowed the first day of the week; for that act is affirmed to date from the resurrection itself on the authority of the texts already quoted. But the sacredness of the first day being assumed as the foundation, this text furnishes the first stone for the superstructure; the first pillar in the first-day temple. The argument drawn from it may be thus stated: Jesus selected this day as the one in which to manifest himself to his disciples; and by this act strongly attested his regard for the day. But it is no small defect in this argument that his next meeting with them was on a fishing occasion, 73 and his last and most important manifestation, when he ascended into Heaven, was upon Thursday. 74 The act of the Saviour in meeting with his disciples must therefore be yielded as insufficient of itself to show that any day is sacred; for it would otherwise prove the sacredness of several of the working days. But a still more serious defect in this argument is found in the fact that this meeting of Jesus with his disciples does not appear to have been upon the first day of the week. It was “after eight days” from the previous meeting of Jesus and the disciples, which, coming at the very close of the resurrection day, could not but have extended into the second day of the week. 75 “After eight days” from this meeting, if made to signify only one week, necessarily carries us to the second day of the week. But a different expression is used by the Spirit of inspiration when simply one week is intended. “After seven days” is the chosen term of the Holy Spirit when designating just one week. 76 “After eight days” most naturally implies the ninth or tenth day; 77 but allowing if to mean the eighth day, it fails to prove that this appearance of the Saviour upon the first day of the week. To sum the argument: The meeting first meeting of Jesus with his disciples in the evening at the close of the first day of the week was mainly if not wholly upon the second day of the week; 78 the second meeting could not have been earlier in the week than the second or third day, and the day seems to have been selected simply because that Thomas was present; the third meeting was upon a fishing occasion; and the fourth, was upon Thursday, when he ascended into Heaven. The argument for first-day sacredness drawn from this text is eminently fitted to the foundation of that sacredness already examined; and the institution of the first-day Sabbath itself, unless formed of more substantial frame-work than enters into its foundation, is at best only a castle in the air.
The text which next enters into the fabric of first-day sacredness is the following:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” 79
This text is supposed to contribute an important pillar for the first-day temple. On this wise it is furnished: The disciples were convened on this occasion to celebrate the first-day Sabbath, and the Holy Spirit was poured out at that time in honor of that day. To this deduction there are, however, the most serious objections.
A third pillar for the first-day edifice is the following: Redemption is greater than creation; therefore the day of Christ’s resurrection should be observed instead of the day of the Creator’s rest. But this proposition is open to the fatal objection that the Bible says nothing of the kind. 82 Who then knows that it is true? When the Creator gave existence to our world, did he not foresee the fall of man? And, foreseeing that fall, did he not entertain the purpose of redeeming man? And does it not follow that the purpose of redemption was entertained in that of creation? Who then can affirm that redemption is greater than the creation?
But as the Scriptures do not decide this point, let it be assumed that redemption is the greater. Who knows that a day should be set apart for its commemoration? The Bible says nothing on the point. But granting that a day should be set apart for this purpose, what day should have the preference? Is it said, That day on which redemption was finished? It is not true that redemption is finished; the resurrection of the saints and redemption of our earth from the curse are included in that work. 83 But granting that redemption should be commemorated before it is finished, by setting apart a day in its honor, the question again arises, What day shall it be? The Bible is silent in reply. If the most memorable day in the history of redemption should be selected, undoubtedly the day of the crucifixion, on which the price of human redemption was paid, must have the preference. Which is the more memorable day, that on which the infinite Law-giver gave up his only and well-beloved Son to die and ignominious death for a race of rebels who had broken his law, or that day on which he restored that beloved Son to life? The latter event, though of thrilling interest, is the most natural thing in the world; the crucifixion of the Son of God for sinful men may be safely pronounced the most wonderful event in the annals of eternity. The crucifixion day is therefore beyond all comparison the more memorable day. And that redemption itself is asserted of the crucifixion rather than of the resurrection is an undoubted fact. Thus it is written:
“In whom we have redemption through his blood.” “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree;” “Thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” 84
If, therefore, any day should be observed in memory of redemption, unquestionably the day of the crucifixion should have the preference. But it is needless to pursue this point further. Whether the day of the crucifixion or the day of the resurrection should be preferred is quite immaterial. The Holy Spirit has said nothing in behalf of either of these days, but it has taken care that the event in each case should have its own appropriate memorial. Would you commemorate the crucifixion of the Redeemer? You need not change the Sabbath to the crucifixion day. It would be a presumptuous sin in you to do this. Here is the divinely appointed memorial of the crucifixion:
“The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” 85
It is the death of the Redeemer, therefore, and not the day of his death that the Holy Spirit has thought worthy of commemoration. Would you also commemorate the resurrection of the Redeemer? You need not change the Sabbath of the Bible for that purpose. The great Law-giver has never authorized such an act. But an appropriate memorial of that event has been ordained:
“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” 86
To be buried in the watery grave as our Lord was buried in the tomb, and to be raised from the water to walk in newness of life, as our Lord was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, is the divinely authorized memorial of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And let it be observed, it is not the day of the resurrection, but the resurrection itself, that was thought worthy of commemoration. The events which lie at the foundation of redemption are the death, burial, and resurrection, of the Redeemer. Each of these has its appropriate memorial; while the the days on which they severally occurred have no importance attached to them. It was the death of the redeemer, and not the day of his death, that was worthy of commemoration; and hence the Lord’s supper was appointed for that purpose. It was the resurrection of the Saviour, and not the day of the resurrection, that was worthy of commemoration; and hence burial in baptism was ordained as its memorial. It is the change of this memorial to sprinkling that has furnished s plausible a plea for first-day observance in memory of the resurrection.
To celebrated the work of redemption by resting from labor on the first day of the week after six days of toil, it should be true that our Lord accomplished the work of human redemption in the six days prior to that of his resurrection, and that he rested on that day from the work, blessing it, and setting it apart for that reason. Yet not one of these particulars is true. Our Lord’s whole life was devoted to this work. He rested temporarily from it indeed over the Sabbath following his crucifixion, but resumed the work on the morning of the first day of the week, which he has never since relinquished, and never will, until its perfect accomplishment in the resurrection of the saints and the redemption of the purchased possession. Redemption, therefore, furnishes no plea for a change of the Sabbath; its own memorials being quite sufficient, without destroying that of the great Creator. And thus the third pillar in the temple of first-day sacredness, like the other parts of that structure which have been already examined, is found to be a thing of the imagination only.
A fourth pillar in this temple is taken from an ancient prophecy in which it is claimed that the Christian Sabbath was foretold:
“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” 87
This text is considered one of the strongest testimonies in support of the Christian Sabbath. Yet it is necessary to assume the very points that this text is supposed to prove.
To these extraordinary assumptions it is proper to reply:
This scripture has manifest reference to the Saviour’s act of becoming the head of the New-Testament church; and consequently it pertains to the opening of the gospel dispensation. The day in which the people of God rejoice, in view of this relation to the Redeemer, can therefore be understood of no one day of the week; for they are commanded to “rejoice EVERMORE;”89 but of the whole period of the gospel dispensation. Our Lord uses the word day in the same manner when he says:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.”90
To assert the existence of what is termed the Christian Sabbath on the ground that text is the prediction of such an institution, is to furnish a fourth pillar for the first-day temple quite as substantial as those already tested.
The seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy extends three and a half years beyond the death of the Redeemer, to the commencement of the great work for the Gentiles. This period of seven years through which we have been passing is the most eventful period in the history of the Sabbath. It embraces the whole history of the Lord of the Sabbath as connected with that institution: His miracles and teaching, by which it is affirmed that he weakened its authority; his death, at which many affirm that he abrogated it; and his resurrection, at which a still larger number declare that he changed it to the first day of the week. We have had the most ample evidence, however, that each of theses positions is false; and that the opening of the great work for the Gentiles witnessed the Sabbath of the fourth commandment neither weakened, abrogated, nor changed.
The knowledge of God preserved in the family of Abraham
The call of the Gentiles
The new covenant puts the law of God into the heart of each Christian
The new covenant has a temple in Heaven; and an ark containing the great original of that law which was in the ark upon earth
And before that ark a priest whose offering can take away sin
The Old and New Testaments compared
The human family in all ages amenable to the law of God
The good olive tree shows the intimate relation between the church of the New Testament and the Hebrew church
The apostolic church observed the Sabbath
Examination of Acts 13
The assembly of the apostles at Jerusalem
Sabbatarian origin of the church at Philippi
Of the church of the Thessalonians
Of the church of Corinth
The churches in Judea and in many cases among the Gentiles began with Sabbath-keepers
Examination of 1Cor.16:1,2
Self-contradiction of Dr. Edwards
Paul at Troas
Examination of Rom.14:1-6
Flight of the disciples from Judea
The Sabbath of the Bible at the close of the first century.
We have now traced the Sabbath through the period of its especial connection with the family of Abraham. The termination of the seventy weeks brings us to the call of the Gentiles, and to their admission to equal privileges with the Hebrew race. We have seen that with God there was no injustice in conferring especial blessings upon the Hebrews, and at the same time leaving the Gentiles to their own chosen ways.1 Twice had he given the human family, as a while, the most ample means of grace that their age of the world admitted, and each time did it result in the almost total apostasy of mankind. Then God selected as his heritage the family of Abraham, his friend; and by means of that family preserved in the earth the knowledge of his law, his Sabbath, and himself, until the coming of the great Messiah. During his ministry, the Messiah solemnly affirmed the perpetuity of his Father’s law, enjoining obedience, even to its least commandment;2 at his death he broke down that middle wall of partition3 by which the Hebrews had so long been preserved a separate people in the earth; and when about to ascend into Heaven commanded his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; teaching them to observe all things which he had commanded them.4 With the expiration of the seventieth week, the apostles enter upon the execution of this great commission to the Gentiles.5 Several facts of deep interest should here be noticed:
That all mankind are amenable to the law of God, and that they ever have been, is clearly shown by Paul’s epistle to the Romans. In the first chapter, he traces the origin of idolatry to the willful apostasy of the Gentiles, which took place soon after the flood. In the second chapter, he shows that although God gave them up to their own ways, and as a consequence left them without his written law, yet they were not left in utter darkness; for they had by nature the work of the law written in their hearts; and dim as was this light, their salvation would be secured by living up to it, or their ruin accomplished by sinning against it. In the third chapter, he shows what advantage the family of Abraham had in being taken as the heritage of God, while all other nations were left to their own ways. It was that the oracles of God, the written law, was given them in addition to that work of the law written in the heart, which they had by nature in common with the Gentiles. He then shows that they were no better than the Gentiles, because that both classes were transgressors of the law. This he proves by quotations from the Old Testament. Then he shows that the law of God has jurisdiction over all mankind:
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”22
He then shows that the law cannot save the guilty, but must condemn them, and that justly. Next, he reveals the great fact that redemption through the death of Jesus is the only means by which God can justify those who seek pardon, and at the same time remain just himself. And finally he exclaims:
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.”23
It follows, herefore, that the law of God is unabolished; that the sentence of condemnation which it pronounces upon the guilty is as extensive as is the offer of pardon through the gospel; that its work exists in the hearts of men by nature; from which we may conclude that man in his uprightness possessed it in perfection, as is further proved by the fact that the new covenant, after delivering men from the condemnation of the law of God, puts that law perfectly into their hearts. From all of which it follows that the law of God is the great standard by which sin is shown,24 and hence the rule of life, by which all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, should walk.
That the church in the present dispensation is really a continuation of the ancient Hebrew church, is shown by the illustration of the good olive tree. That ancient church was God’s olive tree, and that olive tree has never been destroyed.25 Because of unbelief, some of its branches were broken off; but the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles does not create a new olive tree; it only grafts into the good olive tree such of the Gentiles as believe; giving them a place among the original branches, that with them they may partake of its root and fatness. This olive tree must date from the call of Abraham after the apostasy of the Gentiles; its trunk representing the patriarchs, beginning with the father of the faithful;26 its branches, the Hebrew people. The ingrafting of the wild olive into the place of those branches which were broken off, represents the admission of the Gentiles to equal privileges with the Hebrews after the expiration of the seventy weeks. The Old-Testament church, the original olive tree, was a kingdom of priests and an holy nation; the New-Testament church, the olive tree after the ingrafting of the Gentiles, is described in the same terms.27
When God gave up the Gentiles to apostasy before the call of Abraham, he confounded their language, that they should not understand one another, and thus scattered them abroad upon the face of the earth. Standing over against this is the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost, preparatory to the call of the Gentiles, and their ingrafting into the good olive tree.28
We have followed the Sabbath to the call of the Gentiles, and the opening events of the gospel dispensation. We find the law of God, of which the Sabbath is a part, to be that which made our Lord’s death as an atoning sacrifice necessary; and that the great original is in the ark above, before which our Lord ministers as high priest; while a copy of that law is by the new covenant written within the heart of each believer. It is seen, therefore, that the law of God is more intimately connected with the people of God since the death of the Redeemer than before that event.
That the apostolic church did sacredly regard the Sabbath, as well as all the other precepts of the moral law, admits of no doubt. The fact is proved, not merely because the early Christians were not accused of its violation by their most inveterate enemies; nor wholly by the fact that they held sin to be the transgression of the law, and that the law was the great standard by which sin is shown, and that by which sin becomes exceeding sinful.29 These points are certainly very decisive evidence that the apostolic church did keep the fourth commandment. The testimony of James relative to the ten commandments, that he who violates one of them becomes guilty of all, is yet another strong evidence that the primitive church did sacredly regard the whole law of God.30 But besides these facts we have a peculiar guaranty that the Sabbath of the Lord was not forgotten by the apostolic church. The prayer which our Lord taught his disciples, that their flight from Judea should not be upon the Sabbath was, as we have seen, designed to impress its sacredness deeply upon their minds, and could not but have secured that result.31 In the history of the primitive church we have several important references to the Sabbath. The first of these is as follows:
“But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.”32
By invitation of the rulers of the synagogue, Paul delivered an extended address, proving that Jesus was the Christ. In the course of these remarks he used the following language:
“For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.”33
When Paul’s discourse was concluded, we read:
“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.34 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”35
These texts show,
Several years after these things, the apostles assembled at Jerusalem to consider the question of circumcision.36 “Certain men which came down from Judea,” finding the Gentiles uncircumcised, had “taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses ye cannot be saved.” Had they found the Gentiles neglecting the Sabbath, unquestionably this would have first called out their rebuke. It is indeed worthy of notice that no dispute at this time existed in the church relative to the observance of the Sabbath; for none was brought before this apostolic assembly. Yet had it been true that the change of the Sabbath was then advocated, or that Paul had taught the Gentiles to neglect the Sabbath, without doubt those who brought up the question of circumcision would have urged that of the Sabbath with even greater earnestness. That the law of Moses, the observance of which was under discussion in this assembly, is not the ten commandments, is evident from several decisive facts.
Each of these precepts may be often found in the books of Moses,40 and the first and last ones come under the second and seventh commandments respectively; but neither of these cover but a part of that which is forbidden in either commandment. It is evident, therefore, that the authority of the ten commandments was not under consideration in this assembly, and that the decision of that assembly had no relation to those precepts. For otherwise the apostles released the Gentiles from all obligation to eight of the ten commandments, and from the greater prohibitions contained in the other two.
It is evident that those greatly err who represent the Gentiles as released from the obligation of the Sabbath by this assembly. The question did not come before the apostles on this occasion; a strong proof that the Gentiles had not been taught to neglect the Sabbath, as they had to omit circumcision, which was the occasion of its being brought before the apostles at Jerusalem. Yet the Sabbath was referred to in this very assembly as an existing institution, and that, too, in connection with the Gentile Christians. Thus when James pronounced sentence upon the question, he used the following language:
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God; but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”41
This last fact is given by James as a reason for the course proposed toward the brethren among the Gentiles. “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.” From this it is apparent that the ancient custom of divine worship upon the Sabbath was not only preserved by the Jewish people and carried with them into every city of the Gentiles, but that the Gentile Christians did attend these meetings. Otherwise the reason assigned by James would lose all its force, as having no application to this case. That they did attend them strongly attests the Sabbath as the day of divine worship with the Gentile churches.
That the ancient Sabbath of the Lord had neither been abrogated nor changed prior to this meeting of the apostles, is strongly attested by the nature of the dispute here adjusted. And the close of their assembly beheld the Bible Sabbath still sacredly enthroned within the citadel of the fourth commandment. After this, in a vision of the night, Paul was called to visit Macedonia. In obedience to this call he came to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia. Thus Luke records the visit:
“And we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”42
This does not appear to have been a gathering of Jews, but of Gentiles, who, like Cornelius, were worshipers of the true God. Thus it is seen that the church of the Philippians originated with a pious assembly of Sabbath-keeping Gentiles. And it is likely that Lydia and those employed by her in business, who were evidently observers of the Sabbath, were the means of introducing the gospel into their own city of Thyatira.
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was,43 went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures… And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.”44
Such was the origin of the Thessalonian church. That it was an assembly of Sabbath-keepers at its beginning admits of no doubt. For besides the few Jews who received the gospel through the labors of Paul, there was a great multitude of devout Greeks; that is, of Gentiles who had united themselves with the Jews in the worship of God upon the Sabbath. We have a strong proof of the fact that they continued to observe the Sabbath after their reception of the gospel in the following words of Paul addressed to them as a church of Christ:
“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus.”45
The churches in Judea, as we have seen, were observers of the Sabbath of the Lord. The first Thessalonian converts, before they received the gospel, were Sabbath-keepers, and when they became a Christian church they adopted the churches in Judea as their proper examples. And this church was adopted as an example of the churches of Macedonia and Achaia. In this number were included the churches of Philippi and of Corinth. Thus writes Paul:
“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost; so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad.”46
After these things, Paul came to Corinth. Here, he first found Aquila and Priscilla.
“And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and wrought; for by their occupation they were tent makers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”47
At this place also Paul found Gentiles as well as Jews in attendance upon the worship of God on the Sabbath. The first members of the church at Corinth were therefore observers of the Sabbath at the time when they received the gospel; and, as we have seen, they adopted as their pattern the Sabbath-keeping church of Thessalonica, who in turn patterned after the churches in Judea.
The first churches were founded in the land of Judea. All their members had from childhood been familiar with the law of God, and well understood the precept, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Besides this precept, all these churches had a peculiar memento of the Sabbath. They knew from our Lord himself that the time was coming when they must all suddenly flee from that land. And in view of this fact, they were to pray that the moment of their sudden flight might not be upon the Sabbath; a prayer which was designed, as we have seen, to preserve the sacredness of the Sabbath. That the churches in Judea were composed of Sabbath-keeping members, admits therefore of no doubt.
Of the churches founded outside the land of Judea, whose origin is given in the book of Acts, nearly all began with Jewish converts. These were Sabbath-keepers when they received the gospel. Among these, the Gentile converts were engrafted. And it is worthy of notice that in a large number of cases, those Gentiles are termed “devout Greeks,” “religious proselytes,” persons that “worshiped God,” that feared God and that “prayed to God alway.”48 These Gentiles, at the time of their conversion to the gospel, were, as we have seen, worshipers of God upon the Sabbath with the Jewish people. When James had proposed the kind of letter that should be addressed by the apostles to the Gentile converts, he assigned a reason for its adoption, the force of which can now be appreciated: “For Moses,” said he, “of old time hath in EVERY CITY them that preach him, being read in the synagogue every Sabbath day.” The Sabbatarian character of the apostolic churches is thus clearly shown.
In a letter addressed to the Corinthians, about five years after they had received the gospel, Paul is supposed to contribute a fifth pillar to the first-day temple. Thus he wrote them:
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”49
From this text it is argued in behalf of the first-day Sabbath,
Thus the change of the Sabbath is inferred from the public assemblies for divine worship on the first day at Corinth and Galatia; and the existence of these assemblies on that day is inferred from the words of Paul, “Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store.”
What, then, do these words ordain? But one answer can be returned: They ordain precisely the reverse of a public collection. Each one should lay by himself on each first day of the week according as God had prospered him, that when Paul should arrive, they might have their bounty ready. Mr. J. W. Morton, late Presbyterian missionary to Haiti, bears the following testimony:
“The whole question turns upon the meaning of the expression, ‘by him;’ and I marvel greatly how you can imagine that it means ‘in the collection box of the congregation.’ Greenfield, in his Lexicon, translates the Greek term, ‘With one’s self, i.e., at home.’ Two Latin versions, the Vulgate and that of Castellio, render it, ‘apud se,’ with one’s self; at home. Three French translations, those of Martin, Osterwald, and De Sacy, ‘chez soi,’ at his own house; at home. The German of Luther, ‘bei sich selbst,’ by himself; at home. The Dutch, ‘by hemselven,’ same as the German. The Italian of Diodati, ‘appresso di se,’ in his own presence; at home. The Spanish of Felippe Scio, ‘en su casa,’ in his own house. The Portugese of Ferreira, ‘para isso,’ with himself. The Swedish, ‘noer sig self,’ near himself.”50
Dr. Bloomfield thus comments on the original: “par eanto, ‘by him.’ French, chez lui, ‘at home.’”51
The Douay Bible reads: “Let every one of you put apart with himself.” Mr. Sawyer thus translates: “Let each one of you lay aside by himself.” Theodore Beza’s Latin version has it: “Apud se,” i.e., at home. The Syriac reads thus: “Let everyone of you lay aside and preserve at home.”
It is true that an eminent first-day writer, Justin Edwards, D.D., in a labored effort to prove the change of the Sabbath, brings forward this text to show that Sunday was the day of religious worship with the early church. Thus he says:
“This laying by in store was NOT laying by AT HOME; for that would not prevent gatherings when he should come.”52
Such is his language as a theologian upon whom has fallen the difficult task of proving the change of the Sabbath by the authority of the Scriptures. But in his Notes on the New Testament, in which he feels at liberty to speak the truth, he thus squarely contradicts his own language already quoted. Thus he comments on this text:
“Lay by him in store; AT HOME. That there be no gatherings; that their gifts might be ready when the apostle should come.”53
Thus even Dr. Edwards confesses that the idea of a public collection is not found in this scripture. On the contrary, it appears that each individual, in obedience to this precept, would, at the opening of each new week, be found AT HOME laying aside something for the cause of God, according as his worldly affairs would warrant. The change of the Sabbath, as proved by this text, rests wholly upon an idea which Dr. Edwards confesses is not found in it. We have seen that the church at Corinth was a Sabbath-keeping church. It is evident that the change of the Sabbath could never have been suggested to them by this text.
This is the only scripture in which Paul even mentions the first day of the week. It was written nearly thirty years after the alleged change of the Sabbath. Yet Paul omits all titles of sacredness, simply designating it as first day of the week; a name to which it was entitled as one of “the six working days.”54 It is also worthy of notice that this is the only precept in the Bible in which the first day is even named; and that this precept says nothing relative to the sacredness of the day to which it pertains; even the duty which it enjoins being more appropriate to a secular than to a sacred day.
Soon after writing his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul visited Troas. In the record of this visit occurs the last instance in which the first day of the week is mentioned in the New Testament:
“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days;55 where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep; and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul; for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.”56
This scripture is supposed to furnish a sixth pillar for the first-day temple. The argument may be concisely stated thus: this testimony shows that the first day of the week was appropriated by the apostolic church to meetings for the breaking of bread in honor of Christ’s resurrection upon that day; from which it is reasonable to conclude that this day had become the Christian Sabbath.
If this proposition could be established as an undoubted truth, the change of the Sabbath would not follow as a necessary conclusion;it would even then amount only to a plausible conjecture. The following facts will aid us in judging of the truthfulness of this argument for the change of the Sabbath.
The same year that Paul visited Troas, he wrote as follows to the church at Rome:
“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth; for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth thanks.”64
These words have often been quoted to show that the observance of the fourth commandment is now a matter of indifference; each individual being at liberty to act his pleasure in the matter. So extraordinary a doctrine should be thoroughly tested before being adopted. For as it pleased God to ordain the Sabbath before the fall of man, and to give it a place in his code of ten commandments, thus making it a part of that law to which the great atonement relates; and as the Lord Jesus, during his ministry, spent much time in explaining its merciful design, and took care to provide against its desecration at the flight of his people from the land of Judea, which was ten years in the future when these words were written by Paul; and as the fourth commandment itself is expressly recognized after the crucifixion of Christ; if, under these circumstances, we could suppose it to be consistent with truth that the Most High should abrogate the Sabbath, we certainly should expect that aggregation to be stated in explicit language. Yet neither the Sabbath nor the fourth commandment are here named. That they are not referred to in this language of Paul, the following reasons will show:
About ten years after this epistle was written, occurred the memorable flight of all the people of God that were in the land of Judea. It was not in the winter; for it occurred just after the feast of tabernacles, some time in October. And it was not upon the Sabbath; for Josephus, who speaks of the sudden withdrawal of the Roman army after it had, by encompassing the city, given the very signal for flight which our Lord promised his people, tells us that the Jews rushed out of the city in pursuit of the retreating Romans, which was at the very time when our Lord’s injunction of instant flight became imperative upon the disciples. The historian does not intimate that the Jews thus pursued the Romans upon the Sabbath, although he carefully notes the fact that a few days previous to this event they did, in their rage, utterly forget the Sabbath and rush out to fight the Romans upon that day. These providential circumstances in the flight of the disciples being made dependent upon their asking such interposition at the hand of God, it is evident that the disciples did not forget the prayer which the Saviour taught them relative to this event; and that, as a consequence, the Sabbath of the Lord was not forgotten by them. And thus the Lord Jesus in his tender care for his people and in his watchful care in behalf of the Sabbath, showed that he was alike the Lord of his people and the Lord of the Sabbath.75
Twenty-six years after the destruction of Jerusalem, the book of Revelation was committed to the beloved disciple. It bears the following deeply interesting date as to place and time:
“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in THE ISLE that is called PATMOS, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit ON THE LORD’s DAY, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and, What thou seest, write in a book.”76
This book is dated in the isle of Patmos, and upon the Lord’s day. The place, the day, and the individual, have each a real existence, and not merely a symbolical or mystical one. Thus John, almost at the close of the first century, and long after those texts were written which are now adduced to prove that no distinction in days exists, shows that the Lord’s day has as real an existence, as has the isle of Patmos, or as had the beloved disciple himself.
What day, then, is intended by this designation?
Several answers have been returned to this question. 1. It is the gospel dispensation. 2. It is the day of Judgment. 3. It is the first day of the week. 4. It is the Sabbath of the Lord. The first answer cannot be the true one; for it not only renders the day a mystical term, but it involves the absurdity of representing John as writing to Christians sixty-five years after the death of Christ, that the vision which he had just had, was seen by him in the gospel dispensation; as though it were possible for them to be ignorant of the fact that if he had a vision at all he must have it in the existing dispensation.
Nor can the second answer be admitted as the truth. For while it is true that John might have a vision CONCERNING the day of Judgment, it is impossible that he should have a vision ON that day when it was yet future. If it be no more than an absurdity to represent John as dating his vision in the isle of Patmos, on the gospel dispensation, it becomes a positive untruth, if he is made to say that he was in vision at Patmos on the day of Judgment.
The third answer, that the Lord’s day is the first day of the week, is now almost universally received as the truth. The text under examination is brought forward with an air of triumph as completing the temple of first-day sacredness, and proving beyond all doubt that that day is indeed the Christian Sabbath. Yet as we have examined this temple with peculiar carefulness, we have discovered that the foundation on which it rests is a thing of the imagination only; and that the pillars by which it is supported exist only in the minds of those who worship at its shrine. It remains to be seen whether the dome which is supposed to be furnished by this text is more real than the pillars on which it rests.
That the first day of the week has no claim to the title of Lord’s day, the following facts will show:
That the Lord’s day is the Bible Sabbath, admits of clear and certain proof. The argument stands thus: When God gave to man six days of the week for labor, he did expressly reserve unto himself the seventh, on which he placed his blessing in memory of his own act of resting upon that day, and thence forward, through the Bible, has ever claimed it as his holy day. As he has never put away this sacred day and chosen another, the Sabbath of the Lord is still his holy day. These facts may be traced in the following scriptures. At the close of the Creator’s rest, it is said:
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”79
After the children of Israel had reached the wilderness of Sin, Moses said to them on the sixth day:
“To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.”80
In giving the ten commandments, the Law-giver thus stated his claim to this day:
“The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God… 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.”81
He gives to man the six days on which himself had labored; he reserves as his own that day upon which he had rested from all his work. About eight hundred years after this, God spoke by Isaiah as follows:
“If thou turn away thy foot from THE SABBATH, from doing thy pleasure on MY HOLY DAY, … then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.”82
This testimony is perfectly explicit; the Lord’s day is the ancient Sabbath of the Bible. The Lord Jesus puts forth the following claim:
“The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”83
Thus, whether it be the Father or the Son whose title is involved, the only day that can be called “the Lord’s day” is the Sabbath of the great Creator.84 And here, at the close of the Bible history of the Sabbath, two facts of deep interest are presented:
1. For the scriptural and traditional evidence on this point, see Shimeall’s Bible Chronology, part i. chap. vi; Taylor’s Voice of the Church, pp. 25-30; and Bliss’ Sacred Chronology, pp. 199-203.
2. Isa.57:15; 1Sam.15:29, margin; Jer.10:10, margin; Micah 5:2, margin; 1Tim.6:16; 1:17; Ps.90:2.
3. Dr. Adam Clarke, in his Commentary on Gen.1:1, uses the following language: “[Created] Caused that to exist which previously to this moment, had no being. The rabbis, who are legitimate judges in a case of verbal criticism on their own language, are unanimous in asserting that word bara, expresses the commencement of the existence of a thing: or its egression from nonentity to entity … These words should be translated: ‘God in the beginning created the substance of the heavens and the substance of the earth; i.e., the prima materia, or first elements, out of which the heavens and the earth were successively formed.’”
Purchase’s Pilgrimage, b. i. chap. ii., speaks thus of the creation: “Nothing but nothing had the Lord Almighty, whereof, wherewith, whereby, to build this city” [that is the world].
Dr. Gill says: “These are said to be created, that is, to be made out of nothing; for what pre-existent matter to this chaos [of verse 2] could there be out of which they could be formed?”
“Creation must be the work of God, for none but an almighty power could produce something out of nothing.” Commentary on Gen.1:1.
John Calvin, in his Commentary on this chapter, thus expounds the creative act: “His meaning is, that the world was made out of nothing. Hence the folly of those is refuted who imagine that unformed matter existed from eternity.”
The work of creation is thus defined in 2 Maccabees 7:28: “Look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise.”
That this creative act marked the commencement of the first day instead of preceding it by almost infinite ages is thus stated in 2 Esdras 6:38 : “And I said, O Lord, thou spakest from the beginning of the creation, even the first day, and saidst thus: Let heaven and earth be made; and thy word was a perfect work.”
Wycliffe’s translation, the earliest of the English versions, renders Gen.1:1, thus: “In the first, made God of naught heaven and earth.”
4. Gen. 1:31
5. Gen. 1:1-5; Heb.1.
6. Gen. 1:6-8; Job 37:18.
7. Gen. 1:9-13; Ps.136:6; 2Pet.3:5.
8. Gen. 1:14-19; Ps.119:91; Jer.33:25.
9. Gen. 1:20-23.
10. Gen. 1:24-31; 2:7-9; 18-22; 3:20; Job 38:7.
1. “On the sixth day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day,” &c., is the reading of the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Samaritan; “and this should be considered the genuine reading,” says Dr. A. Clarke. See his Commentary on Gen.2.
2. Gen.2:2; Ex.31:17.
4. Gen.2:3; Ex.20:11. In an anonymous work entitled “Morality of the Fourth Commandment,” London, 1652, but not the same with that of Dr. Twisse, of the same title, is the following striking passage: “The Hebrew root for seven, signifies fullness, perfection, and the Jews held many mysteries to be in the number seven: so John in his Apocalypse useth much that number. As, seven churches, seven stars, seven spirits, seven candlesticks, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets; and we no sooner meet with a seventh day, but it is blessed; no sooner with a seventh man [Gen.5:24; Jude 14], but he is translated.” Page 7.
5. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary on the words sanctify and hallow. Ed. 1859. The revised edition edition of 1864 gives this definition: “To make sacred or holy; to set apart to a holy or religious use; to consecrate by appropriate rites; to hallow. God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. Gen.2:3. Moses … sanctified Aaron and his garments. Lev.8:30.” Worcester defines it thus: “To ordain or set apart to sacred ends; to consecrate; to hallow. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Gen.2:3.”
6. Gen.2:15; 1:28.
7. Morality of the Fourth Commandment, pp. 56, 57, London, 1641.
8. Hebrew Lexicon, p. 914, ed. 1854.
9. Josh.20:7; Joel 1:14; 2:15; 2Kings10:20,21; Zeph.1:7, margin.
11. Dr. Lange’s Commentary speaks on this point thus, in vol. i, p. 197: “If we had no other passage than this of Gen.2:3, there would be no difficulty in deducing from it a precept for the universal observance of a Sabbath, or seventh day, to be devoted to God, as holy time, by all of that race for whom the earth and its nature were specially prepared. The first men must have known it. The words, ‘He hallowed it,’ can have no meaning otherwise. They would be a blank unless in reference to some who were required to keep it holy.” Dr. Nicholas Bound, in his “True Doctrine of the Sabbath,” London, 1606, page 7, thus states the antiquity of the Sabbath precept: “The first commandment of Sabbath was no more then first given when it was pronounced from Heaven by the Lord, than any other one of the moral precepts, nay, that it hath so much antiquity as the seventh day hath being; for, so soon as the day was, so soon was it sanctified, that we might know that, as it came in with the first man, so it must not go out but with the last man; and as it was in the beginning of the world, so it must continue to the end of the same; and, as the first seventh day was sanctified, so must the last be. And this is that which one saith, that the Sabbath was commanded by God, and the seventh day was sanctified of him even from the beginning of the world; where (the latter words expounding the former) he showeth that, when God did sanctify it, then also he commanded it to be kept holy; and therefore look how ancient the sanctification of the day is, the same antiquity also as the commandment of keeping it holy; for they two are all one.”
13. Buck’s Theological Dictionary, article, Sabbath; Calmet’s Dictionary, article, Sabbath.
15. John 1:1-3; Gen.1:1,26; Col.1:13-16.
16. Mark 2:27.
17. Barrett’s Principles of English Grammar, p. 29.
18. Job 14:12;1 Cor.10:13; Heb.9:27.
19. Dr. Twisse illustrates the absurdity of that view which makes the first observance of the Sabbath in memory of creation to have begun some 2500 years after that event: “We read that when the Ilienses, inhabitants of Ilium, called anciently by the name of Troy, sent an embassage to Tiberius, to condole the death of his father Augustus, he, considering the unseasonableness thereof, it being a long time after his death, requited them accordingly, saying that he was sorry for their heaviness also, having lost so renowned a knight as Hector was, to wit, above a thousand years before, in the wars of Troy.” —Morality of the Fourth Commandment, p. 198.
23. Compare Gen.2:1-3; Ex.20:8-11.
24. Heb.3:4; Jer.10:10-12; Rom.1:20; Ps.33:9; Heb.11:3.
25. Antiquities of the Jews, b. i. chap. i. sect. 1.
26. Works, vol. i. The Creation of the World, sect. 30.
27. Isa.58:13,14; Heb.9:10.
28. Gen.3; Rom.5:12.
30. Gen.5:24; 6:9; 26:5.
31. See the beginning of chap. viii. of this work.
32. Ezra.3:1-6; Neh.8:2, 9-12, 14-18; 1Kings 8:2,65; 2Chron.5:3; 7:8,9; John 7:2-14,37.
33. “The week, another primeval measure, is not a natural measure of time, as some astronomers and chronologers have supposed, indicated by the phases or quarters of the moon. It was originated by divine appointment at the creation—six days of labor and one of rest being wisely appointed for man’s physical and spiritual well-being.” —Bliss’ Sacred Chronology, p. 6; Hale’s Chronology, vol. i. p. 19. “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 original of this was the Sabbath of God, as Moses has given the reasons of it in his writings.” —Brief Dissertation on the first three Chapters of Genesis, by Dr. Coleman, p. 26.
34. Gen.29:27,28; 8:10,12; 7:4,10; 50:10; Ex.7:25; Job 2:13.
36. The interest to see the first man is thus stated: “Sem and Seth were in great honor among men, and so was Adam above every living thing in the creation.” Ecclesiasticus 49:16.
37. Gen.26:5; 18:19.
1. Gen.2-6; Heb.11:4-7; 1Pet.3:20; 2Pet.2:5.
2. Gen.7; Matt.24:37-39; Luke 17:26,27; 2Pet.3:5,6.
3. Deut.32:7,8; Acts 17:26.
4. Gen.11:1-9; Josephus’ Ant., b. i. chap. iv. This took place in the days of Peleg, who was born about one hundred years after the flood. Gen.10:25, compared with 11:10-16; Ant., b. i. chap. 6. sect. 4.
5. Rom.1:18-32; Acts 14:16,17; 17:29,30.
6. Gen.12:1-3; Josh.24:2,3,14; Neh.9:7,8; Rom.4:13-17; 2Chron.20:7; Isa.41:8; James 2:23.
8. Gen.17:9-14; 34:14; Acts 10:28; 11:2,3; Eph.2:12-19; Num23:9; Deut.33:27,28.
9. Gen.15; Ex.1-5; Deut.4:20.
10. Ex.12:29-42; Gal.3:17.
11. Ps.105:43-45; Lev.22:32,33; Num.15:41.
12. Gen.2:2,3; 26:5; Ex.16:4,27,28; 18:16.
14. Ex.19:3-8, 24:3-8; Jer.3:14, compared with last clause of Jer.31:32.
15. Ex.20:2; 24:10.
16. Ex.20:10; Deut.5:14; Neh.9:14.
17. On this verse Dr. A. Clarke thus comments: “On the sixth day they gathered twice as much—This they did that they might have a provision for the Sabbath.”
18. The Douay Bible reads: “To-morrow is the rest of the Sabbath sanctified unto the Lord.” Dr. Clarke comments as follows upon this text: “To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath. There is nothing either in the test or context that seems to intimate that the Sabbath was now first given to the Israelites, as some have supposed; on the contrary, it is here spoken of as being perfectly well known, from its having been generally observed. The commandment, it is true, may be considered as being now renewed; because they might have supposed, that in their unsettled state in the wilderness, they might have been exempted from the observance of it. Thus we find, 1. That when God finished his creation he instituted the Sabbath; 2. When he brought the people out of Egypt, he insisted on the strict observance of it; 3. When he gave the LAW, he made it a tenth part of the whole: such importance has this institution in the eyes of the Supreme Being!” Richard Baxter, a famous divine of the seventeenth century, and a decided advocate of the abrogation of the fourth commandment, in his “Divine Appointment of the Lord’s Day,” thus clearly states the origin of the Sabbath: Why should God begin two thousand years after [the creation of the world] to give men a Sabbath upon the reason of his rest from the creation of it, if he had never called man to that commemoration before? And it is certain that the Sabbath was observed at the falling of the manna before the giving of the law; and let any considering Christian judge. … 1. Whether the not falling of the manna, or the rest of God after the creation, was like to be the original reason of the Sabbath. 2. And whether if it had been the first, it would not have been said, Remember to keep holy the Sabbath-day; for on six days the manna fell, and not on the seventh; rather than ‘for in six days God created heaven and earth, &c., and rested the seventh day.’ And it is casually added, ‘Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it.’ Nay, consider whether this annexed reason intimates not that the day on this ground being hallowed before, therefore it was that God sent not down the manna on that day, and that he prohibited the people from seeking it. —Practical Works, Vol. iii, p. 784. ed. 1707.
19. The Douay Bible reads: “Because it is the Sabbath of the Lord.”
21. It has indeed been asserted that God by a miracle equalized the portion of every one on five days, and doubled the portion of each on the sixth, so that no act of the people has any bearing on the Sabbath. But the equal portion of each on the five days was not thus understood by Paul. He says: “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want; that there may be equality; as it is written, He that gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had not lack.” 2Cor.8:14,15. And that the double portion on the sixth day was the act of the people, is affirmed by Moses. He says that “on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread.” Verse 22.
22. Gen.7:4,10; 8:10,12,; 29:27,28; 50:10; Ex.7:25; Job 2:13.
23. By this three-fold miracle, occurring every week for forty years, the great Law-giver distinguished his hallowed day. The people were therefore admirably prepared to listen to the fourth commandment enjoining the observance of the very day on which he had rested. Ex.16:35; Josh.5:12; Ex.20:8-11.
24. The twelfth chapter of Exodus relates the origin of the passover. It is in striking contrast with Ex.16, which is supposed to give the origin of the Sabbath. If the reader will compare the two chapters he will see the difference between the origin of an institution as given in Ex.12, and a familiar reference to an existing institution as in Ex.16. If he will also compare Gen.2 with Ex.12, he will see that the one gives the origin of the Sabbath in the same manner that the other gives the origin of the passover.
25. This implies, first, the fall of a larger quantity on that day, and second, its preservation for the wants of the Sabbath.
26. This must refer to going out for manna, as the connection implies; for religious assemblies on the Sabbath were commanded and observed. Lev.23:3; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:16; Acts 1:12; 15:21.
27. John 7:22.
28. Gen. 17; 34; Ex.4. Moses is said to have given circumcision to the Hebrews; yet it is a singular fact that his first mention of that ordinance is purely incidental, and plainly implies an existing knowledge of it on their part. Thus it is written: “This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof; but every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.” Ex.12:43,44. And in like manner when the Sabbath was given to Israel, that people were not ignorant of the sacred institution.
29. Eze.20:12; Ex.31:17.
1. That the Lord was there in person with his angels, see besides the narrative in Ex.19:20; 32-34, the following testimonies: Deut.33:2; Judges 5:5; Nehemiah 9:6-13; Ps.68:17.
2. Ex.24:10; Lev.22:32,33; Num.15:41; Isa.41:17.
3. Ps.147:19,20; Rom.3:1,2; 9:4,5. The following from the pen of Mr. Wm. Miller presents the subject in a clear light: “I say, and believe I am supported by the Bible, that the moral law was never given to the Jews as a people exclusively; but they were for a season the keepers of it in charge. And through them the law, oracles, and testimony, have been handed down to us. See Paul’s clear reasoning in Rom. chapters 2, 3, and 4, on that point.” —Miller’s Life and Views, p. 161.
4. Ex.19; Deut.7:6; 14:2; 2Sam.7:23; 1Kings 8:53; Amos 3:1,2.
5. Ex.20:1-17; 34:28, margin; Deut.5:4-22; 10:4, margin.
7. He who created the world on the first day of the week, and completed its organization in six days, rested on the seventh day, and was refreshed. Gen.1; 2; Ex.31:17.
8. To this, however, it is objected that in consequence of the revolution of the earth on its axis, the day begins earlier in the East than with us; and hence that there is no definite seventh day to the world of mankind. To suit such objectors, the earth ought not to revolve. But in that case, so far from removing the difficulty, there would be no seventh day at all; for one side of the globe would have perpetual day and the other side perpetual night. The truth is, everything depends upon the revolution of the earth. God made the Sabbath for man [Mark 2:27]; he made man to dwell on all the face of the earth [Acts 17:26]; he caused the earth to revolve on its axis that it might measure off the days of the week; causing that the sun should shine of the earth, as it revolves from west to east, thus causing the day to go round the world from east to west. Seven of these revolutions constitute a week; the seventh one brings the Sabbath to all the world.
9. Luke 23: 54-56; 24:1.
10. See also Matt.28:1; Mark 16:1,2.
12. This expression is strikingly illustrated in the statement of Eze.20:5, where God is said to have made himself known unto Israel in Egypt. This language cannot mean that the people were ignorant of the true God, however wicked some of them might be, for they had been God’s peculiar people from the days of Abraham. Ex.2:23-25; 3:6,7; 4:31. The language implies the prior existence both of the Law-giver and of his Sabbath, when it is said that they were "made known" to his people.
13. It should never be forgotten that the term Sabbath day signifies rest-day; that the Sabbath of the Lord is the rest-day of the Lord; and hence that the expression, "Thy holy Sabbath," refers the mind to the Creator’s rest-day, and to his act of blessing and hallowing it.
3. See also Ex.20:10; Deut.5:14; Isa.56
5. Ex.24:3-8; Heb.9:18-20
6. Dr. Clarke has the following note on this verse: “It is very likely that Moses went up into the mount on the first day of the week; and having with Joshua remained in the region of the cloud during six days, on the seventh, which was the Sabbath, God spake to him.” —Commentary on Ex.24:16. The marking off of a week from the forty days in this remarkable manner goes far toward establishing the view of Dr. C. And if this be correct, it would strongly indicate that the ten commandments were given upon the Sabbath; for there seems to be good evidence that they were given the day before Moses went up to receive the tables of stone. For the interview in which chapters 21-23 were given would require but a brief space, and certainly followed immediately upon the giving of the ten commandments. Ex.20:18-21. When the interview closed, Moses came down to the people and wrote all the words of the Lord. In the morning he rose up early, and, having ratified the covenant, went up to receive the law which God had written. Ex.24:3-13.
7. Ex.24:12 18
8. Ex.25 31
11. See third chapter of this work.
12. To sanctify, kadash, signifies to consecrate, separate, and set apart a thing or person from all secular purposes to some religious use.” Clarke’s Commentary on Ex.13:2. The same writer says, on Ex.19:23, Here the word kadash is taken in its proper, literal sense, signifying the separating of a thing, person, or place, from all profane or common uses, and devoting it to sacred purposes.
13. Gen.17:7,8; 26:24; 28:13; Ex.3:6,13-16,18; 5:3; Isa.45:3.
15. See chapter third.
16. As a sign it did not thereby become a shadow and a ceremony, for the Lord of the Sabbath was himself a sign. “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.” Isa.8:18. In Heb.2:13, this language is referred to Christ. “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” Luke 2:34. That the Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel throughout their generations, that is, for the time that they were his peculiar people, no more proves that it is now abolished than the fact that Jesus is now a sign that is spoken against proves that he will cease to exist when he shall no longer be such a sign. Nor does this language argue that the Sabbath was made for them, or that its obligation ceased when they ceased to be the people of God. For the prohibition against eating blood was a perpetual statute for their generations; yet it was given to Noah when God first permitted the use of animal food, and was still obligatory upon the Gentiles when the apostles turned to them. Lev.3.17; Gen.9:1-4; Acts 15.
The penalty of death at the hand of the civil magistrate is affixed to the violation of the Sabbath. The same penalty is affixed to most of the precepts of the moral law. Lev.20:9,10; 24:15-17; Deut.13:6-18; 17:2-7. It should be remembered that the moral law embracing the Sabbath formed a part of the CIVIL code of the Hebrew nation. As such, the great Law-giver annexed penalties to be inflicted by the magistrate, thus doubtless shadowing forth the final retribution of the ungodly. Such penalties were suspended by that remarkable decision of the Saviour that those who were without sin should cast the first stone. But such a Being will arise to punish men, when the hailstones of his wrath shall desolate the earth. Our Lord did not, however, set aside the real penalty of the law, the wages of sin, nor did he weaken that precept which had been violated. John 8:1-9; Job 38:22,23; Isa.28:17; Rev.16:17-21; Rom.6:23.
17. This fact will shed light upon those texts which introduce the agency of angels in the giving of the law. Acts 7:38,53; Gal.3:19; Heb.2:2.
18. Ex.32; 33.
19. Ex.34; Deut.9.
21. The idea has been suggested by some from this verse that it was Moses and not God who wrote the second tables. This view is thought to be strengthened by the previous verse: “Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.” But it is to be observed that the words upon the tables of stone were the ten commandments; while the words here referred to were those which God spoke to Moses during this interview of forty days, beginning with verse 10 and extending to verse 27. That the pronoun he in verse 28 might properly enough refer to Moses, if positive testimony did not forbid such reference, is readily admitted. That it is necessary to attend to the connection in deciding the antecedents of pronouns, is strikingly illustrated in 2Sam.24:1, where the pronoun he would naturally refer to the Lord, thus making God the one who moved David to number Israel. Yet the connection shows that this was not the case; for the anger of the Lord was kindled by the act; and 1Chron.21:1, positively declares that he who thus moved David was Satan. For positive testimony that it was God and not Moses who wrote upon the second tables, see Ex.34:1; Deut.10:1-5. These texts carefully discriminate between the work of Moses and the work of God, assigning the preparation of the tables, the carrying of them up to the mount and the bringing of them down from the mount, to Moses, but expressly assigning the writing on the tables to God himself.
22. Ex.34:1,28; Deut.4:12,13; 5:22.
24. Deut.33:2. That angels are sometimes called saints or holy ones, see Dan.8:13-16. That angels were present with God at Sinai, see Ps.68:17.
25. Deut.10:4,5; Ex.25:10-22.
26. 1John 3:4,5.
1. Ex.32; Josh.24:2, 14, 23; Eze.20:7,8,16,18,24.
2. Amos 5:25-27; Acts 7:41-43; Josh.5:2-8.
3. Num.14; Ps.95; Eze.20:13.
8. Num.14; Heb.3:16.
9. Ex.16; Josh.5:12.
11. A comparison of Ex.19; 20:18-21; 24:3-8, with chapter 32, will show the astonishing transitions of the Hebrews from faith and obedience to rebellion and idolatry. See a general history of these acts in Ps.78; 106.
12. For a notice of this penalty see chapter 5.
14. Lev.24:5-9; Num.28:9, 10.
15. The Bible abounds with facts which establish this proposition. Thus the psalmist in an address to Jerusalem, uses the following language: “He giveth snow like wool; he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them; he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.” Ps.147:16-19. Dr. Clarke has the following note on this text: “At particular times the cold in the East is so very intense as to kill man and beast. Jacobus de Vitriaco, one of the writers in the Gesta Dei per Francos, says that in an expedition in which he was engaged against Mount Tabor, on the 24th of December, the cold was so intense that many of the poor people, and the beasts of burthen died by it. And Albertus Aquensis, another of these writers, speaking of the cold in Judea, says that thirty of the people who attended Baldwin I., in the mountainous districts near the Dead Sea, were killed by it; and that in that expedition they had to contend with horrible hail and ice; with unheard of snow and rain. From this we find that the winters are often very severe in Judea; and that is such cases as the above we may well call out, Who can stand against his cold!” See his commentary on Ps.147. See also Jer.36:22; John 18:18; Matt.24:20; Mark 13:18. 1 Maccabees 13:22, mentions a very great snow storm in Palestine, so that horsemen could not march.
16. The testimony of the Bible on this point is very explicit. Thus we read: “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 thine handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” Ex.23:12. To be without fire in the severity of winter would cause the Sabbath to be a curse and not a refreshment. It would ruin the health of those who should thus expose themselves, and render the Sabbath anything but a source of refreshment. The prophet uses the following language: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day: and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable.” etc. The Sabbath then was designed by God to be a source of delight to his people, and not a cause of suffering. The merciful and beneficent character of the Sabbath is sen in the following texts: Matt.12:10-13; Mark 2:27,28; Luke 14:3-6. From them we learn that God regards the sufferings of the brute creation, and would have them alleviated upon the Sabbath; how much more the distress and the needs of his people, for whose refreshment and delight the Sabbath was made.
17. Ex.29:9; 31:16; Lev.3:17; 24:9; Num.19:21; Deut.5:31; 6:1; 7. The number and variety of these allusions will surprise the inquirer.
19. Ex.12; Deut.16.
20. The law of the passover certainly contemplated the arrival of the Hebrews in the promised land before its regular observance. Ex.12:25. Indeed, it was only once observed in the wilderness: namely, in the year following their departure from Egypt; and after that, was omitted until they entered the land of Canaan. Num.9; Josh.5. This is proved, not merely from the fact that no other instances are recorded, but because that circumcision was omitted during the whole period of their sojourn in the wilderness; and without this ordinance the children would have been excluded from the passover. Ex.12; Josh.5.
21. Dr.Gill, who considered the seventh-day Sabbath as a Jewish institution, beginning with Moses, and ending with Christ, and one with which Gentiles have no concern, has given his judgment concerning this question of fire on the Sabbath. He certainly had no motive in this case to answer this popular objection only that of stating the truth. He says:
“This law seems to be a temporary one, and not to be continued, nor is it said to be throughout their generations, as elsewhere, where the law of the Sabbath is given or repeated; it is to be restrained to the building of the tabernacle, and while that was about to which it is prefaced; and it is designed to prevent all public or private working on the Sabbath day in anything belonging to that;” etc. —Commentary on Ex.35:3.
Dr. Bound gives us St. Augustine’s idea of this precept: “He doth not admonish them of it without cause; for that he speaketh in making the tabernacle, and all things belonging to it, and showeth that, notwithstanding that, they must rest upon the Sabbath day, and not under the color of that (as it is said in the text) so much as kindle a fire.” —True Doctrine of the Sabbath, p. 140.
23. Lev.23:3. It has been asserted from verse 2, that the Sabbath was one of the feasts of the Lord. But a comparison of verses 2 and 4, shows that there is a break in the narrative, for the purpose of introducing the Sabbath as a holy convocation; and that verse 4 begins the theme anew in the very language of verse 2; and it is to be observed that the remainder of the chapter sets forth the actual Jewish feasts; viz., that of unleavened bread, the Pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles. What further clears this point of all obscurity is the fact that verses 37, 38, carefully discriminate between the feasts of the Lord and the Sabbaths of the Lord. But Ex.23:14, settles the point beyond controversy: "Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year." And then verses 15-17 enumerate these feasts as in Lev.23:4-44. See also 2Chron.8:13.
26. Num.13; 14.
28. Eze.20:15, 16 comp. with Num.14:35.
31. Hengstenberg, a distinguished German Anti-Sabbatarian, thus candidly treats this text: “A man who had gathered wood on the Sabbath is brought forth at the command of the Lord, and stoned by the whole congregation before the camp. Calvin says rightly, ‘The guilty man did not fall through error, but through gross contempt of the law, so that he treated it as a light matter to overthrow and destroy all that is holy.’ It is evident from the manner of its introduction that the account is not given with any reference to its chronological position; it reads, ‘And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day.’ It stands simply as an example of the presumptuous breach of the law, of which the preceding verses speak. He was one who despised the word of the Lord and broke his commandments [verse 31]; one who with a high hand sinned and reproached the Lord. Verse 30.” —The Lord’s Day, pp. 31, 32.
33. See the pledges of this people in Ex.19; 24.
34. See the second chapter of this work.
35. See chapter third.
37. Compare Ex.19; 20; Deut.1.
39. Ex.12; 13.
42. Ex.34:1; Deut.10:2.
43. Ex.34:28; Deut.10:4.
46. Deut.5:12-15, compared with Ex.20:8-11.
47. Deut.5, compared with Ex.20.
1. Ex.12; 1Cor.5:7,8.
2. Lev.23:10-21; Num.28:26-31; Deut.16:9-12; Acts 2:1-18.
3. Lev.23:34-43; Deut.16:13-15; Neh.8; Rev.7:9-14.
4. Num.10:10; 28:11-15; 1Sam.20:5,24,27; Ps.81:8.
5. Ex.12:15,16; Lev.23:7,8; Num.28:17,18,25.
6. Lev.23:21; Num.28:26.
7. Lev.23:24,25; Num.29:1-6.
8. Lev.23:27-32; 16:29-31; Num.29:7.
10. Ex.23:10,11; Lev.25:2-7.
12. Lev.26:34,35,43; 2Chron.36:21.
14. On this point Mr. Miller uses the following language: “Only one kind of Sabbath was given to Adam, and one only remains for us. See Hosea 2:11. ‘I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.’ All the Jewish sabbaths did cease when Christ nailed them to his cross. Col.2:14-17. These were properly called Jewish sabbaths. Hosea says, ‘her sabbaths.’ But the Sabbath of which we are speaking, God calls ‘my Sabbath.’ Here is a clear distinction between the creation Sabbath and the ceremonial. The one is perpetual; the others were merely shadows of good things to come.” —Life and Views, pp. 161, 162.
16. Ex.20:10; 31:13; Isa.58:13; compared with Lev.23:24,32,39; Lam.1:7; Hosea 2:11.
19. Isa.56:1-7; 58:13,14.
20. Hosea 2:11.
21. Lam.1:7; 2:5-7.
22. Deut.16:16; 2Chron.7:12; Ps.122.
23. Jer.17:19-27; Neh.13:15-18.
24. Isa.56. See the eighth chapter of this work.
25. See Chapter 10
1. 2Kings 4:23.
2. 1Chron.9:32. It is true that this text relates to the order of things after the return from Babylon; yet we learn from verse 22, that this order was originally ordained by David and Samuel. See verses 1-32.
3. Compare these two cases; Ex.16:23: 1Chron.9:32.
4. See chapters ii and iii.
6. See Dr. A. Clarke’s commentary on Josh.6:15.
8. 1Sam.21:1-6; Matt.12:3,4; Mark 2:25,26; Luke 6:3,4.
9. Lev.24:5-9; 1Chron.9:32.
10. 1Sam.21:5,6; Matt.12:4.
11. See the tenth chapter of this work.
12. 1Chron.23:31; 2Chron.2:4; 8:13; 31:3; Neh.10:31, 33; Eze.45:17.
13. See chapter vii. of this work.
15. Cotton Mather says: “There is a psalm in the Bible whereof the title is, ‘A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day.’ Now tis a clause in that psalm, ‘O Lord, how great are thy works! thy thoughts are very deep.’ Ps.92:5. That clause intimates what we should make the subject of our meditations on the Sabbath day. Our thoughts are to be on God’s works.” —Discourse on the Lord’s Day, p 30, A.D. 1703. And Hengstenberg says: “This psalm is according to the heading, ‘A Song for the Sabbath day.’ The proper positive employment of the Sabbath appears here to be a thankful contemplation of the works of God, a devotional absorption in them which could only exist when ordinary occupations are laid aside.” —The Lord’s Day, pp. 36,37.
16. 2Kings 4:23.
17. Isa.66;23; Eze.46:1; Amos 8:5.
19. 2Kings 11:5-9; 2Chron.23 4-8.
20. Amos 8:4-6.
21. 2Kings 16:18.
23. For the coming of this salvation see Heb.9:28; 1Pet.1:9.
24. Ex.12:48,49; Isa.14:1; Eph.2:12.
25. See chapter vii.
26. Deut.28:64; Luke 21:24.
28. Matt.8:11; Heb.11:8-16; Rev.21.
29. On this text Dr. A. Clarke comments thus: “From this and the following verses we find the ruin of the Jews attributed to the breach of the Sabbath: as this led to a neglect of sacrifice, the ordinances of religion, and all public worship; so it necessarily brought with it all immorality. The breach of the Sabbath was that which let in upon them all the waters of God’s wrath.”
30. For an inspired commentary on this language, see Neh.13:15-18.
31. This language strongly implies that the violation of the Sabbath had ever been general with the Hebrews. See Jer.7:23-28.
33. Eze.22:7,8,26; 23:38,39.
34. Eze.20:23,24; Deut.32:16-35.
37. Eze., chapters 40-43.
39. Eze.44:24; 45:17; 46:1,3,4,12.
42. Neh.9:38; 10:1-31.
44. A few words relative to the time of beginning the Sabbath are here demanded.
1. Speaking of the Babylonish captivity, in his note on Eze.23:48, Dr. Clarke says: “From that time to the present day the Jews never relapsed into idolatry.”
2. 1 Mac.1:41-43.
3. 1 Mac.2:20-38; Josephus’ Antiquities, b. xii. chap. vi.
8. 1Mac.9:43-49; Josephus Antiquities, b. xiii. chap.. i.; 2Mac.15.
9. Antiquities of the Jews, b. xiv. chap. iv. Here we call attention to one of those historical frauds by which Sunday is shown to be the Sabbath. Dr. Justin Edwards states this case thus: “Pompey, the Roman general, knowing this, when besieging Jerusalem, would not attack them on the Sabbath; but spent the day in constructing his works, and preparing to attack them on Monday, and in a manner that they could not withstand, and so he took the city.” —Sabbath Manual, p. 216. That is to say, the next day after the Sabbath was Monday, and of course Sunday was the Sabbath! Yet Dr. E. well knew that in Pompey’s time, 63 years before Christ, Saturday was the only weekly Sabbath, and that Sunday and not Monday was the day of attack.
10. Sabbath Manual of the American Tract Society, pp. 214, 215.
1. Gal.4:4,5; John 1:1-10; 17:5,24; Heb.1.
2. Dan.9:25; Mark 1:14,15.
3. Luke 4:14-16.
4. Luke 4:30-39; Mark 1:21-31; Matt.8:5-15.
5. See, on this point, the conclusion of chapter viii.
6. Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40.
7. Matt.12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5.
8. Mark 2:27,28.
9. Comp. John 1:1-3; Gen.1:1,26; 2:1-2.
10. See chap. viii.
12. Lev.24:5-9; 1Chron.9:32.
13. Hosea 6:6.
14. Thus the Greek Testament: Kai elegen autois. To sabbaton dia ton anthropon egebeto, ech o anthropos dia to sabbaton.
18. Ex.16:23; 23:12; Isa.58:13,14.
19. See conclusion of chap. ix.
20. Matt.5:17-19; Isa.42:21. ;
21. Matt.12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11. ;
22. Mark 6:1-6. ;
23. John 5:1-18. ;
24. Dr. Bloomfield’s Greek Testament on this text; family Testament of the American Tract Society on the same; Nevins’ Biblical Antiquities, pp. 62, 63. ;
25. Compare Jer.17:21-27 with Nehemiah 13:15-20. ;
26. Gen.2:1-3; Ex.20:8-11; Isa.56; 58:13,14; Eze.20. ;
27. Gal.4:4; Matt.5:17-19; 7:12; 19:17; Luke 16:17. ;
28. John 5:19. Retur;
29. John 7:21-23. ;
30. Grotius well says: “If he healed any on the Sabbath he made it appear, not only from the law, but also from their received opinions, that such works were not forbidden on the Sabbath.” —The Truth of the Christian Religion, b. v. sect. 7. ;
31. John 9:1-16. ;
32. Luke 13:10-17. ;
33. 1Pet.3:6. ;
34. Luke 14:1-6. ;
35. Matt.23:23. ;
36. Matt.24:15-21. ;
37. Dan.9,26,27. ;
38. Luke 21:20. ;
39. Jewish Wars, b. ii, chap. xix. ;
40. Id. b. ii, chap. xx. ;
41. Eccl. Hist. b. iii, chap. v. ;
42. Jewish Wars, b. ii, chap. xix. ;
43. Deut.16:16. ;
44. Thus remarks Mr. Crozier in the Advent Harbinger for Dec. 6, 1851: “The reference to the Sabbath in Matt.24:20, only shows that the Jews who rejected Christ would be keeping the Sabbath at the destruction of Jerusalem, and would, in consequence, add to the dangers of the disciples’ flight by punishing them perhaps with death for fleeing on that day.” And Mr. Marsh, forgetting that Christ forbade his disciples to take anything with them in their flight, uses the following language: “If the disciples should attempt to flee from Jerusalem on that day and carry their things, the Jews would embarrass their flight and perhaps put them to death. The Jews would be keeping the Sabbath, because they rejected Christ and his gospel.” Advent Harbinger, Jan. 24, 1852. These quotations betray the bitterness of their authors. In honorable distinction from these anti-Sabbatarians, the following is quoted from Mr. William Miller, himself an observer of the first day of the week: “‘Neither on the Sabbath day.’ Because it was to be kept as a day of rest, and no servile work was to be done on that day, nor would it be right for them to travel on that day. Christ has in this place sanctioned the Sabbath, and clearly shows us our duty to let no trivial circumstance cause us to break the law of the Sabbath. Yet how many who profess to believe in Christ, at this present day, make it a point to visit, travel, and feast, on this day? What a false-hearted profession must that person make who can thus treat with contempt the moral law of God, and despise the precepts of the Lord Jesus! We may here learn our obligation to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” —Exposition of Matt.24, p. 18.
45. Jewish Wars, b. ii, chap. xix. ;
46. Id. b. ii, chap. xix. ;
47. See chap. xvi. ;
48. President Edward says: “A further argument for the perpetuity of the Sabbath we have in Matt.24:20: ‘Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.’ Christ is here speaking of the flight of the apostles and other Christians out of Jerusalem and Judea, just before their final destruction, as is manifest by the whole context, and especially by the 16th verse: ‘Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.’ But this final destruction of Jerusalem was after the dissolution of the Jewish constitution, and after the Christian dispensation was fully set up. Yet it is plainly implied in these words of our Lord, that even then Christians were bound to a strict observation of the Sabbath.” —Works of President Edwards, vol. iv, pp. 621, 622, New York, 1849. ;
49. Matt.27, Isa.53. ;
50. Dan.9:24-27. ;
51. Col.2:14-17. ;
52. For and extended view of these Jewish festivals see chapter vii.
53. Deut.10:4,5, compared with 31:24-26. Thus Morer contrasts the phrase "in the ark," which is used with reference to the two tables, with the expression “in the side of the ark,” as used respecting the book of the law, and says of the latter: “In the side of the ark, or more critically, in the outside of the ark; or in a chest by itself on the right side of the ark, saith the Targum of Jonathan.” —Morer’s Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, p. 211, London, 1701.
54. See chap. vii. ;
55. See chap. ii. ;
56. Mark 2:27. ;
57. Lev.23:37,38. ;
58. Gen.2:1-3; Ex.20; Matt.5:17,19. ;
59. Isa.66:22,23. See also the close of chap. xix of this work. ;
60. Luke 23:34-56.
61. James 2:8-12; Matt.5:17-19; Rom.3:19,31. ;
62. Heb.9; 10; Luke 23:46-53; John 19:38-42. ;
63. Luke 23:54-56. ;
64. Matt.28:1; Mark 16:1,2,9; Luke 23:56; 24:1; John 20:1,19. ;
65. Ezek.46:1. ;
66. See the origin of the ancient Sabbath in Gen.2:1-3. ;
67. Mark 16:14. That this interview was certainly the same with that in John 20:19, will be seen from a careful examination of Luke 24. ;
68. Matt.19:26; Titus 1:2. ;
69. Isa. 65:16; Ps.119:142,151. ;
70. Rom.1:25. ;
71. It is just as easy to change the crucifixion-day from that day of the week on which Christ was crucified, to one of the six days on which he was not, as to change the rest-day of the Creator from that day of the week on which he rested, to one of the six days on which he wrought in the work of creation. ;
72. John 20:26. ;
73. John 21. ;
74. Acts 1:3. Forty days from the day of the resurrection would expire on Thursday.
75. When the resurrection day was “far spent,” the Saviour and two of the disciples drew near to Emmaus, a village seven and half miles from Jerusalem. They constrained him to go in with them to tarry for the night. While they were eating supper they discovered that it was Jesus, when he vanished from their sight. Then they arose and returned to Jerusalem; and after their arrival, the first meeting of Jesus with the eleven took place. It could not therefore have lacked but little of sunset, which closed the day, if not actually upon the second day, when Jesus came into their midst. Luke 24. In the latter case, the expression, “the same day at evening being the first day of the week,” would find an exact parallel in the meaning, in the expression, “in the ninth day of the month at even,” which actually signifies the evening with which the tenth day of the seventh day of the seventh month commences. Lev.23:32. ;
76. Those who were to come before God from Sabbath to Sabbath to minister in his temple, were said to come “after seven days.” 1Chron.9:25; 2Kings 11:5. ;
77. “After six days,” instead of being the sixth day, was about eight days after. Mark 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28. ;
78. That sunset marks the close of the day, see the close of chapter viii. ;
79. Acts 2:1,2. ;
80. Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1. ;
81. Horatio B. Hacket, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature, in Newton Theological Institution, thus remarks: “It is generally supposed that this Pentecost, signalized by the outpouring of the Spirit, fell on the Jewish Sabbath, our Saturday.” —Commentary of the Original Text of the Acts, pp. 50, 51. ;
82. In 1633, William Prynne, a prisoner in the tower of London, composed a work in defense of first-day observance, entitled, “Dissertation on the Lord’s Day Sabbath.” He thus acknowledges the futility of the argument under consideration: “No scripture … prefers or advanceth the work of redemption … before the work of creation; both these works being very great and glorious in themselves; wherefore I cannot believe the work of redemption, or Christ’s resurrection alone, to be more excellent and glorious that the work of creation, without sufficient texts and Scripture grounds to prove it; but may deny it as a presumptuous fancy or unsound assertion, till satisfactory proved, as well as peremptorily averred without proof.” —Page 59. This is the judgment of a candid advocate of the first day as a Christian festival. On Acts 20:7, he will be allowed to testify again. ;
83. Luke 21:28; Rom.8:23; Eph.1:13,14; 4:30.
84. Eph.1:7; Gal.3:13; Rev.5:9 ;
85. 1Cor.11:23-26. ;
86. Rom.6:3-5; Col.2:12. ;
87. Ps.118:22-24. ;
88. Eph.1:20-23; 2:20,21; 1Pet.2:4-7. ;
89. 1Thess.5:16. ;
90. John 8:56. ;
1. See chap. iii.
3. Eph.2:13-16; Col.2:14-17.
4. Matt.28:19,20; Mark 16:15.
5. Dan.9:24-27; Acts 9; 10; 11; 26:12-17; Rom.11:13.
6. 1Cor.11:25; Jer.31:31-34; Heb.8:8,12; Dan.9:27; Eph.2:11-22.
7. Matt.5:17-19; 1John 3:4,5; Rom.4:15.
8. Heb.9:1-7; Ex.25:1-21; Deut.10:4,5; 1Kings 8:9.
9. Heb., chaps. 7-10; Lev.16.
10. Heb.8:1-5; 9:23,24.
13. Rom.3:19-31; 5:8-21; 8:3,4; 13;8-10; Gal.3:13,14; Eph.6:2,3; James 2:8-12; 1John3:4,5.
14. Ex.19; 20; 24:12; 31:18; Deut.10.
16. Rom.3:19-31; 1John3:4,5;
17. Ps.40:6-8; Heb.10.
18. Heb.9; 10.
19. Jer.31:33; Rom.8:3,4; 2Cor.3:3.
20. Ps.19:7; James 1:25; Ps.40.
24. Rom.3:20; 1John3:4,5; 2:1,2.
25. Jer.11:16; Rom.11:17-24.
26. Rom.4:16-18; Gal.3:7-9.
27. Ex.19:5,6; 1Pet.2:9,10.
28. Gen.11:1-9; Acts 2:1-11.
30. James 2:8-12.
31. See chapter x.
32. Acts 13:14.
33. Verse 27.
34. Dr. Bloomfield has the following note on this text: “The words, eis to metaxn sabb., are by many commentators supposed to mean ‘on some intermediate week-day.’ But that is refuted by verse 44, and the sense expressed in our common version is, no doubt, the true one. It is adopted by the best recent commentators, and confirmed by the ancient versions.” Greek Testament with English notes, vol. i. p. 521. And Prof. Hacket has a similar note. —Commentary on Acts, p. 233.
35. Verses 42-44.
36. Acts 15.
37. Acts 15:10,28,29; James 2:8-12.
38. Verses 1,5.
39. Verse 29; 21:25.
40. Ex.34:15,16; Num.25:2; Lev.17:13,14; Gen.9:4; Lev.3:17; Gen.34; Lev.19:29.
41. Acts 15:19-21.
42. Acts 16:12-14.
43. Paul’s manner is exemplified by the following texts, in all of which it would appear that the meetings in question were upon the Sabbath. Acts 13:5; 14:1; 17:10,17; 18:19; 19:8.
44. Acts 17:1-4.
47. Acts 18:3,4.
48. Acts 10:2,4,7, 30-35; 13:43; 14:1; 16:13-15; 17:4,10-12.
50. Vindication of the True Sabbath, Battle Creek ed., pp. 51, 52.
51. Greek Testament with English Notes, vol. ii. p. 173.
52. Sabbath Manual of the American Tract Society, p. 116.
53. Family Testament of the American Tract Society,
55. Prof. Hacket remarks on the length of this voyage: “The passage on the apostle’s first journey to Europe occupied two days only; see chapter 16:11. Adverse winds or calms would be liable, at any season of the year, to occasion this variation.” —Commentary on Acts, p. 329. This shows how little ground there is to claim that Paul broke the Sabbath on this voyage. There was ample time to reach Troas before the Sabbath when he started from Philippi, had not providential causes hindered.
56. Acts 20:6-13.
57. Thus Prof. Whiting renders the phrase: “The disciples being assembled.” And Sawyer has it: “We being assembled.”
60. Acts 2:42-46.
61. This fact has been acknowledged by many first-day commentators. Thus Prof. Hacket comments upon this text: “The Jews reckoned the day from evening to morning, and on that principle the evening of the first day of the week would be our Saturday evening. It Luke reckoned so here, as many commentators suppose, the apostle then waited for the expiration of the Jewish Sabbath, and held his last religious service with the brethren at Troas, at the beginning of the Christian Sabbath, i.e., on Saturday evening, and consequently resumed his journey on Sunday morning.” —Commentary on Acts, pp.329,330. But he endeavors to shield the first-day Sabbath from this fatal admission by suggesting that Luke probably reckoned time according to the pagan method, rather than by that which is ordained in the Scriptures! Kitto, in noting the fact that this was an evening meeting, speaks thus: “It has from this last circumstance been inferred that the assembly commenced after sunset on the Sabbath, at which hour the first day of the week had commenced, according to the Jewish reckoning [Jahn’s Bibl. Antiq., sect. 398], which would hardly agree with the idea of a commemoration of the resurrection.” —Clyclopedia of Biblical Literature, article, Lord’s day. And Prynne, whose testimony relative to redemption as an argument for the change of the Sabbath has been already quoted, thus states this point: “Because the text saith there were many lights in the upper room where they were gathered together, and that Paul preached from the time of their coming together till midnight, … this meeting of the disciples at Troas, and Paul’s preaching to them, began at evening. The sole doubt will be what evening this was… For my own part I conceive clearly that it was upon Saturday night, as we falsely call it, and not the coming Sunday night… Because St. Luke records that it was upon the first day of the week when this meeting was … therefore it must needs be on the Saturday, not on our Sunday evening, since the Sunday evening in St. Luke’s and the Scripture account was no part of the first, but of the second day; the day ever beginning and ending at evening.” Prynne notices the objection drawn from the phrase, “ready to depart on the morrow,” as indicating that this departure was not on the same day of the week with his night meeting. The substance of his answer is this: If the fact be kept in mind that the days of the week are reckoned from evening to evening, the following texts, in which in the night, the morning is spoken of as the morrow, will show at once that another day of the week is not necessarily intended by the phrase in question. 1Sam.19:11; Esth.2:14;Zeph.3:3; Acts 23:31,32. —Diss. on Lord’s Day Sab., pp.36-41, 1633.
62. See the conclusion of chap. viii.
63. Luke 23:56; 24:1.
65. James 2:8-12.
66. Rom.7:12,13; 1John 3:4,5.
69. Lev.23. These are particularly enumerated in Col.2, as we have already noticed in chapter vii, and in the concluding part of chapter x.
70. Acts 2:1-11; Rom.2:17; 4:1; 7:1.
72. 1Cor.15:27; Ps.8.
74. To show that Paul regarded Sabbatic observance as dangerous, Gal.4:10, is often quoted; notwithstanding the same individuals claim that Rom.14 proves that it is a matter of perfect indifference; they not seeing that this is to make Paul contradict himself. But if the connection be read from verse 8 to verse 11, it will be seen that the Galatians before their conversion were not Jews, but heathen: and that these days, months, times, and years, were not those of the Levitical law, but those which they had regarded with superstitious reverence while heathen. Observe the stress which Paul lays upon the word “again,” in verse 9. And how many that profess the religion of Christ at the present day superstitiously regard certain days as “lucky” or “unlucky days;” though such notions are derived only from heathen distinctions.
75. See chapter x.
77. Dr. Bloomfield, though himself of a different opinion, speaks thus of the views of others concerning the date of John’s gospel: “It has been the general sentiment, both of ancient and modern inquirers, that it was published about the close of the first century.” —Greek Testament with English Notes, vol. i. p. 328. Morer says that John “penned his gospel two years later than the Apocalypse, and after his return from Patmos, as St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and Eusebius, affirm.” —Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, pp. 53, 54. The Paragraph Bible of the London Religious Tract Society, in its preface to the book of John, speaks thus: “According to the general testimony of ancient writers, John wrote his gospel at Ephesus, about the year 97.” In support of the same view, see also Religious Encyclopedia, Barnes’ Notes (gospel), Bible Dictionary, Cottage Bible, Domestic Bible, Mine Explored, Union Bible Dictionary, Comprehensive Bible, Dr. Hales, Horne, Nevins, Olshausen, &c.
78. The Encyclopedia Britannica, in its article concerning the Sabbath, undertakes to prove that the “religious observation of the first day of the week is of apostolical appointment.” After citing and commenting upon all the passages that could be urged in proof of the point, it makes the following candid acknowledgment: “Still, however, it must be owned that these passages are not sufficient to prove the apostolical institution of the Lord’s day, or even the actual observation of it.” The absence of all scriptural testimony relative to the change of the Sabbath, is accounted for by certain advocates of that theory, not by the frank admission that it never was changed by the Lord, but by quoting John 21:25, assuming the change of the Sabbath as an undoubted truth, but that it was left out of the Bible lest it should make that book too large! They think, therefore, that we should go the Ecclesiastical history to learn this part of our duty; not seeing that, as the fourth commandment still stands in the Bible unrepealed and unchanged, to acknowledge that that change must be sustained wholly outside of the Bible, is to acknowledge that first-day observance is a tradition which makes void the commandment of God. The following chapters will, however, patiently examine the argument for first-day observance drawn from ecclesiastical history.
83. Mark 2:27,28.
84. An able opponent of Sabbatic observance thus speaks relative to the term Lord’s day of Rev.1:10: “If a current day was intended, the only day bearing this definition, in either the Old or New Testament, is Saturday, the seventh day of the week.” —W. B. Taylor, in the Obligation of the Sabbath, p. 296.
—End of Part 1—
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