The subject of which day is the Christian Sabbath is one of the longest running debates about any Bible teaching. Theologians and ministers of every background and theology have offered their opinion about the “Saturday or Sunday” question. Most begin with the assumption that traditional, orthodox Christianity is the place to start the discussion. While human opinion should not count, astonishingly, most are content to accept it. Few will look to the Bible as the authority. Not only is God’s Word the place to begin the study of this subject, as well as that of every other doctrine of God, but the “which day is holy” question already arises at the very beginning of the Bible.
The book of Genesis—the name means “beginnings”—speaks almost immediately about the subject of the Sabbath—the seventh day of the week. It is as though God wanted this issue clearly established in the minds of the Bible’s readers from the outset of their study of Scripture.
Near the book’s beginning, immediately after the “Creation chapter” concludes, the Bible states this: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 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” (2:1-3).
While no one should have missed, or misunderstood, the weight of this passage, almost everyone has. And rather than examine it, and the many others on the subject, most merely swallow popular thinking without resistance because it is easy.
You will learn that while the subject of which day to observe as the Christian Sabbath should be a burning issue on the minds of millions, it is not. In fact, almost no one seems to care what the Bible’s teaching—the only correct teaching—is on this subject. Blow the dust off your Bible, and make yourself come to grips with one of its greatest truths.
There is the question in the minds of some regarding the Jews, and whether these only were, or still are, to observe the Sabbath. Others wonder which is the seventh day of the week in the modern calendar, and can we really know which day should be observed. Still others recognize that Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath, but believe that this was only to “keep it for us” or “He did it because He was a Jew.” And still others believe that the Sabbath is and has always been the seventh day of the week, but that “the Roman church,” under the supposed authority granted to Peter, held the right to change observance to the first day of the week.
Even those who do observe the Sabbath, after one fashion or another, have little understanding of what is really at stake for those who keep the correct day—and for those who do not. Latter chapters present chilling understanding of why you must understand this subject—of why you cannot permit yourself to misunderstand the Bible’s towering Fourth Commandment.
After proving the Sabbath’s validity today, there still remains a host of related questions pertaining to how to observe the seventh day correctly. Since it is God who established the Sabbath, we must look in His Word for guidelines revealing how to keep it in a way pleasing to Him.
Understand that this book takes a very thorough view. In fact, you will find that it is almost certainly the strongest and most complete book on the Sabbath ever written. It examines the Sabbath question as you have never seen it before. Nearly every question, argument and issue that have been raised about the Sabbath are covered in detail—chapter by chapter. The reader will not have arrived at a full comprehension of all that is at stake within the subject of whether Saturday or Sunday observance is binding on Christians until he has read every page of this book.
All of the chapters presented have been prepared in the sequence that they appear for a reason. Each chapter builds off the previous one and prepares the way for the next. Unless the reader understands this method of construction at the outset—why the book was written as it was—comprehending the overall picture of the subject as God intended will be more difficult.
Also, recognize that some chapters are essentially insets. These are included for important reasons that will be understood as the full scope of the subject is carefully spread before the reader.
May God help you understand the awesome importance of all that you are about to read!
I grew up in a large, respected Protestant church. I can recall sitting on a stool wearing a bow tie in Sunday school at age three, surrounded by other children. As I grew older, Sunday school became Sunday church services, with everyone taking for granted that we were there on the right day. No one remotely suggested otherwise. We all appeared weekly in our “Sunday best.” This continued for years, with no one questioning anything that was done.
Things changed in 1966 because, at age seventeen, I was challenged to look into the Bible to see what it actually says on the matter of Sunday-keeping. I was absolutely shocked by what I found! You will be also.
While the world is geared contrary to Sabbath observance on the seventh day of the week, I realized there was no excuse for breaking the Sabbath. I found the Bible was plain, leaving no room for doubt. The scriptures about the Sabbath and Sunday were most clear. I saw that common objections to Sabbath observance were easily disproven, if one had an open mind.
Unless God did not exist, and the Bible was the word of men—merely ancient Hebrew and Greek literature—I had no choice but to observe the Sabbath. Since proving that God exists and the Bible is His Word, and since seeing proof of the Sabbath command from the Bible, I have never attended church on Sunday again or observed that day. I found that the Fourth Commandment is a LAW. When kept, it brings spiritual blessings, “keeping” those who obey it. When broken, it brings spiritual curses, “breaking” those who disobey it.
There are over two billion professing Christians on earth. They attend over 2,000 different church denominations and organizations in the United States alone. This number continually increases, and the result has been no end of confusion over differing beliefs and disagreement between them. However, almost all professing Christians are in agreement about Sunday observance, thinking it to be the biblically authorized “Lord’s Day” of the New Testament.
Are they correct? Does the New Testament establish Sunday in place of the Old Testament seventh-day Sabbath? Did Jesus Christ do away with the Sabbath, making Himself “Lord of Sunday”? Vast numbers are told—and believe—that He did. But, if Christ established Sunday to replace the seventh-day Sabbath, why did He tell His disciples, “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:28)? This question alone towers over the debate.
Have you ever noticed this verse? Probably not. Yet there it is in the New Testament. Most ministers are fond of preaching from the New Testament, almost to the complete exclusion of the Old Testament. But have you ever heard a preacher—or professor, or theologian—mention this passage? Almost certainly not—and this is just one of many plain scriptures about the Sabbath.
Most people never ask why they believe what they believe or why they do what they do. In a world filled with popular customs and traditions, few try to determine the real origin of things. Most generally accept common religious practices without question, choosing to do what everyone else does because it is easy, natural and comfortable—because there is a certain “safety in numbers.” The power of peer pressure alone makes most avoid hard questions, so that they can practice what is acceptable—and fashionable.
Most follow along as they have been taught, assuming what they believe and do is right. They take their beliefs for granted, almost never taking time to PROVE them.
Nowhere is this more true than Sunday observance. Over two billion people keep Sunday without knowing why—or where this practice originated. Most suppose it is found in the Bible because they see so many professing Christians observing it. Many think Jesus was resurrected on Sunday after a Friday crucifixion—and that this made Sunday the Lord’s Day. Surely billions cannot be wrong. Or can they?
A study of the Bible, on almost all teachings generally accepted by the churches of this world—professing Christianity—reveals that they have almost no biblical basis whatsoever. This statement is shocking, yet it is true!
But here is an irony: When confronted with the truth of what the Bible really says on a matter, most churchgoers will attempt to deny the facts, however indisputable. They will twist, distort and blur the issues in order to hold to cherished beliefs, preferring what is familiar to what is right—and true!
The Sabbath question is somewhat different. Though, in the end, most people are unwilling to observe it, many ministers, theologians and religionists openly acknowledge what the Bible says about the Sabbath. When pressed, they admit God’s Word authorizes observing the seventh day.
In fact, you will be stunned at their frankness and honesty!
Catholic publications, popes, cardinals, bishops, theologians, historians, professors, and the Vatican itself, have candidly admitted there is no biblical basis—whatsoever!—for Sunday observance. This book includes many quotations from them. You will be astonished at the extraordinary candor with which Catholic leaders address this subject.
It is critically important to take the time to read what those who keep Sunday say about their authority—or lack of authority—for doing this. Using their own words, we must first establish why 1.2 billion Roman Catholics believe they are no longer obligated to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. They tell the whole world openly!
The Bible plainly states that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Rome, supposing that Christ, in effect, delegated away His authority over the Church to the apostle Peter—who they proclaim was the first pope—speaks plainly of how it has used this “authority.” Just as God’s statements about the Sabbath were shocking to me, the following statements should be shocking to you! (Many are included for emphasis.)
“For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible.”
- Catholic Virginian, “To Tell You the Truth,” p. 9, Oct. 3, 1947
“From this same Catholic Church you have accepted your Sunday, and that Sunday, as the Lord’s day, she has handed down as a tradition; and the entire Protestant world has accepted it as tradition, for you have not an iota of Scripture to establish it. Therefore that which you [Protestants] have accepted as your rule of faith, inadequate as it of course is, as well as your Sunday, you have accepted on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.”
- D.B. Ray, The Papal Controversy, p. 179, 1892
“I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to any one who can prove to me by the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.’ The Catholic Church says, ‘No! By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! the entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.”
- Bishop T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884
“There is but one [church] on the face of the earth which has the power, or claims power, to make laws binding on the conscience, binding before God, binding under penalty of hell-fire. For instance, the institution of Sunday. What right has any other church to keep this day? You answer by virtue of the third commandment [the Papacy renamed the fourth commandment, calling it the third], which says, ‘Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.’ But Sunday is not the Sabbath. Any schoolboy knows that Sunday is the first day of the week. I have repeatedly offered one thousand dollars to anyone who will prove by the Bible alone that Sunday is the day we are bound to keep, and no one has called for the money. It was the holy Catholic Church that changed the day of rest from Saturday, the seventh day, to Sunday, the first day of the week.”
- T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture delivered in 1893
“Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day—Saturday—for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes. Did Christ change the day? I answer no!”
- James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921), signed letter
“Reason and sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either…the keeping holy of Saturday or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible.”
- James Cardinal Gibbons, The Catholic Mirror, Dec. 23, 1893
“A rule of Faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday, and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.
“The Catholic Church correctly teaches that our Lord and His Apostles inculcated certain important duties of religion which are not recorded by the inspired writers. For instance, most Christians pray to the Holy Ghost, a practice which is nowhere found in the Bible.
“We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith, because they cannot, at any time, be within the reach of every inquirer; because they are not of themselves clear and intelligible even in matters of the highest importance, and because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation.”
- James Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of our Fathers, 88th ed., p. 89
[Author’s Note: The apostle Paul, under inspiration by God, also disagrees. Speaking of just the Old Testament books, which were available to him, he wrote this: “And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (II Tim. 3:15-16).]
“The Bible everywhere enforces the sanctification of Saturday the seventh day of the week…You Protestants have to admit the authority of the Roman Catholic Church that is branded on you when you observe Sunday because you have no other authority for Sunday but that of the Roman Catholic Church.”
- James Cardinal Gibbons
“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”
- James Cardinal Gibbons, The Catholic Mirror, Sept. 23, 1893
“Question: What Bible authority is there for changing the Sabbath from the seventh to the first, day of the week? Who gave the pope the authority to change a command of God?
“Answer: If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew. But Catholics learn what to believe and do from the divine, infallible authority established by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church…Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Church?”
- “Question Box,” Conway, 1903 ed., pp. 254, 255
“Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her—she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”
- Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism, p. 174
“Our Lord rose from the dead on the first day of the week,” said Father Hourigan of the Jesuit Seminary. “That is why the Church changed the day of obligation from the seventh day to the first day of the week. The Anglican and other Protestant denominations retained that tradition when the Reformation came along.”
- Toronto Daily Star, Oct. 26, 1949
“Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has explicitly substituted the Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days.”
- John Laux, A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies, vol. 1, p. 51, 1936
“Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday…Now the Church…instituted, by God’s authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday.”
- Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About, p. 136, 1927
“Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
“1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.
“2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws.
“It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible.”
- Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society, 1975
“We move from the ‘Sabbath’ to the ‘first day after the Sabbath’, from the seventh day to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the dies Christi!…By contrast, the Sabbath’s position as the seventh day of the week suggests for the Lord’s Day a complimentary symbolism, much loved by the Fathers. Sunday is not only the first day, it is also ‘the eighth day’, set within the sevenfold succession of days…”
- Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini, Vatican, May 31, 1998
“Only gradually did Christians begin to observe Sunday as a day of rest…In the third century, as we learn from Tertullian, many Christians had begun to keep Sunday as a day of rest to some extent…
“The real need of Sunday as a day of rest as well as worship came much later…”
- “Yes, I Condemned the Catholic Church,” p. 4 (Supreme Council, Knights of Columbus)
“Question: Which is the Sabbath day?
“Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
“Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
“Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 363), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”
- Peter Gerermann, “The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine,” 2nd ed., p. 50, 1910
[Author’s Note: At this same fourth century Council of Laodicea—in A.D. 363—the following edict was passed: “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath.” The penalty for disobedience was death!]
About one billion Protestants also observe Sunday. Before examining what they say about why they observe the first day of the week, here are several quotes from the Catholics explaining their view of why the Protestants do what they do. Consider them carefully.
“Practically everything that Protestants regard as essential or important they have received from the Catholic Church. They accepted Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made that change.
“But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible, in observing the Sunday, in keeping Christmas and Easter, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the pope.”
- Our Sunday Visitor, Feb. 5, 1950
“It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church.”
- Mgr. Segur, “Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today,” p. 213
“Question: How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?
“Answer: By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.
“Question: How prove you that?
“Answer: Because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the Church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin: and by not keeping the rest [of the feasts] by her commanded, they again deny, in fact, the same power.”
- Henry Tuberville, D.D., “An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine” [R.C.], p. 58
“Catholic: Is the Bible the rule or guide of Protestants for observing Sunday?
“Protestant: No, I believe the Seventh-day Adventists are the only ones who know the Bible in the matter of Sabbath observance.”
- “The Bible an Authority Only in Catholic Hands,” pp. 25, 26
“When St. Paul repudiated the works of the law, he was not thinking of the Ten Commandments, which are as unchangeable as God Himself is, which God could not change and still remain the infinitely holy God.”
- Our Sunday Visitor, Oct. 7, 1951
Protestant officials from many denominations have also candidly admitted there is no biblical authority for Sunday observance. Here are their quotations, with most categorized into Protestant denominations.
Lutheran: The first true “protestant” was Martin Luther. No record of Protestant teaching is complete without the words of this earliest reformer.
Notice this quote pertaining to Luther’s commentary on Exodus 16:4, 22-30, regarding the Sabbath: “Hence you can see that the Sabbath was before the Law of Moses came, and has existed from the beginning of the world. Esp[ecially] have the devout, who have preserved the true faith, met together and called upon God on this day.” Translated from Auslegung des Alten Testaments (Commentary on the Old Testament), in Sämmtliche Schriften (Collected Writings), edited by J.G. Walch, Vol. 3, col. 950 [St. Louis edition of Luther’s Works, 1880].
[Author’s Note: Martin Luther also personally kept the Sabbath. The next source reveals why he did not urge others to do the same.]
“Luther himself, while it is said believed in and practiced the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, did not prescribe it in his articles of faith for his followers, in the copies that we now have access to. However, it has been said that in his original thesis, Luther advocated the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, but that his colleagues objected on the grounds that it was an unpopular doctrine, which would have a tendency to repulse supporters of the Reformation who were not as pious as they should have been, but were of great assistance against the usurpations of the papacy.”
- Dugger and Dodd, A History of the True Religion, pp. 196-197
“They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, as having been changed into the Lord’s Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!”
- “Augsburg Confession of Faith,” art. 28, by Melanchthon, approved by Martin Luther, 1530, The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Henry Jacobs, 1911 ed., p. 63
“We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. We have seen that the Christians of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both.”
- The Sunday Problem, a study book of the United Lutheran Church, p. 36, 1923
“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.”
- Dr. Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and Church, Henry John Rose’s translation, p. 186, 1843
“But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept [just] as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel…These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect.”
- John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday, pp. 15, 16
Anglican/Episcopal: “And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day…The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the [Roman] church has enjoined it.”
- Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, vol. 1, pp. 334, 336
“There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday…into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters…The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday.”
- Canon Eyton, The Ten Commandments, pp. 52, 63, 65
“We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, catholic, apostolic Church of Christ.”
- Bishop Seymour, Why We Keep Sunday
Baptist: “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week…Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament absolutely not.
“To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question…never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated.
“Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history…But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!”
- Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, before a New York ministers’ conference, Nov. 13, 1893, New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893
“There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance.”
- William Owen Carver, The Lord’s Day in Our Day, p. 49
Congregationalist: “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath…The Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday…There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.”
- Dr. R. W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, pp. 127-129
“…the Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive Church called the Sabbath.”
- Timothy Dwight, Theology: Explained and Defended, ser. 107, vol. 3, p. 258, 1823
Disciples of Christ: “‘But,’ say some, ‘it was changed from the seventh to the first day.’ Where? when? and by whom? No man can tell. No, it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again: for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio—I think his name is Doctor Antichrist.”
- Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, vol. 1, no. 7, p. 164, Feb. 2, 1824
“The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just preceding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change.”
- First Day Observance, pp. 17, 19
Methodist: “But, the moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced by the prophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of his coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken…Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.”
- John Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., John Emory, ser. 25, vol. 1, p. 221
“Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the New Testament as to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, but there is no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day.”
- Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate, p. 26, July 2, 1942
Presbyterian: “The Sabbath is a part of the decalogue—the Ten Commandments. This alone forever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution…Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand…The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath.”
- T. C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed, pp. 474, 475
Dwight L. Moody: “The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember,’ showing that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?”
- D. L. Moody, Weighed and Wanting, pp. 47, 48
It is ironic that at least three well-known Protestant figures here freely admit that the Sabbath has never been changed and is still binding on Christians—but do not keep it themselves!
Here is what Christ said about the popular commandments and traditions of the world—and its churches: “IN VAIN do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men…Full well [these men know exactly what they are doing] you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:7, 9).
Let’s plainly frame the question: Do we observe the day that GOD commands—or do we observe the traditional day that the Roman Catholic Church commands, and Protestants endorse? This church and its daughter churches are wrong on virtually every doctrine in the Bible—salvation, heaven, hell, method of baptism, the Law, the definition of sin, the trinity, which annual days should be observed by Christians, prophecy, and many more. Over and over, it has substituted its commands and traditions in place of what God plainly says in His Word. Should you follow its authority, believing it to be greater than the authority of God?
It is possible to worship God in vain. Therefore, you must find out, once and for all, whether Sunday-keeping and worship is what God expects of you—or even permits.
Technically, this book could end here. Though we will see that a few, very weak arguments are put forth in favor of Sunday, in a sense, there is no further room for argument. If those who keep Sunday will so freely acknowledge that they have no authority from God—in His Word, the Holy Bible—for doing so, and the plain biblical command is seen, observance of the Sabbath has been clearly established!
But God has much to say about the crucial importance of observing His Sabbath every seven days. This includes understanding why Christians must do this. What you will read in the remainder of this book is not supposition. It is scriptural fact—proof from God—that the Sabbath was commanded 6,000 years ago.
You will see that neither God nor His command has ever changed!
This book will examine many verses from the Old Testament. Of course, it is there that the Sabbath is first mentioned. However, one of the strongest verses in the entire Bible on the subject of God’s Sabbath day is found in the New Testament!
Speaking to His disciples, Christ said, “The sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). This is a powerful statement. Immediately following this verse, we read: “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (This is repeated in Luke 6:5.) Any who wish to superimpose the idea that Christ did not keep and endorse the Sabbath must face this enormous first obstacle. This plain passage, recorded twice for emphasis, cannot be dismissed. We will see there is a reason it follows verse 27 as it does.
But what did Christ mean when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man”? Haven’t you always been taught, “The Sabbath was made for the Jews”? If so, why did Christ say, in the New Testament, “for man”? We must go to the creation account to find the answer.
Genesis means “beginning.” Most people assume this is where one learns of the beginning of God’s revealed knowledge. The true beginning of all things—where the account of God’s creation really starts—is not found in Genesis 1. It is found in the New Testament, in John 1. This is where the Bible records who or what existed before the creation recorded in Genesis.
Here is how John writes of the earliest time the Bible records: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things [“the universe” – Moffatt translation of same word in Hebrews 1:2] were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (1:1-3). This is all-encompassing.
But who is “the Word”? John answers a few verses later: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (vs. 14).
In the original Greek, the term “the Word” actually means “Spokesman.” While Christ only became the Son of God at His human birth, He was an eternal Being—He was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3).
Plainly, these verses speak of Jesus Christ both before and after His human birth. Only one God Being “became flesh and dwelt among us.” But verse 1 reveals more! Notice it says that Christ, the Word, “was” God and was also “with” God. This can only be possible if two separate Beings are being described. These two eternal Beings—Personages—existed before any of the physical universe had been created. They existed from the beginning and earlier.
Ephesians 3:9, written by Paul, confirms John 1: “God…created all things by Jesus Christ.” Having been “the Word”—the Spokesman—for all eternity, Jesus said many times throughout His ministry that He only stated what God wanted Him to say. Since He was “the Word,” we can understand why Psalm 33 states, “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens [the universe] made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…For He spoke, and it was done” (vs. 6, 9).
Understand what we have just read! The Jesus Christ of the New Testament was the God of the Old Testament. They are not two separate Beings. Notice this plain passage, ignored by almost all: “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they [ancient Israel] drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4). We will examine this later in greater detail.
The One who led ancient Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness was Jesus Christ of the New Testament! The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—and David (Psa. 18:2)—was Christ! And Paul wrote that God created “all things—by Jesus Christ”!
Let’s read one final scripture demonstrating, from the New Testament, that Christ, in fact, was the God of the Old Testament who did all the creating: “For by Him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him…And He is the Head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:16, 18).
This passage is all-inclusive. The fact that it was Christ who created everything that exists in the entire universe must be understood before continuing.
Since Jesus Christ and the Father were both present during the creation week, Genesis 1:26 naturally speaks of “Us” and “Our” when referring to God. Yet, again, it was Christ who actually did the creating of “all things.”
Notice: “And God [Elohim] 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 creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them…And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen. 1:26-27, 31).
The last part of Genesis 1 records the creation of man on the sixth day. This passage reveals that the Father and Christ (remember, Christ did the creating—He was the God of the Old Testament) created man for a great purpose—to reflect physically and take on spiritually God’s “image” and “likeness.”
Recognizing that Christ is doing the creating, here is the next passage following the creation of man and the completion of the sixth day: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 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” (Gen. 2:1-3).
The very first thing that CHRIST created after man was the Sabbath. This occurred over 2,000 years before the first Jew (the man named Judah) was born. The Sabbath was never merely for the Jews, or ancient Israel. The Sabbath was made “for man”—first, for Adam and Eve in the Garden, and for all other men ever after.
Christ created man—and He created the Sabbath. No wonder He said He was “Lord of the Sabbath.” Christ knew who He had made it for and why! Ponder this. Nowhere does Christ ever say He was Lord of Sunday. He never said that He made Sunday for man. Instead, we can now understand why He could say He was Lord of the seventh day. Christ personally rested on, blessed and sanctified THIS day from the beginning of creation.
God does everything for a purpose. He wanted His creation, man, to be able to rest one day after working for six previous days. We will learn later that the Sabbath involves a special covenant—a Sabbath covenant—between God and His true servants.
Some, missing the entire point of Mark 2:27-28, referenced earlier, have used this account to show that Jesus did away with the Sabbath. This account and others we will examine are misused to say that Christ voided the Sabbath. They say no such thing!
The Mark 2 account occurs on the Sabbath and begins in verse 23, with the disciples plucking ears of corn for food as they strolled along listening to Christ’s instruction. The Pharisees challenged them, thinking they were doing things “not lawful” on the Sabbath. Christ’s response was to show that, as the Author, Creator and Lord of the Sabbath, He—not the Pharisees or anyone else, then or ever after—could speak with authority about how to observe it. In other words, Christ governs all matters in relation to the Sabbath. As Maker, Sustainer and Author of the Sabbath Covenant, He alone deserves the title “Lord of the Sabbath.” Neither any church nor any man can take this role from the One who created the Sabbath for His own purpose!
The Pharisees had 65 separate “do’s” and “don’ts” governing almost every tiny aspect of how the Sabbath should or should not be kept. Their man-made regulations, developed over centuries, had turned the Sabbath into bondage instead of the blessing for mankind that God intended it to be. Many things were considered “not lawful.”
Jesus stressed that the Sabbath was made for man’s needs—to rest, be refreshed and commune with God. The Pharisees acted as if man was made for complying with their endless rules. Their maze of regulations separated them from the Sabbath’s true meaning.
Christ showed that the Pharisees’ condemnation of gathering corn to be eaten on the Sabbath was wrong (vs. 23-26). It was permissible to gather food on the Sabbath to satisfy immediate hunger.
Also, in Mark 3:1-6, the Pharisees watched Christ to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. When He perceived that they sought to accuse Him, Christ asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?” (vs. 4). The Pharisees would not answer Him. Christ immediately healed the man, after which the Pharisees sought to KILL Him. What an indictment against self-righteous human nature! Christ’s example shows that it is permissible to do good on the Sabbath and, in certain circumstances, to relieve suffering. This is in harmony with the spirit and intent of the Fourth Commandment.
In the same account found in Matthew 12:11-12, Christ used the analogy of rescuing an animal in distress. To this the Pharisees agreed. Yet they did not allow for Christ to heal people on the Sabbath. He used this same analogy in Luke 13:15-17, of loosing livestock from a stall to lead them away for watering on the Sabbath, with which the Pharisees also agreed. But they protested Christ’s healing of an Israelite woman bound with an 18-year affliction.
While these accounts are never a license to break the Sabbath, they explain that Christ allowed certain necessary physical duties to be carried out on this day. The Sabbath is made FOR mankind, as a BLESSING—not to create a list of strict man-made “do’s” and “don’ts,” thereby making it a curse.
Exodus 31:17 states, “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” Did Christ need to rest? The Bible states plainly that God “faints not, neither is weary” (Isa. 40:28). While God certainly was refreshed, it was not because He was tired and “needed a break.”
It would make no sense for God to make a day of rest on the first day of the week. Think about this. What would be the point of God making the Sabbath to begin the week so that He could rest from six days of work He had yet to perform? Christ says in both the Old and New Testaments that He never changes (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8). Therefore, God (Christ) could not ordain the Sabbath as the seventh day of the week only to later change it to the first day.
Invariably, when people are tired, they must rest. The purpose for God resting was entirely different—and far greater in meaning than first meets the eye. This is important because some assert God rested on the seventh day to satisfy His own personal fatigue. Of course, this makes no sense whatsoever if the Sabbath was made “for man.” It was never “for God.”
Exodus 20:11 reveals that God “hallowed”—made holy—the seventh day of every week. Other scriptures will make this absolutely plain. God “blessed the seventh day.” From this moment forward, the seventh day is made special—it has God’s divine blessing on it. The phrase “and sanctified it” helps clarify what this means. Dictionaries define the word sanctify as “set apart for a holy use or purpose.” This makes the Sabbath God’s time, not ours. Remember, in effect, Christ declared that He is Lord of this block of time. Four thousand years after creation, Christ said He was still Lord of this same special holy time He had given to man.
When placed together, the terms hallowed, blessed and sanctified show that God made the Sabbath holy, special for all time—throughout all ages! This was God’s intended purpose. This is what His resting—when He did not need to rest—achieved. When this is understood, it is easy to see why no MAN—or CHURCH—has the authority to make the Sabbath, or any other period of time, holy. Just as men cannot cause some other day to be holy, their ignorance or rejection of what God has made holy cannot make it UNHOLY.
The Sabbath is a 24-hour period of time God has made holy once every seven days. It begins at sunset Friday and ends at sunset Saturday.
We will see that God commands men to remove their foot from this special time. He does not want men trampling on, profaning, His Sabbath.
Before we discuss how God makes things holy, and what this means, none of this would make any difference if the Bible is not God’s Word—and cannot be proven to be divinely inspired.
You must come to realize the Bible has supreme authority in all spiritual matters, involving both belief and practice. Romans 8:9 says that one is not a Christian if he does not have Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, living within him. God’s Spirit is holy. It will not enter one who refuses to follow that which is holy.
Christ kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). Remember, the Bible states that He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8), and does not change (Mal. 3:6). Christ will still keep the Sabbath in you!
Do these words, and other passages cited in this book, carry the authority of a Supreme Being? Can one actually prove the Bible? This is itself a huge question! Just as most never seek to prove the existence of God, most never concern themselves with proving the authority of the Bible. They either have no interest in such proof or assume there is none—that it cannot be done!
What about you? Have you taken the time to seek actual, tangible proof of the Bible’s authority? As with the existence of God, have you been taught that you must accept the Bible entirely “on faith”? Most people are never challenged to find real proof that this Book is the inspired record of a Supreme Being. Circumstances rarely force people to undertake such a task. This is probably the single biggest reason that most never do. While I regularly attended “church” when growing up, I was never required, nor felt compelled, to prove either that God exists or that He authored the Bible. Not one of my “Sunday school” teachers ever suggested that this should be done or that there was value in it. Nor was any proof of these ever given or offered to me by anyone else prior to my calling! Not one person ever suggested to me that I should even be concerned with proving the answers to these two towering questions.
But unless you prove the Bible’s authority, you will never remove your activity from what God tells you He has made holy—the Sabbath. Again, no man has the authority to make a day holy. Only God does—and He commands us to keep His Sabbath in the condition we found it. But you must prove if the Bible command carries weight. Others of my books do this.
Let’s see further what holy means.
I ask again: Does it make any difference to God which day men choose to make holy? Can they arbitrarily select any day they wish and designate it “holy”?
A well-known Bible example illustrates the point. Exodus 3 gives the account of God speaking to Moses from a burning bush. While most who know anything of the Bible are familiar with this passage, there is an overlooked lesson in it pertaining to the Sabbath. The setting is Moses leading a flock of sheep to Mt. Sinai (Horeb). He came to a bush that was burning, yet was not burning up.
God commanded Moses, “Draw not near here: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground” (vs. 5). Moses did not argue about whether he thought the ground was holy. He simply took his shoes off. Much was at stake here. Had Moses done otherwise, reasoning like so many today, who argue about what God has made holy, God would have been unable to use him to lead Israel from bondage in Egypt.
It was God’s presence in the bush that made it holy. Surrounding bushes or ground were not holy. God designated only a certain piece of ground as holy, as having His presence. The account does not indicate that the ground looked or felt or in any way appeared different from the surrounding landscape. God had to REVEAL to Moses that the ground was holy—that He was present in it—that Moses must remove his shoes from it. Moses was given no choice but to treat that ground as special and holy. But appearance did not tell him this. God had to reveal it to him!
There is a direct connection to the Sabbath in this point. Here is what the prophet Isaiah wrote: “If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure [business] on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then shall you delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it” (58:13-14).
This plain passage explains that there are ways to profane God’s holy Sabbath. Like the ground around the burning bush, we are commanded to take our feet (our shoes) off God’s holy time—time that points to Him and has His holy presence in it. Either we believe the ideas and customs of men—and their churches—or we believe the plain commands from ALMIGHTY GOD! Either the opinions—and acceptance—of God-rejecting human beings are important to us, or the opinion of God is!
Which do you value?
God says, “The Eternal has given you the Sabbath.” We have seen that this world’s theologians have given mankind and professing “Churchianity” Sunday (the day of the sun)—and we will learn that it comes from rank paganism!
After making the seventh day holy 4,000 years earlier, Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath—and His presence is still in it today, 2,000 years later. Obviously, as its Maker, Christ would not be confused about which day to keep the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). But we should take a moment to briefly overview the pattern of Sabbath observance through the 4,000 years from its creation to Christ’s First Coming. This sets the stage to “clear the deck” of all questions for mankind’s first 4,000 years of existence.
Adam and Eve kept the Sabbath almost immediately after they were created on the sixth day. Obviously, their son Abel is called “righteous” (Matt. 23:35). Since Psalm 119:172 explains, “All your commandments are righteousness,” Abel kept the Sabbath. Since Enoch “walked with God” (Gen. 5:24), as a preacher of righteousness (Jude 14-15), he just as obviously kept the Sabbath. Therefore Noah, also a “preacher of righteousness” (II Pet. 2:5), would certainly have kept the Sabbath. All these preachers—Abel, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch and Noah—were direct descendants of each other (Seth was Abel’s brother) in this order and their lives overlapped for hundreds of years. (It can be demonstrated that Adam died only about 125 years before Noah was born.) No one would have lost track of the weekly cycle—and therefore which day was the Sabbath—during this period. (We will address this topic in greater detail in the next chapter.) Certainly Shem would have been taught by his father Noah to keep the Sabbath. History also records that he was “righteous”—and he overlapped 150 years into Abraham’s lifetime.
Abraham, often called “the father of the faithful,” kept God’s Sabbath. Notice: “Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Gen. 26:5). This verse is most plain. Abraham kept God’s Sabbath! It is the Fourth commandment.
The Bible declares that “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Because the Law did exist from creation, God could tell Cain, before he killed Abel, that “sin lies at the door” (Gen. 4:7), if he did not control his attitude.
Human beings must justify their rebellion against God’s Commandments. Human nature hates His law (Rom. 8:7), preferring the traditions and commandments of men in its place (Mark 7:6-9). Yet, God commands in the New Testament that to break any one of His laws is sin (Jms. 2:10-11).
There is a reason this is especially critical to understand. Many who refuse to accept God’s Sabbath, forgetting it was made at creation, claim that God’s Commandments did not exist until Moses received them at Mt. Sinai—430 years after the promises were made to Abraham. How then did Abraham and others know of them? Because they were all given at creation. The weekly cycle has never changed since the original creation week.
Before continuing, let’s be absolutely certain that this is true. Let’s study the abundance of proof.
Many realize that God created, rested on, blessed and hallowed the seventh day!—and by now, so should you. But which day is the seventh day in today’s calendar? Has the weekly cycle been lost? Can we know? You can be certain. This chapter presents absolute proof!
“In spite of all of our dickerings with the calendar, it is patent that the human race never lost the septenary [seven-day] sequence of week days and that the Sabbath of these latter times comes down to us from Adam, through the ages, without a single lapse.”
- Dr. Totten of New Haven, Connecticut—Professor of Astronomy, Yale University (www.truthontheweb.org/shabbatu.htm)
Let’s ask, is the above statement true? Can it be proven? If so, how? We saw that at the end of the creation week in Genesis 1 God finished His activity with a special creation: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 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” (Gen. 2:1-3).
Twenty-five centuries later, at Mt. Sinai, God gave the Ten Commandments to the nation of ancient Israel through Moses. We also saw that the Sabbath command in Exodus directly referred to the creation account of Genesis 2. It states, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Ex. 20:8-11).
These have been very plain, clear verses. But for the sake of discussion, we will continue with several basic facts. God made the Sabbath. He rested on it. He sanctified it (set it apart). He blessed it. He made it to be the seventh day of a seven-day cycle.
This chapter is not primarily written to prove that the Sabbath should be kept. The book does that. Our purpose here is to prove the weekly cycle has never changed since creation. Many suppose that it has. If this cycle has been either broken or lost, there remains no further obligation for mankind to observe the true Sabbath of the Bible. It is that simple. If the weekly cycle has been broken, the Sabbath is lost to history and cannot be in effect today!
Others are more sincere and ask, “Well, I know God created the Sabbath, but how do we now know which day of our week He made holy?” or “Hasn’t mankind changed the calendar?” And further, our seventh day, Saturday, was named after the pagan god Saturn, and some question whether this had an effect on the Hebrew calendar. Others ask about what has been called “the long day of Joshua” or traveling around the world and “gaining a day” or “losing a day.” Many naturally wonder what possible effects any of these issues may have had on the weekly cycle.
Before addressing the concerns raised in this series of questions, a point must first be acknowledged.
Consider! These questions, while individually important, collectively represent a single great question. Is the all-powerful God of the universe capable of creating, hallowing, sanctifying and blessing the seventh day of the week, yet, at the same time, be incapable of keeping track of this day throughout history? Would God command people to “remember” the Sabbath only to Himself forget that He must preserve it for this to be possible? The idea is absurd. It insults God’s thinking—and power—by making Him appear to be a doddering old man who is so disorganized and forgetful that He cannot keep track of what He has created or commanded!
While mankind seeks excuses not to keep the Sabbath, some actually dare to blame God as the reason this is no longer possible. They then reason that if He forgot to preserve the weekly cycle, mankind no longer needs to remember and observe the Sabbath. How convenient for human nature!
This world’s professing Christianity—Catholicism and the many branches of Protestantism—keep Sunday. It has been the Roman Catholic Church that has preserved Sunday as the day of worship. Notice again, before continuing, what was a stunning admission from a letter by James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921). While it also makes a statement about how Sabbath obedience was exchanged for Sunday observance, this quote demonstrates the importance of the preservation of Sunday observance for Catholics throughout the centuries. This is only one of so many previously-stated similar quotes:
“Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church [Roman Catholic] change the seventh day—Saturday—for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes. Did Christ change the day? I answer no!…Faithfully yours, J. Cardinal Gibbons.”
No one ever seems to question that the first day of the week is Sunday! Over two billion professing Christians assert that they keep Sunday in commemoration of Christ’s supposed resurrection on that day—the first day of the week. It is unthinkable to suggest that so many people would either purposely, carelessly or inadvertently be keeping “their day,” the first day of the week, Sunday, on the wrong day! Right? But Jews are no less certain that they are keeping the Sabbath on the true seventh day of the week. The Jewish people have been responsible for “keeping track” of their day, the same day kept by Jesus and the apostles, for many centuries longer than Catholics have been tracking “their day.”
The point is this: Each group (Catholics and Jews) knows full well which day is which—and neither would dare suggest the other does not!
Most know the story of Israel’s slavery in Egypt and her Exodus under Moses. A 1950s Hollywood movie made it famous. Before the Exodus, Jacob and his sons had joined another of his sons, Joseph, in Egypt. Later, after Jacob died, a different Pharaoh came into power and enslaved the Israelites for over 150 years. They were not permitted to keep the Sabbath and had no priesthood to guide them. Since Moses recorded the first five books of the Bible later, they would not yet have had any Scriptures available to teach them.
Notice Israel’s condition: “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Rameses…And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor” (Ex. 1:11, 13-14).
The Bible records that there were 600,000 men, age 20 and above, who left Egypt with Moses. This means there were three-to-four million Israelites, counting women and children. All of them lacked formal knowledge of the Sabbath. By the time they reached the Wilderness of Sin (Zin), two months after leaving Egypt, they were hungry and complaining because of lack of food in the desert.
It has been established that God gave the Sabbath to ancient Israel through Moses. Why did God do this? He had to! Israel had just spent nearly two and a half centuries in Egypt, with most of that time in slavery. They had not been permitted to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—their forefathers—for all those years. At the time that God liberated them, they had forgotten the identity of the true God and His Sabbath.
This is one reason that the Sabbath command begins with the words “Remember the Sabbath day”—Israel had forgotten it. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had kept God’s law (Gen. 26:5), but the knowledge of the Sabbath had become lost through the centuries.
God decided to make the Sabbath command clear to Israel while they were in the Wilderness of Sin. Israel had left the “flesh pots” of Egypt behind and grumbled to Moses because they lacked food. God had to test whether they would obey His law. This was a specific test designed to teach Israel the uniqueness of the Sabbath’s holy time. The account is found in Exodus 16. It illustrates that people can find themselves thinking that “time has been lost.”
The Old Testament story about God feeding manna (and quail) to Israel is well known. Notice: “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” (vs. 4). “And Moses said, This shall be, when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the Lord hears your murmurings” (vs. 8).
The test had begun: Would Israel keep God’s law—keep His Sabbath? Would they walk in His law or not?
The context continues, “And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord: for He has heard your murmurings. And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud…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” (vs. 9-10, 13).
It is important to realize that the quail did not come up until after dusk (sunset). Also, Israel was assembled as a congregation on the Sabbath day. They were gathered for a religious service. The quails appeared when the Sabbath was over, and people were permitted to gather them for the evening meal.
The next morning was the first day of the week and the first time that manna appeared. People were instructed to only gather enough for each day, or it would breed worms and stink (vs. 20). The people disbelieved Moses and attempted to gather extra manna. Just as God said, it bred worms and stank. However, verse 22 explains that on the sixth day of the week they could gather twice as much, so they would have food for the Sabbath, and it would not breed worms and stink. God said this because “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord” (vs. 23).
As is always the case, some did not believe God and attempted to gather manna on the Sabbath—the seventh day (vs. 27). Just as God had said, they found none. How quickly some become confused about time! These Israelites must have thought “time had been lost” and that the manna would be there even though God had told them it would not. Others thought the manna could be held over on days other than the sixth day when it could not. God’s response to those who became confused was, “And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse you to keep My commandments and My laws? See, for that the Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore He gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you 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” (vs. 28-30).
Set confusion and disobedience aside. The sole purpose of this test was to show that God made a specific time holy—the seventh day!
Fifteen hundred years after the account in Exodus 16 is the example of Christ. He had no doubt which day was the Sabbath.
Mark 2:27-28 records Christ talking to the Pharisees: “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.” If Christ were Lord of the Sabbath, He would have known when it was! Luke 4:16 says that Christ’s custom was to enter the synagogue every Sabbath.
In A.D. 69-70, all Jews were driven from Palestine and dispersed into nations around the world. Through the last 19 centuries, they have never become confused about which day was the Sabbath. Remember, Luke 4:16 (and 17, 20) actually showed Christ meeting with the Jews in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Again, the Jews had not become confused about which day it was when Christ was alive.
Today, if time had been lost, we would expect that Jews, scattered around the world and no longer in communication with one another, would be keeping different days. However, today they are all in unity—in agreement—on which day is the Sabbath.
An historian once said, “More than the Jews having kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” This is true! Modern Jews have never lost their identity because they have never lost track of the seventh day Sabbath!
There is no doubt that the Sabbath was kept intact through the 1,500 years until Christ’s time. He was certainly not confused and knew when to keep it. There is also no doubt that the Jews have kept it intact ever since. We will momentarily consider other proofs of the period after Christ, but first we must examine an event prior to Christ’s life.
Christ’s obedience to the Sabbath established its continuity throughout His lifetime. So, while there should now be no need to look backward in time, we will consider one other objection that arises. Some argue, “What about Joshua? Didn’t he have some kind of ‘long day’ in the Old Testament? Didn’t that day throw time off and make Sunday the seventh day of the week?” Is this true? We must carefully consider this account, from Joshua 10.
Notice: “Then spoke Joshua to the Lord …before the children of Israel…Sun, stand you still upon Gibeon; and you, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed…So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (10:12-13).
The scripture states that the sun stood still for “about a whole day.” We will later demonstrate that God defines a normal day as about twenty-four hours.
A clever argument has been used to teach that Joshua’s long day caused Sunday to become the new seventh day of the week. Carefully following the logic of this argument, it is best summarized in this way: “The week in which Joshua’s long day occurred contained an extra twenty-four hour period. This would be the period described as ‘about a whole day.’ If Joshua’s battle occurred, for instance, on a Thursday, then there were eight twenty-four hour periods in the week of Joshua’s long day instead of seven! Since Thursday would be about forty-eight hours long, it would now also include Friday. The following day, Friday, would then become the day that was Saturday. And Saturday (what would have been the seventh day of this week) would become Sunday.”
This faulty logic would then continue by concluding that “the seventh day has been Sunday ever since.” Of course, this means that people have been keeping the Sabbath on the wrong day for over 3,400 years! For this argument to be true we must ask: Was Thursday really Thursday and Friday—or was Thursday merely a long Thursday?
Here is the problem with the logic of this argument. Those who espouse it do not understand the Bible definition of a day. Let’s keep this matter straight. We must let the Bible, and the Bible alone, define a day! Men have endless ideas about things they think the Bible says. We must examine what it actually says—not what people with preconceived ideas think it says.
Men try to say that Joshua’s long day was two days of twenty-four hours each. This is what is necessary to move the seventh day of the week forward into what is now Sunday. Return to Joshua’s account. Does God refer to this day as two days? Here is His answer: “And there was no day like that before it or after it ” (10:14). Did you catch the “it”? God refers to this period as a “day,” and “it” (twice). God uses the singular, not the plural. It says day, not days!
Make no mistake. This was not an ordinary day! This much is certain. God says, “there was no day like…it.” It was only one day—and this does not mean “two days in one.” It was a single, unique day in the course of human history, and perhaps of all time. This was a tremendous supernatural event demonstrating the great power of God. The universe is a finely tuned mechanism, functioning like a giant Swiss watch. Astronomers agree that it is all interdependent and moves together. Literally, it required God to halt the entire heavens (remember, this miracle included the moon) for about twenty-four hours in order to make the sun “stand still.” To use this event as an excuse to disobey the Sabbath is to trivialize one of the greatest miracles of all time!
The following diagrams depict the error of the clever argument that we have described. The first diagram is the wrong view of the week, and the second is the correct view.
Men may decide that a day is twenty-four hours by the clock—but that is not what God says. We must understand why God could correctly describe Joshua’s approximately forty-eight hour day as one day.
In the creation chapter of Genesis 1, God gives His definition of a day. God says that He “divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening (darkness) and the morning (light) were the first day…And the evening (darkness) and the morning (light) were the second day…And the evening and the morning were the third day” (vs. 4-13) and so on through the first week. From this account, we see that days are comprised of evenings and mornings. Despite the common perception, a day is not merely the daylight portion of a twenty-four-hour period. It is, in fact, the entire period between sunsets.
This is the Bible definition of the length of a day! What could be more plain?
Further, we must go to Leviticus to see what God says is the starting point of each day. Notice that “from even unto even” (23:32) is how God instructed that the Sabbath be observed. The word evening is derived from the word even. For several hundred years after the death of Christ, the general practice was always to begin days at sunset, not at midnight. Any encyclopedia will explain this and Luke 4:40 and Mark 1:32 show that days begin and end at the time of sunset.
Joshua’s long day consisted of a twelve-hour evening and about a thirty-six-hour “morning.” But this did not make it two days—it was just one very long day.
Now we must restate a previous point. Remember that Christ was not confused about the Sabbath, and that He kept it on the proper day over 1,400 years after “Joshua’s long day.” To believe that the long day of Joshua altered the weekly cycle, thus losing a day, it is necessary to believe that Christ Himself did not adjust for this “long day.” Then one must believe that Christ was “off” by one full day in His calculation of which day was the Sabbath—and so were the Jews.
Now think! If Christ was incorrect in His calculation of the Sabbath, then He broke the Sabbath—He sinned—and mankind has no Savior! But Christ did not sin by breaking the Sabbath or in any other fashion. And mankind does have a Savior.
Finally, it is interesting to note that even those who reference Joshua’s account always call it “Joshua’s long day”—not “Joshua’s long days.” The whole argument of trying to compress two days into one, to escape the command to keep the seventh day Sabbath (today’s Saturday), seems rather silly, doesn’t it? Do not be fooled by the clever arguments of men.
Because the earth is round, days are determined by the rotation of the planet on its axis. This rotation is measured in relation to the sun. It is the same with the Sabbath. Sundown—at any given place on earth—determines the beginning of the Sabbath or any other day. Whether one is in New York, Manila or Paris is irrelevant. A day is from “even [sunset] unto even [sunset]” (Lev. 23:32). The beginning of any day is determined based on where someone is when the sun goes down.
The International Date Line was established so that men could know where their travels would require them to add or subtract a day—depending upon whether they were traveling east or west. Except for a couple of isolated South Pacific islands, this location was ideally placed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because it does not permit people in different parts of the world to keep any day (including the Sabbath) on two different days. People in Japan start the Sabbath before those in India—who start it before people in Jerusalem—who start it before those in London—who start it before people in Chicago—who start it before those in Honolulu. However, all keep it on the same day!
Do not be confused by people who say that traveling around the world can cause one to “gain” or to “lose” days. Clever statements are often made about gaining hours while traveling west or losing them while traveling east. This is not reality, but rather a perception of reality.
Here’s how to prove it! If one starts in London and travels non-stop westward around the world, returning to London, will he arrive one full day behind everyone who never left London? Has he traveled backward in time and “gained” twenty-four hours? Conversely, if one did the same thing traveling non-stop eastward, would he arrive in London a day before everyone that had remained there? Has he traveled forward in time and actually “lost” twenty-four hours?
The idea is silly! Yet this is how some people reason. If this were true, two separate people, one traveling non-stop eastward and the other traveling non-stop westward, would both arrive in London at the same time and yet be two days apart in time. If two people did this over and over, one would become younger while the other would be aging at a faster rate. How ridiculous to consider this! Yet this argument fools some people.
There is a slightly different, but related, point to be considered. It seems that there are never-ending ways that people devise to believe time can be lost. What would have to happen—exactly—for time to truly be lost in such a way that the whole world would lose it? Another way of asking this question is: What would it take today for over six and one half billion people on earth to all lose track of time?
We have all known people who forget where they are, fall asleep or “lose track of time,” when they are supposed to be somewhere or do something on a schedule. Perhaps this has happened to you several times. So, it is admitted that individuals can certainly “lose track of time.” However, someone would have to be knocked unconscious or fall into a coma to lose track of time so that, when they awaken, they are unable to know how much time has passed—days, weeks, months, or even years! But, they would merely ask how long they had been “out” and the answer would reorient them.
Let’s carry this further. What would be necessary for all people on earth to lose track of time? The following would have to happen (I am being facetious): Simultaneously, everyone on earth, for an extended period of time, would have to be knocked unconscious, fall asleep or fall into a coma! Presumably, if everyone then regained consciousness, there would be no one left to ask how much time had passed while everyone else was “out cold.” If even one person remained conscious, he could tell everyone what had happened. Everyone would be re-oriented to the proper time.
Can you see the absurdity of such shallow, deceptive arguments about “gaining” or “losing” time?
The true Church of God has always kept God’s Sabbath—Saturday. Just as Jews know the correct day, so also do true Christians.
Most theologians and religionists have long admitted that the true Sabbath of the Bible is the seventh day. However, they will not obey it. Saturday, not Sunday, is the seventh day of the week. Even a good dictionary explains this. You have already seen several scriptural references to the Sabbath. God hallowed it at creation—long before there were any Jews or Israelites to keep it.
God told ancient Israel, “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” (Ezek. 20:12). One of the single greatest keys that identifies the true Church, the one founded by Jesus Christ, is the sign of God’s true Sabbath.
The quote, “More than the Jews having kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews!” could as easily have been said of the true Church, which has been under siege throughout the ages—partly for keeping the Sabbath. The church at Rome, in A.D. 363, decreed the death sentence on all who continued to observe the Sabbath.
Christ kept the Sabbath. A Christian is one who follows—who copies—Jesus Christ’s example in his own life. His example was Sabbath observance! Therefore, for 2,000 years, the New Testament Church has always kept God’s Sabbath. The record of history is that God’s Church has remained faithful to the Sabbath command despite intense persecution. It has remained a sign between God and His people.
What about the important question of changes to the Roman calendar? There were two important changes (actually one change that occurred in two stages) to two different Roman calendars. These changes are acknowledged. But what were the nature of these changes? Did they affect the weekly cycle? They did not! Neither of the two changes affected the days of the week. This has not kept people from saying that these changes broke the weekly cycle. This reasoning continues with the claim that this has caused time to be lost—and thus the certainty of when to observe the Sabbath is gone.
Some understanding of history is required. Most are unfamiliar with the fact that today’s calendar is called the Gregorian calendar or that the Julian calendar preceded it.
Most are familiar with the famous Roman emperor, Julius Caesar. He devised the first Roman calendar—called the “Julian calendar.” Our month of July still carries the stamp of his name. His calendar dated from 45 B.C. and continued to A.D. 1582—spanning over 16 centuries. A Greek astronomer named Sosigenes calculated the calendar in 46 B.C., which Caesar adopted.
The first change to the calendar occurred in 1582 and was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585). From this point, the calendar has been known as the “Gregorian calendar.” One hundred and seventy years later, in 1752, another change was made. Both involved dropping days from the calendar to correct for previous errors in construction and computation. What had caused the problem?
Over the centuries, astronomers had come to greater precision in understanding how to compute and devise a more exact (solar) calendar. The Julian calendar lacked this precision. It was based on the belief that a solar year was exactly 365 1/4 days long. Hence, the calendar added one extra day every four years to the month of February. Astronomers learned in time that the solar year was actually 12 minutes and 14 seconds shorter than previously believed. This caused the spring equinox to fall backwards on the calendar until it eventually fell on March 11th instead of March 21st. This required that ten days be dropped from the calendar.
Bear in mind that days were dropped from the month—in October 1582—but not from the week! The above diagram shows how this was done.
The first week of October went from Thursday, October 4th, to Friday, October 15th. The two Sabbaths on either side of this change were still seven days apart. The Sabbath remained unaffected. The weekly cycle was not broken. Because it was the Catholics who made the change, it is they who possess the best historical record of how they did this. The official change took place in Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Apparently, there was much debate about how and when to make the change. Notice the following two quotes: “Thus, every imaginable proposition was made, only one idea was never mentioned, viz., the abandonment of the seven-day week” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, p. 251, article “Lilius”). (It was Lilius who actually proposed the change that was finally accepted.)
Also, “It is to be noted that in the Christian period, the order of days in the week has never been interrupted. Thus, when Gregory XIII reformed the calendar in 1582, Thursday, 4 October was followed by Friday, 15 October. So in England, in 1752, Wednesday, 2 September, was followed by Thursday, 14 September” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 740, article “Chronology”).
As stated, two changes occurred to the calendar that were really one change occurring in two stages. This bears explanation. When Pope Gregory decreed the change, the British would not comply. They retained the old Julian calendar until 1752—thus remaining ten days behind the newly established Gregorian calendar! Obviously, Sabbath-keeping remained undisturbed in British areas for these 170 years.
The British finally determined to make the change. With the passing of 170 years came an additional “drift” in the calendar of one more day. Now it became necessary to drop eleven days to catch up with the spring equinox, instead of the previous ten! The change was effected in September of 1752. Instead of dropping ten days, between a Thursday and Friday as in 1582, the British chose to drop eleven days between a Wednesday and Thursday. The next diagram explains what happened. Once again, Sabbath-keeping continued undisturbed during the seven-day period spanning the change:
Actually, there was even a third stage to the calendar changes described above. The Russians refused to make the change until 1907! Their calendar had now fallen thirteen days behind everyone else’s. It was not until 1907 that they synchronized with the rest of the world by dropping thirteen days from their calendar. Before and after this change, Sabbath-keepers in Russia observed the same day that Sabbath-keepers everywhere else in the world observed. Certainly the same practice applied to all Sunday-keepers.
No one can dispute these basic facts of recent history!
Have you ever asked yourself where the different terms day, week, month and year originated? Consider the year. What is it? How was it derived? Men determined that it is the exact amount of time necessary for the earth to revolve around the sun one time. Astronomers and scientists were able to determine the length of a year through precise mathematical computation. Their calculations cannot be disputed!
What about a month? The same is true. The word month is a shortened version of “moonth.” Men determined that it is the exact amount of time necessary for the moon to orbit or revolve around the earth. Astronomers and scientists were able to determine the length of a month through precise mathematical computation. Their calculations cannot be disputed!
What about the day? What is it? Again, the same is true. Men determined that it is the exact amount of time necessary for the earth to rotate on its axis one time. Astronomers and scientists were able to determine the length of a day through precise mathematical computation. Their calculations cannot be disputed!
None of the above calculations required a revelation from God. All of the computations and calculations could be performed by men. They cannot be “interpreted” otherwise. The evidence has been long established!
Now consider who determined that a week contains seven days. Did scientists—astronomers—mathematicians—historians—Popes or other religious authorities? What exact mathematical computation would have guided men to a seven-day conclusion for the length of a week—in the same way that the year, month and day were derived? Astronomy and math have nothing to do with the length of a week! So, why doesn’t the week have five days? Why doesn’t it have eight days or ten days? This question of “why the seven-day week?” has always loomed before all men.
The only correct answer to this question is that God divinely revealed the week to mankind! No other solution fits and the seven-day weekly cycle is universally accepted around the world!
Many experts have spoken about the unbroken continuity of the weekly cycle from creation. Their testimony represents its own towering authority attesting to the sanctity and divine origin of the seven-day week.
Consider the following powerful quotes taken from the website www.tagnet.org/llt/science.htm:
“The week is a period of seven days…It has been employed from time immemorial in almost all Eastern countries” (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, Vol. 4, p. 988, article, “Calendar”).
In the 1920s and early 1930s, the League of Nations was considering altering the Gregorian calendar. Many ideas were considered and debated. In the League’s official “Report on the Reform of the Calendar,” published at Geneva, August 17, 1926, are the following statements by noted astronomers:
“The week has been followed for thousands of years and therefore has been hallowed by immemorial use” (Anders Donner, “The Report,” p. 51. [Donner had been a professor of Astronomy at the University of Helsingfors.]).
“I have always hesitated to suggest breaking the continuity of the week, which without a doubt is the most ancient scientific institution bequeathed to us by antiquity” (Edouard Baillaud, “The Report,” p. 52. [Baillaud was Director of the Paris Observatory.]).
“There has been no change in our calendar in past centuries that has affected in any way the cycle of the week” (James Robertson, personal letter, dated March 12, 1932. [Dr. Robertson was Director of the American Ephemeris, Navy Dept., U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.]).
“As far as I know, in the various changes of the Calendar there has been no change in the seven day rota of the week, which has come down from very early times” (F.W. Dyson, personal letter, dated March 4, 1932. [Dr. Dyson was Astronomer Royal, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London.]).
“The week of seven days has been in use ever since the days of the Mosaic dispensation, and we have no reason for supposing that any irregularities have existed in the succession of weeks and their days from that time to the present” (Dr. W.W. Campbell, Statement. [Dr. Campbell was Director of Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton, California.]).
“For more than 3,000 years science has gone backward, and with profound research, reveals the fact that in that vast period the length of the day has not changed by the hundredth part of a single second of time” (General O.M. Mitchell, Astronomy of the Bible, p. 235).
“By calculating the eclipses, it can be proven that no time has been lost and that the creation days were seven, divided into twenty-four hours each” (Dr. Hinckley, The Watchman, July, 1926. [Dr. Hinckley was a well-known astronomer of a half a century ago.]).
“The continuity of the week has crossed the centuries and all known calendars, still intact” (Professor D. Eginitis, Statement [Dr. Eginitis was Director of the Observatory of Athens, Greece.]).
Then this longer quote:
“It is a strange fact that even today there is a great deal of confusion concerning the question of so-called ‘lost time.’ Alterations that have been made to the calendar in the past have left the impression that time has actually been lost. In point of fact, of course, these adjustments were made to bring the calendar into closer agreement with the natural [solar] year. Now, unfortunately, this supposed ‘lost time’ is still being used to throw doubt upon the unbroken cycle of the Seventh-day Sabbath that God inaugurated at the Creation. I am glad I can add the witness of my scientific training to the irrevocable nature of the weekly cycle.
“Having been time computer at Greenwich [England Observatory] for many years, I can testify that all our days are in God’s absolute control—relentlessly measured by the daily rotation of the earth on its axis. This daily period of rotation does not vary one-thousandth part of a second in thousands of years. Also, the year is a very definite number of days. Consequently, it can be said that not a day has been lost since Creation, and all the calendar changes notwithstanding, there has been no break in the weekly cycle” (Frank Jeffries, Statement [Dr. Jeffries was Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Research Director of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England.]).
Finally, consider the following extraordinary admission by the Sunday-keeping Presbyterian Church:
“The division of time into weeks is a singular measure of time by periods of seven days that may be traced not only through the sacred history before the era of Moses, but in all ancient civilizations of every era, many of which could not possibly have derived their notion from Moses. Among the learned of Egypt, the Brahmans of India, by Arabs, by Assyrians, as may be gathered from their astronomers and priests, this division was recognized. Hesiod (900 B.C.) declares the seventh day is holy. And so also Homer and Callimachus. Even in the Saxon mythology, the division by weeks is prominent. Nay, even among the tribes of primitive worshipers in Africa, we are told that a peculiar feature of their religion is a weekly sacred day, the violation of which by labor will incur the wrath of their god. Traces of a similar division of time have been noticed among the Indians of the American continent.
“Now, on what other theory are these facts explicable than upon the supposition of a divinely ordained Sabbath at the origin of the race?” (“The Christian Sabbath,” tract number 271, released by the Presbyterian Board of Publication).
This chapter has addressed whether the Sabbath has been lost in the time since creation. You have seen that it has not. No amount of deceptive trickery or clever “sleight of hand” has been sufficient to overthrow the truth about when God’s Sabbath should be observed. God never requires people to discern for themselves what to obey—only whether they will obey.
You have now seen proof that the weekly cycle has been kept intact for nearly 6,000 years. What will you do?
Think for a moment. Almost everything God says to do, men do not do. Almost everything God says not to do, men do. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ says, “Swear not at all.” Yet people routinely swear, over Bibles in courtrooms and about nearly everything else one can think of. He says, “Love your enemies,” so men hate them and kill them in war, and many other ways. Also in the Sermon on the Mount, He says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law,” yet preachers declare, “You can’t keep the law. Christ did away with it because He kept it for us.”
Why do human beings seemingly examine the Bible for everything God says in His Word, only to find a reason to do or believe the exact opposite?
Just shortly after the manna test, the three-to-four million Israelites arrived en masse at Mt. Sinai. There, they were given the Ten Commandments by God through Moses. The Sabbath is the fourth command.
Let’s read the entire Sabbath commandment: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your 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” (Ex. 20:8-11).
Several points are vital to understand. First, God said, “Remember the Sabbath.” Again, Israel had forgotten it during their time in Egypt. God had just miraculously revealed the Sabbath—through the manna—as holy time and He wanted Israel to “remember” this time that they had forgotten. Why do men today want to forget a commandment that begins with the word remember? In a world that has forgotten it, God tells you—today—to remember the Sabbath. Will you?
Second, God (actually Christ) commands to abstain from work on the seventh day. God made the Sabbath as a time for man to rest from the previous six days of work. The rest command is all-encompassing. He knew that man would need this rest—physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. This is another reason the Sabbath is literally “for man.” It is a weekly opportunity to break away from the daily routine, commune more closely with God and reflect on our purpose for being.
God does command human beings to work six days. He wants man to provide for himself (and his family) and manage his life and finances in accordance with His laws. Many verses, such as John 5:17, 36, show that both God the Father and Christ work—so should we.
Third, is the critically important point revealing that God regives the Sabbath by hearkening to its place and creation in the original creation week. Exodus 20:11 uses practically the same language as Genesis 2:2-3. More than 2,500 years had passed from the time of creation. God explains that the Sabbath is still holy—hallowed—time.
An important side note is in order here. Though Genesis 2:2-3 does not use the term “the Sabbath day,” Exodus 20 does. This is critical because Exodus 20 directly references the Genesis 2 creation account. While both use the term “the seventh day,” Exodus merely adds that this is “the Sabbath,” therefore making it one and the same as the Sabbath from creation. The Sabbath did not, technically, first appear at Mt. Sinai as some claim. Remember, the same Christ who was Lord of “the Sabbath” made it at creation. The “seventh day” and “the Sabbath” are synonymous! Do not let anyone cleverly twist terms to “prove” that the Sabbath is 2,500 years newer than God says it is!
Fourth, the seventh day is called “the Sabbath of the Lord ”—not “the Sabbath of the Jews” or “the Sabbath of the Israelites.” The phrase “of the Lord” connotes possession. An equivalent way of saying this is “the Lord’s Sabbath.” Following basic reasoning, the seventh day is “the Lord’s day.”
No wonder Christ called the Sabbath “the Lord’s day.” Sunday has never been the Lord’s day—it is “the Sun’s day,” plain and simple. Yes, men have given the seventh day the pagan name of Saturday (Saturn’s day), but it has always been God’s day—the true Lord’s day. Also, since the original Sabbath command uses the term “the Sabbath of the Lord,” it should be easy to see why the same Lord (Christ) would say to the Pharisees that He was “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5).
Surely some will cite Revelation 1:10 and try to apply the term “Lord’s Day” there to Sunday. This is usually done by saying that Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb was on a Sunday.
We have seen that many theologians and religionists have long admitted that the true Sabbath of the Bible is the seventh day. Saturday is the seventh day of the week (any good dictionary states this), and the weekly cycle has never been broken. However, the ministers of this world have had to carefully devise “explanations” that dismiss many clear scriptures about God’s plain command to keep His Sabbath. Instead of letting God’s Word change their beliefs to conform to His truths, they change the words or their meanings to make them fit their beliefs! They justify Sunday-keeping even though God’s Word has never justified this!
God has always instructed, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). He has never said, “Remember the first day (the pagan Sun’s day) to keep it holy,” or authorized His Church or mankind to do this. Nor did He ever command or allow His people to observe numerous other pagan festivals and days of worship, kept by this world’s churches.
We have just introduced why theologians and so many others must conclude that Christ’s Resurrection was on Sunday! Consider. This is why Sunday is commonly referred to as “the Lord’s Day.” While the true “Lord’s Day” of the Bible is actually the Day of the Lord—the Day of His WRATH (Rev. 1:10; 15:1, 7; Joel 2:1-11 and over 30 other places in the prophets)—the term, the Lord’s Day, has come to be synonymous with Sunday. But why? The reason is simple. If Sunday can be established as the day Christ was resurrected—i.e., the “Lord’s Day”—it becomes a means of validating and “authorizing” the keeping of Sunday by the churches of the world, in place of God’s true Sabbath.
It is interesting that the churches of this world will often admit to making a half-hearted effort at keeping nine of the Ten Commandments. Typically, they will acknowledge that it is wrong to steal, kill, covet, bear false witness, and commit adultery. They will also acknowledge that honoring one’s father and mother, avoiding idolatry and taking God’s name in vain—while also claiming to follow the God described in the First Commandment—are basically good things to do. However, most do a poor job of actually keeping these nine Commandments, and teach that Christ officially did away with them and “kept them for us.” But most will agree, at least tacitly, that these nine commandments are “nice principles.”
Exodus 20:8-11 reveals Sabbath-keeping is the Fourth Commandment—a fundamental LAW of God! The Sabbath was hallowed—made into holy time—by God at creation. God never hallowed the first day of the week.
Therefore, more than the Good Friday-Easter Sunday tradition collapses if Christ was in the grave for 72 hours instead of 36. (This is discussed in Chapter Ten.) The largest single “reason” for the unscriptural tradition (recall Mark 7:7) of Sunday-keeping collapses at the same time. Again, God has always said, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy,” never “Remember Sunday to keep it holy—and just call it the Lord’s day!” Actually, Christ’s Resurrection occurred late Saturday afternoon, between 3 and 6 p.m. If the day of His Resurrection is important—then it points to the sabbath, not Sunday!
All arguments that Sunday is the Lord’s Day are easily exposed as a product of rebellious human reasoning from people who refuse to OBEY GOD! An entire later chapter will thoroughly expose this idea for the falsehood that it is.
Nearly everyone has a different idea about what constitutes sin. Do you know? If sin brings the death penalty (Rom. 6:23), then the Bible must tell us what it is so that we can avoid such a terrible punishment. Do not settle for half-answers or the opinions of men. Do not concern yourself with what “religious people” and this world’s ministers say, but with what the Bible says.
The Word of God reveals truth (John 17:17). Here is His definition—the true definition—of sin: “Whosoever commits SIN transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). GOD decides what sin is. And He states that it is transgressing—breaking—His laws. Since sin is the transgression of the law, and the opposite would be obedience to the law, then exactly what law must we obey?
The answer is the Ten Commandments! Let’s prove it with some review. John also wrote, “All unrighteousness is sin” (I John 5:17). Remember, “all [God’s] commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). So then, unrighteousness is sin—breaking God’s Commandments.
The apostle James added, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend [sin] in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law [a lawbreaker]” (2:10-11).
James was directly referring to the Ten Commandments.
If a person breaks any “one point” of the Law, he is guilty of sin. The Fourth Commandment—fourth “point”—in the Law James speaks of is “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Sabbath-breaking is still SIN today. Once again, so says the New Testament!
Before continuing, let’s examine the greatest single reason mankind has sought to get around God’s laws, particularly His Sabbath.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes an amazing statement: “Because the carnal [physical, natural] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (8:7). Other translations use the phrase “is the ENEMY of God” in place of “is enmity against God.”
This verse offers startling insight into the working of the carnal, physical mind of every human being. Cut off from God, the natural mind is God’s enemy—it hates Him. Think of it! Then ask yourself if any minister, religionist or theologian has ever explained this to you.
NO! The religious leaders of this world never refer to it. They either ignore this understanding entirely or do not recognize its powerful implications!
This verse plainly states that the natural mind does not want, and even hates, to yield to God and obey His Law. While most people profess that they “love God,” the truth is that their minds despise His way and refuse to obey Him. No wonder the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Seven chapters later, he wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things” (17:9). These are incredible statements. When confronted with problems or important decisions, men simply either do not know what to do, or they deceive themselves about what they have already decided not to do.
Instead of allowing the Bible to tell them God’s will—how they should live and believe—most read into Scripture whatever meaning they assume is correct, the meaning they desire, consciously or unconsciously, to be the biblical view. They ignore what Christ said in Matthew 5: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (vs. 17). This includes the Sabbath. This is the same Christ who prophesied in Isaiah 42:21, “The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable.” This must include the Sabbath.
What about you? Are you willing to let the Bible correct you? Are you willing to approach it with a teachable, open mind and permit God to “speak” to you—tell you His will—through His Word? Do you stand in awe of it?
You must come to have a healthy respect for your mind’s ability to deceive you about the laws and principles of God, which it naturally rebels against!
In Chapter Three, we saw how three-to-four million Israelites learned of the Sabbath a little over two weeks before they arrived at Mt. Sinai. Exodus 19:2 describes their arrival there. What a sight it must have been. Imagine this enormous “tent city,” bigger by far than most cities of today’s world.
Verse 3 describes Moses departing from the camp, answering God’s call to go up the mountain. God was about to enter into what we call the “Old Covenant,” with ancient Israel. In this agreement, God would establish Israel as His nation among all nations of the earth. His purpose was to be both Ruler and King of this national theocracy, to be ruled solely by God, apart from any kind of humanly-devised government. There were to be no elections, parliaments or congress, and no leaders apart from those God would directly appoint. God would be “President for life.”
God’s instruction to Moses was “Now therefore, if you [all of Israel] will OBEY My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel” (vs. 5-6).
Note this well. It was at this point the Twelve Tribes of Israel were to become God’s “chosen people.” You have often heard the term. Why then do so many believe that “the Jews (only one tribe—Judah) are God’s chosen people”? The other eleven tribes are continually left out and forgotten.
After Moses departed from his meeting with God, this happened next: “And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him” (vs. 7). The moment of truth had arrived. The agreement—God’s covenant with Israel—was about to be struck, if the people agreed to God’s terms.
What was the people’s response?
“And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” It was Moses’ responsibility to take the people’s decision back to God: “And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord” (vs. 8).
This was a truly historic moment. The people agreed to accept God’s leadership—to obey His Law, His rule—over them. Here was an ocean of people (perhaps 40 times the number who could fit into a giant football stadium seating 100,000) who were prepared to obey God.
Three days later, the entire assembly of Israel was to meet God at the base of Mt. Sinai to receive His Law (vs. 11). The Bible describes that God came with tremendous THUNDER and LIGHTNING—and great POWER and GLORY, to show Himself as the great God. The people were instructed not to come too close to the mountain—to God’s presence—or they would die.
Imagine the deafening voice of God (simply described as “exceeding loud”)—booming loud enough that, without amplification, millions could hear it! Notice verses 17-18: “And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 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” (Ex. 19:17-18).
Picture it. The entire event must have been a stunning, goose-bump-raising, ear-splitting, blinding experience! It was in this setting that God chose to give His holy, righteous, perfect, spiritual LAW!
It is at this point that many go terribly wrong. Most have been taught that Moses gave—or brought—the Ten Commandments. This has been a means of diminishing what has always been God’s Law as being merely the “law of Moses.”
Here is what really happened. Exodus 20 describes the giving of God’s great Ten Commandments. But who gave them?: “And GOD spoke all these words, saying…” (vs. 1). (What follow in the text are the Ten Commandments – vs. 2-17.) Yes, they are God’s Law, GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS—not Moses’ or anyone else’s.
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Deuteronomy 5 is Moses’ recounting of how God’s Law was given: “The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to show you the word of the Lord: for you were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying…” (vs. 4-5). As with Exodus, the Ten Commandments follow (vs. 6-21).
Yes, Moses stood in front of the people as a kind of buffer to their fear of what God was saying. But Moses did not give the Law—GOD gave it directly to Israel, “face to face.” That is what it says. It was God’s Law, and HE gave it. Now notice all-important verse 22: “These words the Lord spoke 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 them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”
This verse clearly shows that God spoke “unto all your assembly.” Let’s say it plainly. The Ten Commandments were given to Israel by God, not Moses! But there is this additional key phrase within the verse—“And He added no more.”
All of the other laws that God gave LATER—His statutes, ordinances, precepts and judgments—were not part of His complete spiritual Law given by Him directly to the people at Mt. Sinai. This must be recognized. God held nothing back in the giving of His Law. He left nothing out—His spiritual Law was perfect and complete.
The Law of God is a living entity. Speaking of this Law, Acts 7:38 states, “This is he [Moses], that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” That’s right. God’s Law is a living—“lively”—Law, and was intended to be carried down “to us.”
God’s Law, including the Fourth Commandment, is binding on His New Testament Church today. It has not been done away. It was sent “unto us.”
Have you ever read this next passage from the New Testament? The foundation—His Law—of God’s Old Covenant agreement with Israel is the same as His New Covenant agreement with the Church: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put MY LAWS into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people” (Heb. 8:10).
Many have tried to say that God’s Law is harsh, unfair and unjust, and therefore cannot be obeyed. This is untrue, but it is predictable that human nature would find such an excuse to disobey that Law.
Broadly speaking, there are two different ways of life. One is the “GIVE” way—the way of love and outgoing concern—God’s Way. The other is the “GET” way—the way of selfishness and self-concern—the way of this world. Love is patient, kind and considerate. It shares, cooperates, serves and helps. Christ taught, “It is more blessed to GIVE than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
The way of love is a marvelous, unseen spiritual law that keeps those who keep it and breaks those who break it! It is inexorable and binding in every aspect and relationship in life. Like the law of gravity, you cannot see it, but you can see the effects of breaking it.
This world is based on getting rather than giving! People constantly strive to get more—to accumulate—for themselves throughout their lives.
This violates the Tenth Commandment, which forbids coveting. Notice what God says about His people, and about all nations, in a prophecy directed to those alive at the end of the age: “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one deals falsely” (Jer. 6:13).
Two chapters later is an almost identical statement, except that God also warns of the horrific punishment He will bring because of this worldwide attitude. We will see this later.
God wanted Adam to take of the Tree of Life so that he could enjoy all the good things of life. God must have explained this to him, since He warned that violating His basic command would result in his death. If Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, he would have received the Spirit of God. He would have learned the way of LOVE—the “give” way—instead of the way he chose.
Paul wrote, “…because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5).
Now what is the Bible definition of love? Men’s opinions do not count!
John wrote, “for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). Many who claim to have love believe that the Commandments are grievous. But God says they are not, and calls His Law “holy, just, good and spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14). This includes the Sabbath. God nowhere makes it an exception to this statement. The Sabbath is also giving time back to God through worship, prayer, Bible study, and meditation on Him, His creation and His purpose. Certainly worshipping God is a form of giving to Him.
Paul explains that the Commandments and the Law are the same: “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). The Bible defines love as “the fulfilling of the law.” Obeying the Commandments fulfills the Law—and this “works no ill to his neighbor.”
The Bible speaks of “the Holy Spirit, [which] God has given to them that OBEY Him” (Acts 5:32). Christians obey God’s spiritual Law. Jesus never taught that we should just “believe on Him” to be saved. When asked what one must “do” to have “eternal life”—be saved—Christ did not say, “Just believe on Me.” He said, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). Now, why do not preachers ever read this passage to their congregations?
Now ask: Where is the harshness in a Law that God equates with love? The standards of men’s “sentimental fluff” forms of “love” mean nothing to God. As with sin, God defines real love!
The Sabbath is a matter of obedience, and, as the Fourth Commandment, is directly tied to receiving eternal life. But it also yields benefits in this life. Understand. It is possible to obey God, but the world is ignorant of this because its ministers and theologians tell them it cannot be done or that Christ did it for them. Yet, “Love is the fulfilling of the LAW.” Romans 8:6—the verse just preceding the verse 7 quoted earlier states, “For to be carnally [physically] minded [hostile to God’s Law] is death; but to be spiritually minded is LIFE and PEACE.”
In the next chapter, we will learn that God has established a special, permanent Sabbath covenant with His people.
When it comes to God’s command to “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8; Lev. 23:3; Deut. 5:12), practically all church-goers find a way to relegate the Sabbath to “something that the Jews do,” or “something lost in antiquity.” Or they claim, “It doesn’t matter what day you keep, as long as you keep a day.” Others say, “Sunday has replaced the Sabbath.” Most simply believe it has been “done away.” They concoct endless arguments as to why the Sabbath command no longer applies. But God’s Word reveals that the Sabbath was made for all people, for all time.
Be willing to open your Bible and honestly accept what it says about the Sabbath. Many have supposed that Christ “nailed it to the cross” along with most everything else in the Old Testament. Yet, no one can be guilty of sin—of any kind—where there is no law: “Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). No one can be guilty of sin, or be under the death penalty, if there is no law—if it was nailed to the cross.
Recall that after giving the Ten Commandments, God “added no more.” His Law was complete and anything that came later could not be considered part of it. Even agreements (covenants) between men cannot be amended or changed in any way by either party alone: “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannuls, or adds thereto” (Gal. 3:15). Yes, even men’s contracts are binding as is, once agreed upon. Exodus 24:4-8 describes the confirmation of the Old Covenant, of obedience between God and Israel in Exodus 19 and 20.
The Sabbath originated (long) before the Old Covenant was established. The Ten Commandments did not come into existence along with the Old Covenant, but pre-dated it. They had been in force since creation.
After God had completed His covenant with Israel, He introduced another very special and unique covenant. It pertained solely to the Sabbath: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak you also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My sabbaths you shall keep…” (Ex. 31:12-13).
Make no mistake. All Sabbaths belong to God—He calls them “MY sabbaths.” This connotes ownership—they are His. They belong to no man, including the Jews.
In Exodus 31:12-17, God made a special covenant with Israel regarding His Sabbath. Continue in verse 13: “For it is a SIGN between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify [set apart] you. You shall keep the sabbath…the seventh [day] is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord …Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath…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.”
Recall that this last phrase proves the Sabbath was established from the creation week, over 2,500 years prior to Exodus 31.
God explains that His purpose is that the Sabbath “sanctifies” those who keep it. They are set apart as belonging to—being owned by—God. Christians are told, “You are bought with a price; be not you the servants of men” (I Cor. 7:23) and “You are bought with a price: therefore glorify God” (I Cor. 6:20).
Those who observe the Sabbath are signified as God’s people—and that He OWNS them. They are also publicly identified as people who keep the Commandments. Civil laws require people to keep several of the other Commandments (against stealing, murder, lying [perjury], etc.). Therefore, obedience to most or all of the other Commandments, which the world at least generally acknowledges in one form or another, does not identify one as a commandment-keeper!
The Sabbath does! It is a sign that people are of God, since no human would ever think or choose to keep this law without it having been revealed by God.
Understand. God had to reveal this sign so that people would appreciate how it functions, what it represents. Take a drive down the street. You will notice all kinds of signs connoting ownership of various businesses and retail establishments. If you are looking for something in particular, the signs are important to you as a shopper. When God says the Sabbath is a sign, He intends and uses His sign in the same way the proprietor of a business does.
Notice that God established the Sabbath as a “perpetual covenant” to be kept “throughout your generations”—and “forever.” This is ironclad. God’s command is for all time. The Sabbath was to be kept forever! Doing this keeps people in touch with the true God. It is the way God intended that people never lose sight of who He is (their God)—and who they are (His people)! If all peoples and nations kept the Sabbath, as Israel was commanded to do, no one would have ever fallen into idolatry and the worship of other gods—which has happened to all nations who have not kept it!
The Sabbath identifies God for who—which God—He is!
Someone will surely ask: “Couldn’t Sunday point to the true God?” Absolutely not! Here is why. Recall that God tied the Sabbath to the creation week: “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.” God’s rest was on the seventh day, not the first. Only by keeping the Sabbath are people forced to look back to the creation, and this forces them to focus on which God did the creating. Sunday-worship and Sunday-keeping does not do this, and obviously no other god but one created all things!
All others thought to be “gods” are made of things that God made. The Sabbath points to God as Creator, and the creation is a proof that GOD EXISTS!
Not only does the Sabbath point those who observe it back to the true God, it also sets apart those who do this as different than all others around them. Recall that Exodus 31:13 states, “…that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you.”
I cannot overstate the vital, crucial meaning of this phrase. Sanctify means “to set apart for a holy use or purpose.” Consider. In a world filled with Sunday-keepers (Muslims keep Friday), and even among those who keep no day at all, the Sabbath-keeper sticks out like the proverbial “sore thumb.” No one observing the seventh day can avoid this.
Every time one keeps the Sabbath day, he puts up a neon sign pointing to the God who created the heavens and earth and rested on the seventh day. When one begins keeping the Sabbath, it immediately separates him as different from everyone else.
Now we must ask: Which commandment would Satan choose to overthrow? Which one would he hate most—and why? Which one signifies that those who obey it do not belong to him? The only commandment signifying (is a sign) that one belongs to God—and the only commandment that directly points to the true God of creation, thus displacing Satan, is the SABBATH!
Satan most hates the Fourth Commandment! There is no way to get around whether one does or does not observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. Either you do or you do not. God and Satan are not confused on this point. They know what is at stake. And the world can readily see whether one keeps the Sabbath or not.
The Bible calls the devil the “god of this world.” To most, this is a truly shocking revelation! Yet, II Corinthians 4:4 states, “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel…should shine unto them.”
Satan blinds the world to the real gospel for a personal reason. It describes the kingdom of God—God’s soon-coming world-ruling government. Of course, Satan seeks to block people from understanding this marvelous truth. He does not want light to shine on God’s incredible purpose for mankind. He wants humanity, collectively and individually, to think that it has no future.
The devil also recognizes that the arrival of God’s kingdom means he will be banished from his current position (Rev. 20:2-3) of great influence as the god this world unwittingly worships. He will no longer be permitted to deceive (Rev. 12:9) or weaken the nations (Isa. 14:12). He also understands that he can never have what God has offered to all men who obey Him.
In John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11, Christ refers to Satan as “the prince of this world.” All these verses state that the “prince of this world” will one day be judged. Read them! John 12:31 parallels the judgment of this world with Satan’s judgment.
Why? Because this world is his! He is its “god.” This is the plain truth from your Bible! Man’s civilization, with its cultures, ways and systems, is under the control of the devil!
Since Satan has deceived the entire world (Rev. 12:9), then this cannot be God’s world. And since the whole world is deceived, it is cut off from God. Deceived people do not know their purpose for being, and practice lives that reflect this ignorance (Isa. 59:1-2).
How can a single being deceive over six billion people? There are two primary ways.
First, Revelation 12:9 concludes with, “He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Notice that it says, “his angels.” These beings, which he leads, are referred to as demons (or fallen angels) and they assist Satan in his role of super deceiver. Therefore, Satan does not work alone—he has millions of deceived spirit beings helping him.
Try telling people that the devil influences and controls the entire world. Try telling them he is this world’s “god.” (Do not actually try this.) You would quickly learn how complete is his deception. Recent surveys show that he has convinced nearly 60 percent of all Americans that he does not even exist!
As the god of a completely deceived world, which must, therefore, include all the differing forms of Christianity and other religions, Satan has his own agents. He uses these agents to unwittingly spread his false doctrines. Yes, he has been able to achieve this great success because he has his own ministers! Of course, his agents—his ministers—are themselves deceived into believing that they are God’s ministers. Some teach a few aspects of God’s truth, but none of His most important truths! Virtually all of them teach that God’s Law, including His Sabbath, is done away.
The second way is this. Notice II Corinthians 11:13-15. Paul warned of the cunning with which Satan’s ministers successfully deceive: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Yes, shocking as it seems, Satan the devil has his ministers! And they do not teach you that you must obey God—that the Fourth Commandment is still in effect!
I have never heard anyone, professing to believe in the God of the Bible, suggest it is alright to knowingly serve another god. Of course, the vast majority do this unwittingly—unknowingly! But that is another matter. Virtually no one actually deliberately sets out to worship the wrong god.
Also, most people know that the First and Second Commandments require that only the true God be worshipped. Again, though most do not do this properly, people acknowledge that it is the correct thing to do, and claim that they practice it. Why then do they not read the last statement attached to these Commandments?: “You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:5-6).
All who serve the true God are told by Him to “keep My commandments.” These—says God—are the basic terms for serving Him! This includes the Sabbath as an identifying sign. The Sabbath is the test of obedience. While people will generally, at least tacitly, acknowledge that the other nine Commandments should be kept, they refuse to keep the Sabbath.
Remember, God inspired Paul to summarize what obedience—to any god or authority—means: “Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death [Rom. 6:23], or of obedience unto righteousness [Psa. 119:172]?” (Rom. 6:16).
The world serves a different god. Soon, it will understand that more is at stake regarding Sabbath observance than anyone could now dream. The Bible speaks of a coming “mark” of the beast—the resurrected supposed “Holy” Roman Empire—that involves “buying or selling”—holding a job and earning a living. (A later very extensive chapter will examine the chilling Sabbath/Sunday connection to this future “mark.”)
Notice that Christ understood that those who claim to follow Him must do what He says: “Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). In Luke, He asked, “And why call you Me, Lord, Lord [Master, Ruler], and do not the things which I say?” (6:46).
Does this describe you?
The Fourth Commandment is the only one upon which a covenant was made. The two Commandments that are the most lengthy and detailed—the Second and the Fourth—are the ones that most churches have altered for their own convenience. (They often combine the Second Commandment with the First, which diminishes its importance.) We have seen that these churches claim the authority to effectively change the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first. This ignores the fact that the Sabbath is a special covenant, as God said, “between Me and you” (Ex. 31:16).
Webster’s II Revised Dictionary defines a covenant this way: “A binding agreement: compact.” Anyone who has ever signed a contract—an agreement or covenant (compact)—knows that it involves a certain payment, compensation or reward by one party to another for fulfilling a certain stipulated function or performance.
While the Old Covenant was entirely physical in nature—Israel was to obey certain laws and receive physical blessings as a result (including the promise of being “above all people” as a nation)—the New Testament is different.
It is “…a better covenant…established upon better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The New Testament carries “the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). It carried rewards that greatly exceed physical blessings or even being “above all people.”
Remember, once a covenant is finalized, sealed or signed, nothing can be added to it (Gal. 3:15). Ancient Israel sealed its covenant with God in blood (Ex. 24:6-8). But the special Sabbath covenant does not appear until Exodus 31—seven chapters later. Yes, the Sabbath had already been given in chapter 20, but Exodus 31 came much later. Do not forget that God also presented the Sabbath to the people before they got to Mt. Sinai. The Sabbath got special emphasis—twice. It was to be a special sign.
How do we know that the Sabbath is an enduring covenant, binding today on any who are God’s people? Exodus 31:16 states, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for A PERPETUAL COVENANT.” Further, verse 17 says, “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel FOREVER.”
What could be plainer? The Sabbath is an on-going—perpetual—covenant between God and Israel “forever”—“throughout their generations.”
How serious is God about Sabbath observance? In Israel, all who worked on this day were put to death (Ex. 31:14-15; 35:2). II Corinthians 3:7-8 describes the Old Testament administration of a civil death penalty, which is no longer applicable. (This is because, as we will see, God is now building the nation of spiritual Israel.) Of course, God has always said, “The wages of sin is [eternal] death” (Rom. 6:23; Gen. 2:15-17).
It would be terribly inconsistent of God to require the death penalty for those who ignored the Sabbath in ancient Israel, and to say that “all flesh” will keep the Sabbath during the millennium (Isa. 66:23)—yet declare that He does not care whether His people—spiritual Israel (explained thoroughly in the next chapter)—keep it during the Christian era!
There is another reason God is serious about His Sabbath. Most have no idea that the Sabbath is also a type of God’s coming millennial rest (Heb. 4:1-9), when Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:2-3) and all mankind rests from practicing sin. This is another reason why Isaiah 66:23 states that all nations will keep the Sabbath test commandment of obedience during Christ’s 1,000-year reign on earth. Observing the Sabbath is a weekly reminder, pointing directly to this wonderful future time (Rev. 20:4-6)!
Almost everyone who is unfamiliar with the Bible eagerly asserts that God only bound the Sabbath on Israel, which most suppose to be just the Jews. Recall that they were only one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
But suppose for a moment that the Jews are the only Israelites alive today. All would agree the Sabbath is clearly binding on them—on “their generations.” Those who acknowledge that the Sabbath is binding on the Jews put themselves directly into a box canyon.
Here is why. Romans 1:16 states that the gospel is the power of God “unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” None doubt that salvation is open to both Jew (including the other eleven tribes) and Gentile. Paul actually stated that salvation is open to the “Jew first.”
Remember, the Jews must keep the Sabbath, so it must be admitted that becoming Christian does not eliminate this responsibility for them. But are the Jews required to keep the Sabbath while other Christians are free to ignore it, keeping Sunday instead? Are there two standards for Christianity—two kinds of Christians?
We have introduced the fact that Christianity involves more than physical Israelites, that Gentiles are included and must meet on the same day as the Jews or Israelites—and that Christ has a New Testament Church!
Mark 1:1 begins with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christ’s gospel concerned His world-ruling supernatural government—the kingdom of God—to come to this earth (it was not, and has nothing to do with being, a message about His Person). In verse 15, Christ commands people to repent and believe this gospel to be saved!
In verse 21, Jesus gathered His disciples and “they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue.” We earlier referenced Luke 4:16, which establishes Christ’s approach toward the Sabbath: “And, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”
Later, in Matthew 16:18, Christ made one of the most fundamental statements in the entire Bible: “I will build My church.” No matter how men interpret it, this verse speaks of a single organized Church! Christ continued, “and the gates of hell [the grave] shall not prevail against it.” He promised that His Church could never be destroyed. After His Resurrection, in A.D. 31, Christ kept His promise to build His Church. That Church is alive on earth today!
Some additional things are important to understand. Let’s read all of Matthew 16:18-19 first for background: “And I say unto you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
In order to understand the meaning here, we must start reading from verse 13. Christ asked the disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (vs. 16). Then Christ responded, “You are Peter [petros, which means “little rock or pebble”], and upon this rock [petra, meaning “very great rock”] I will build My church” (vs. 18). John 1:40-42 describes Peter’s brother, Andrew, bringing him to Christ: “And when Jesus beheld him, He said, You are Simon [Peter] the son of Jona: you shall be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (vs. 42). A stone is not a giant rock.
But Christ is!
Most people—and the Catholic Church—assume Christ meant He would build His Church on Peter. This is not what it says. Christ—not Peter—is the great “Rock” upon whom the Church is built (Deut. 32:3-4, 15, 18; I Cor. 10:4; Eph. 2:20; Psa. 18:2).
Verse 13 mentions that Christ was speaking at Caesarea Philippi. It is significant that He chose this site to speak of His Church! Here is why.
This city is in the far north of Israel, about 25 miles north of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee. Located at the foot of Mt. Hermon, it is where one of the three main branches of the Jordan River originates. It is a beautiful setting.
I have stood on the spot from which Christ delivered these words. This is what I saw—and what anyone would see: Immediately above where the river springs directly out of the base of a cliff is a massive rock outcropping that dominates the topography. Its presence towers over the landscape. None who were present when Christ spoke these words could possibly have believed He was talking about building His Church on Peter, whom He compared to a little rock. The enormous physical size of the rock looming directly over Christ’s head reinforced His message that He was building the Church on a giant Rock—HIMSELF!
Source: Free Stock Photos
Source: The Shyna
Recall this proof that Jesus was the God—the ROCK—of the Old Testament: “And [Israel] did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4). Yet, once again, theologians and religionists try to place Christ in conflict with—in opposition to—the God of the Old Testament. How absurd!
Jesus Christ was the Word—the Spokesman—who inspired the Bible to be put into print. He was telling Peter that He (Christ) was about to build the New Testament Church on himself, lead it as its Head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19; Rev. 1:13-18), be with it always (Matt. 28:20), never leaving or forsaking it (Heb. 13:5), with the gates of hell (hades—the grave) never prevailing against it, just as He had been the Rock of, and led, the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38).
The Church Christ built—God’s Church—was to continue to exist, doing His Work through the ages as a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), until the end of the age, when it would reach all nations with the good news of the kingdom of God (Matt. 24:14). This Church would be persecuted (John 15:20; 16:33), but would never die out, remaining and enduring until Christ’s Return.
Matthew 7:24 instructs Christians to build their “houses” on a rock (Greek: petra). No one would suggest that a house could be built on a small stone or pebble. This alone eliminates the Church being built on Peter. He was not the first pope, given the “keys” authorizing him to change Scripture at will—including which day is the Christian Sabbath! Grasp this! Jesus was not appointing the future apostle Peter and his successors to head the Church as Christ’s earthly replacement (as a Vicar: “in place of”)!
In Matthew 16:19, Christ stated, “And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” The “keys” He is referring to is symbolic language meaning that He gives His ministers the knowledge of how to enter the kingdom of God. This knowledge shows the way of life a Christian must follow in order to achieve salvation. Luke 11:52 shows Christ reproving certain lawyers for hiding or suppressing this knowledge, thus preventing themselves and others from entering the kingdom.
Let’s better understand Christ as the Rock the Church is built upon. Since Christians are to build on this Rock to enter the kingdom of God (Matt. 7:24-26), we must understand more fully what this means. It will make even clearer that the Church of God was not built on Peter, as the first pope, thus empowering him and his successors to change doctrines—including the Sabbath—at will.
Notice what Peter later said about Christ: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the Head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:6-8).
Peter was quoting the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste” (28:16).
These verses unmistakably demonstrate that Jesus Christ is the Rock—the living God—of both the Old and New Testaments!
Note that Peter, when using the word stone, cited a different Greek word, lithos, meaning “a stone, millstone, or stumblingstone.” This would be more like a medium-sized stone—neither a massive rock nor a small pebble—such as the stones used to build the temple or as a stone sealing a tomb. This is how lithos is used in other places. In other words, people trip—stumble—over a rock the size of a “lithos.” They never even got to the point where they were willing to build on the massive Rock—Christ’s WORDS (Matt. 7:24)!
We have seen Christ’s words include that He is “Lord of the Sabbath”!
Now notice: “And [the saints] are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). In reality, Christ is the Head (Chief) Stone of the Church and its true foundation: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11). In I Peter 2:5, Peter also calls all Christians “lively stones” (lithos) who are part of Christ’s “spiritual house”—“temple” (I Cor. 3:16-17).
Christ promised to send His Spirit to build His Church after He was resurrected and returned to heaven: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send [It] unto you” (John 16:7).
Receiving the Holy Spirit at repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38) places one into the Church of God. Notice: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13).
The Greek word for Church is ekklesia, meaning “the congregation of called out people.” It is not a reference to a physical building, but rather to the begotten sons and daughters of God—God’s temple—who will one day be born into the kingdom of God (Rom. 8:29-30; I Cor. 15:50-54; I Thes. 4:13-18). These are those who have been led of God’s Spirit and been made partaker of God’s “divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4).
Today, and for over 1,900 years, Christ has been the living head of His Church, guiding it, and holding Supreme authority over all matters within it.
A Christian is one who yields to God’s authority. Christ said that He is LORD (Master, Ruler) of the Sabbath. While it may make no difference to men which day they keep—because God does not seem real to them—He is very much in the picture, and will judge all human beings. Someday, many will regret their carelessness with Christ’s definition of sin, and which day He made holy!
People’s opinions do not count. What counts is the opinion of the living, Almighty God who made the entirety of heaven and earth. He gave a law that would bring all the good things in life—happiness, abundance, peace and security—enroute to His greatest gift, eternal life!
The living Jesus Christ is the only Rock upon which all who wish to be in His one Church must build. He alone has the authority to tell us which day is His Sabbath.
Israel’s Sabbath-keeping was intended to be an example seen by other nations. It was always God’s purpose that Israel be a light to the nations around her. Yet, she failed utterly in carrying out this responsibility, instead choosing to COPY surrounding nations, including many of their abominable pagan customs.
Some wonder why God began this phase of His plan with the particular nation, Israel. The single biggest reason God started with Israel, instead of any other nation, is merely because He had to start with just one nation. He selected a poor, down-trodden slave people (yet having exceptional potential) to show that, when He worked with a nation, they could come to greatness and enjoy many wonderful blessings. Also, no Gentile nations had ever served God. But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, from which the Twelve Tribes sprang, had once known God. So God started with this small nation of slaves.
God intended that other nations would see Israel’s blessings—her prosperity—and want the same for themselves. He wanted all nations to see Israel’s wisdom—and that she served a different God than any known to them. The nations of the world had completely lost track of the identity of the true God. From the Garden of Eden—and Adam and Eve’s rejection of God’s offer of eternal life—had sprung every conceivable false god and goddess.
The world’s nations have literally “reaped what they have sowed”—and what Adam and Eve sowed on behalf of all mankind. Only a very few had been faithful to God by the time He called Israel—Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job and possibly a few others. The entire world had rebelled, and suffered the consequences of confusion, war, famine, disease, poverty, misery, religious deception and more.
But God understood that the nations around Israel would inquire of her as to why she had such wisdom and enjoyed so many material blessings (Deut. 4:6-8). That was His purpose.
So in a world cut off from God, He called the little slave-people nation, descended from Abraham. Their down-trodden condition made it possible for them to listen to God. They could then be a light to other nations who would inquire about their laws, statues and other customs, taught them by God.
In Isaiah 43:21, God said, “This people have I formed FOR MYSELF; they shall show forth My praise.”
Being His example was God’s plainly intended purpose for this nation. God performed one mighty miracle after another for Israel. The world was able to see these awesome events—such as the plagues used to deliver them from Egypt. Yet Israel still rebelled. Why? Her citizens had human nature. The world has also rebelled, because it also has human nature.
We have seen that the Church is spiritual Israel. It is those whom God has called and chosen—and in which He has put His Spirit. From the time of Christ’s ministry, God has used the Church to be a model of obedience to His ways—and to reflect—“show forth”—the blessings of happiness, peace and unity in truth that He intends all peoples to enjoy.
Notice what Christ taught His disciples: “You [Christians] are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, 16). This verse sounds much like “they shall show forth My praise.”
Christians are to set a right example. People should see vibrant, happy, productive lives in those God has called to Himself and to His way.
The Sabbath was not made for the Jews only. It was made “for man.” And this includes the Gentiles. Why do so many think that Christ came to say, in effect, “I could never get Israel to obey Me, and keep the Sabbath, so I guess it was a bad idea. We’ll just get rid of it. And if the world thinks that it was always only for the Jews—who cares? I have done away with it, anyway”?
Such shallow reasoning. God’s laws are called pure, clean and perfect (Psa. 19:7-11)—and they work!
Here is what God inspired Paul to write to the Gentile Ephesian converts. It is an extensive but important passage, revealing how Gentiles become partakers of the exact same promises God made to Israel 3,500 years ago:
“Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who has made both one…that He might reconcile both [Jew and Gentile] unto God in one body by the cross…and preached peace to you which were afar off…For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (2:11-19).
This passage is most clear regarding Gentiles. They have access to the same promises, confirming Romans 1:16, read earlier.
God intended that Israel be modeled in the same way! God always permitted Gentiles to enter the congregation of Israel—also called the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38).
Notice Exodus 12:38: “And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” Thousands of Gentiles were permitted to enter Israel and become naturalized citizens. Here is how it was to happen: “And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. ONE LAW shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourns among you” (vs. 48-49).
Again, does God have two different standards for Sabbath-keeping—one for Jews and another for Gentiles? Many claim this is the case. But God says He is “not a respecter of persons” (Rom. 2:11; Col. 3:25). He does not have one standard for one person and a different standard for someone else.
I Corinthians 12:13 said that both “Jews and Gentiles” enter the Church through the receiving of God’s Spirit. They both live under the same standard.
Jesus plainly taught, “Every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). The Church of God could not have some brethren keeping Saturday and some keeping Sunday. Impossible! Notice: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:28-29).
God promised that “all nations” would be blessed through Abraham. This means the promise of salvation is open to all, including Gentiles. Paul wrote, “But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile” (Rom. 2:10). This was said to the congregation at Rome, which was almost entirely comprised of Gentiles.
The promise was “to the Jew first.” The covenants and the promises of God are clearly made to Israel. This is also found in Romans: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, AND THE PROMISES” (9:4).
But if the promises are only made to Israelites, how are Gentiles included? Paul explained: “Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…” (Eph. 2:11). The Greek-born Ephesians were only Gentiles “in the past.” They had become converted and were now spiritual Israelites.
The next verse makes this clearer: “That at that time [the past, before conversion] you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of PROMISE, having no hope, and without God in the world” (vs. 12).
I grew up believing that all the Israelites were Jews (yet, as explained, Judah [the Jews] is only one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel), that I was a Gentile, and that Christianity is basically a Gentile religion. The truth of the Bible is that Gentiles must become spiritual Israelites.
Since most modern descendants of Israel (Jacob) think that they are Gentiles, the world believes the opposite of what the Bible teaches. In other words, those who are actually physical Israelites (and professing Christians) think that upon accepting Jesus they became “spiritual” or “Christian” or “saved” GENTILES. The truth is that those who really are physical Gentiles can only be true Christians by becoming SPIRITUAL ISRAELITES!
Can you see how God’s truth seems upside down to the world (Acts 17:6)?
The Ephesians were Gentiles who had become spiritual Israelites. They went from being “strangers” from God and His promise, and without hope, to being included in God’s Plan: “But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ…” and “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:13, 19).
Once again, that settles it! ALL are one in Christ. God does not have different standards for different people. All people become spiritual inheritors with Abraham, the grandfather of Israel (Jacob).
But let’s see this from a different perspective.
The prophet Hosea brought a remarkable prophecy that applies to the Ten Tribes of the modern House of Israel. This prophecy describes them in a pathetic condition, having lost all knowledge of the true God.
In the Old Testament period, the Israelites were God’s only people. In Hosea 1:9, God describes Israel as “Loammi,” which means “NOT My people.” By (the prophet) Hosea’s time, Israel had rejected God’s Sabbath, having replaced it with Jeroboam’s first day of the week observance—Sunday.
During her migration from Assyria to her lands in Northwest Europe, Israel was prophesied to get confused about her “paths.” Notice: “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths” (Hos. 2:6).
This prophecy reveals that Israel was to lose her identity!
Here is why: “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal” (vs. 8). These are direct prophecies that speak of America and Britain now! Our peoples have forgotten how much God has given them. “Baal” is the sun god and Sunday is Baal’s day—as are Christmas, Easter, New Year’s and other pagan holidays, which have been borrowed from heathen religions and inserted into modern professing “Christianity.”
The plain truth is that God HATES Sunday worship and all the days that point to Baal. Yet hundreds of millions unwittingly follow the authority of the Roman church—and ignore God’s plain commands to keep HIS day—and HIS annual Feast days—HOLY!
All of this comes at a great price for rebellious Israel. Notice how the blessings begin to disappear: “Therefore will I return, and take away My corn in the time thereof, and My wine in the season thereof, and will recover My wool and My flax given to cover her nakedness” (vs. 9).
Numerous prophecies, including Christ’s in Matthew 24:7, foretell of famines that now lie just ahead for our peoples. I said that God hates these holidays, and Sunday, which men have substituted for HIS Holy Days and Sabbath. Notice: “I will also cause all her mirth to cease, HER feast days, HER new moons, and HER sabbaths, and all HER solemn feasts…” (vs. 11).
Take careful note of this verse. God is not speaking of His own Sabbaths, but of the days Israel adopted (“her” days) from the nations around her who worshipped Baal. These were Baal’s feasts!
God adds more: “And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them [Baal’s holidays], and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot Me, says the Lord” (vs. 13).
Yes, terrible punishment is coming from the hand of God! Massive drought and disease epidemics will devastate the nations of modern Israel. This will be followed by horrific invasion and captivity for our peoples. It is coming soon. All who doubt this will soon wish they had not. All who scoff will soon scoff no more! The culmination of this prophecy is found in verses 14-23. But it can only be understood in light of God’s special Sabbath covenant (Ex. 31:12-17).
Let’s carefully read this crucial passage in Hosea. It describes God talking to Israel while she is in slavery, but then ready to hear His instruction:
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, says the Lord, that you shall call Me Ishi [my Husband]; and shall call Me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in that day will I make a covenant [the New Covenant] for them…and I will betroth you unto Me forever…in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth you unto Me in faithfulness: and you shall know the Lord. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, says the Lord… and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, you are my people; and they shall say, you are my god” (vs. 14-23).
This prophecy only makes sense when one understands modern Israel’s attraction to the pagan feasts and days derived from Baal worship.
Obviously, Israel never became the model nation God intended. All Gentile peoples did not observe her example and seek God.
But again, God has always had a plan for all human beings. The vast majority of peoples on earth are Gentiles, not Israelites. All Israelites make up less than 10 percent of the world’s population. But the world thinks the Sabbath was only for one tribe, Judah, and that the only people God chose were the Jews.
God does have a specific plan for any Gentiles who wish to be included!
By now you have seen that God does not have one Sabbath standard for the Jews and another for Gentiles. Let’s now see this even more plainly.
Isaiah removes all doubt about this. Let’s begin in chapter 56: “Thus says the Lord, Keep you judgment, and do justice: for My [Christ’s] salvation is near to come, and My [Christ’s] righteousness to be revealed” (vs. 1). This verse sets the stage. It also begins with a “Thus says the Lord.” This establishes God’s authority to say all that will follow in the next sequence of verses.
Let’s be absolutely sure of the time-setting—of exactly when Christ’s righteousness will be revealed to the world. We will put several verses together: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:27-28).
Do you see this? Carefully follow the point. Christ’s righteousness will be revealed when He appears—at His Second Coming. Here is the timing of salvation revealed plainly: “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ” (Rev. 12:10). This obviously refers to Christ’s Second Coming. And further, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12).
Once again, I have taken the time to link these verses because they show the critical element of the timing of Isaiah’s prophecy. Now let’s continue with Christ’s prophecy in Isaiah: “Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold on it; that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that has joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord has utterly separated me from His people” (56:2-3).
Let’s grasp this vitally important verse. It speaks to all Gentiles who wish to become converted, joined to Christ and receive salvation. Christ plainly states that no “stranger” should declare himself “separated” from Christ. Verses 6-7 expand on this prophecy and should excite every Gentile who reads it. Carefully read: “Also the sons of the stranger [Gentiles], that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of My covenant [Ex. 31:12-17]; even them [Gentiles] will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them [Gentiles] joyful in My house of prayer…for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
Why do some ignore that God’s Sabbath was established “forever,” as a “perpetual covenant”? And why do so many believe that it was only binding on Israelites? (Of courses, we have also seen that converted Gentiles are spiritual Israelites—and Israelites were commanded to keep the Sabbath “throughout their generations.”) Forever is forever—and, on God’s authority, I tell you that every stranger may freely “join himself to the Lord.” As a matter of fact, Gentiles are told not to say that they are an exception to God’s command to NOT pollute His Sabbath day, if they are to see Christ revealed unto their salvation!
All men—Jew and Gentile—will be judged by the same Law!
Understand again this critical point, now lost to the world. The Jews are only one twelfth of the tribes of Israel. They sprang from Jacob’s son Judah. There were eleven other sons. All but two grew into modern nations present on earth today. (Simeon and Levi are scattered.)
From one son, Joseph, a great nation and a company of nations sprang—out of his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, came modern Britain and the United States. The other tribes are, generally speaking, the nations of Northwestern Europe, plus a few others.
My book America and Britain in Prophecy explains how the overall picture of end-time prophecy centers on these nations. Understanding—grasping—the enormous truth of the identity of the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel is absolutely vital. It leads directly to the subject of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is still binding on the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. God’s identifying sign was to be kept by these nations. But they have refused to observe it, believing themselves to be Gentiles, and have assigned the Sabbath obligation to “the Jewish people.”
The true story behind Israel’s loss of identity is astonishing, and known to almost none for many centuries. Yet, these modern nations need never have lost sight of their true identity. A choice they made caused this to happen.
While people denigrate and sneer at the Sabbath as merely “Jewish,” it is binding on far more people than the relatively small number of Israelites who have descended from the tribe of Judah.
Here is a great irony, known to almost no one. The Bible speaks of the term “Jew.” Of course, most think this term is synonymous with all the tribes of Israel, because they never investigate what the Bible actually says!
Consider. The very first place in the entire Bible in which the term “Jews” is found describes a war occurring between the JEWS and ISRAEL! Let’s read it: “Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath” (II Kgs. 16:5-6).
This was not Jews fighting Jews. Most people have no idea that the nation of Israel had become divided—into two different nations, representing two separate kingdoms. When Solomon died, Israel rebelled against the oppressive tax rates he had imposed. The price of Solomon’s luxurious lifestyle came on the backs of the Israelites he overtaxed. His son Rehoboam ignored the wise counsel of those who advised him that reducing taxes would stop a revolt developing under a high-ranking leader named Jeroboam, appointed by Solomon. Instead, Rehoboam listened to younger men who told him to actually raise taxes.
The result? Ten tribes rebelled, leaving only Judah and Benjamin still loyal to Rehoboam. These tribes pulled away from Jerusalem as their capital, much like the Old South seceded from the American Union in 1861. Two separate kingdoms—the kingdom of israel and the kingdom of judah—emerged, with two separate capitals, Samaria (Israel) and Jerusalem (Judah).
The Bible speaks continually of the “sins of Jeroboam.” Over and over, in the books of Kings and Chronicles, this term is found. We will learn what they were.
First, recognize that sin is sin—whether committed by Israelites or Gentiles (I John 3:4). When people break God’s great spiritual Law, the penalty is always the same. They are robbed of peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity. Because God loves all people, He punishes all for disobedience. Everyone must learn that sin cannot be taken lightly. All sin is serious! When people break God’s Sabbath, or any other point in His Law, a loving God must spank—PUNISH—them. Otherwise, what would be the point of keeping a law? Certainly everyone understands that if you break the law of gravity, by jumping from a cliff or a building, a terrible price will be paid. Hence, only those who are suicidal consider such an action. It is the same with God’s Law.
God hates sin. He understands that it steals happiness from the lives of all those who commit it. Therefore, He must punish for disobedience. His Law does that automatically—just as it brings automatic blessings for obedience!
I live in Ohio. It is one of fifty states in America. While I am an American, as are all Ohioans, all Americans are not Ohioans. Some are Californians, others New Yorkers or Floridians, and so forth. Grasp the following point! All Jews are Israelites, but all Israelites are not Jews. The Jews are a comparatively small amount of the total number of Israelites.
Israel and Judah were totally separate kingdoms.
Following the split of the Twelve Tribes of ancient Israel, Jeroboam was king over the northern Ten Tribes. He had to find a means of consolidating his kingdom, insuring it would never reunite with Judah and Benjamin. He recognized the great danger of people returning to Jerusalem to keep God’s feast days (annual Sabbaths or Holy Days) and then deciding to leave him. He had to take specific—and swift—political actions to diminish the threat to his new solidarity over the Ten Tribes, and protect his power.
Since the Temple of God was in Jerusalem, the capital city of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Jeroboam feared that his kingdom would rejoin itself to Judah. Notice what he did: “Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (I Kgs. 12:26-28).
Does this sound far-fetched? Not only did it happen, but history records many millions bought the idea.
In quick succession, Jeroboam created a new religious system to distance the people in his kingdom from worshipping at Jerusalem. This included building the two large idols for worship in the towns of Bethel and Dan, at the far northern and southern points of his kingdom. He also established a festival to replace the Feast of Tabernacles—a God-ordained festival. In Leviticus 23:34, God ordained the keeping of this Holy Day and Feast: “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.” However, Jeroboam made the observance of his festival on the eighth month! (See I Kings 12:28-33.)
He made one other critical decision that eventually pushed most of the Levites back into alignment with Judah and Benjamin. Recognizing they were the most educated and were the leaders, Jeroboam demoted them, a pattern followed by modern Gentile dictators today. Also, because the Levites were supported by God’s tithes, they had been accustomed to receiving larger incomes. Jeroboam set baser, less-educated people to be Israel’s priests. The Levites became disgruntled and eventually many returned and intermingled with Judah.
II Kings 17:16 records, “And they [the Israelites] left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.” The people of Israel followed Jeroboam’s lead, and worshipped the pagan god Baal, the supposed “sun god,” or “lord of the sun.”
Hislop’s The Two Babylons and Webster’s “Rest Days” explain how this “lord of the sun” was specifically worshipped on the day we now call SUNDAY. Israel’s example of worshipping on this day demonstrates how quickly the entire nation began to observe Sunday. They ignored God’s Sabbath command—“Remember the Sabbath day.”
How do we know that Israel disobeyed this command? II Kings 17 stated that they had “left all the commandments of the Lord their God”—this would have included the Sabbath!
Recall that, in Hosea, God warned Israel—almost 200 years after Jeroboam’s rebellion—about what will happen because of her Sunday-worship. Hosea 2:11 stated, “…her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” God calls Sunday worship Israel’s sabbaths—not His! His Sabbath falls on Saturday—and identifies His people!
The true originator of Sunday observance is Baal, and God will punish those who participate in it: “And I will visit upon [punish] her [for keeping] the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot Me, says the Lord” (vs. 13).
Jeroboam caused Israel to forsake God’s Sabbath day—the seventh day of the week, in order to worship Baal the lord of the sun, on Sunday—the false “lord’s day.” His proclamation, setting the “day of the sun” as the national day of worship, led ancient Israel to lose—and never return to—the observance of the true Sabbath!
The acceptance and observance of the “day of the sun god,” Sunday, is a deadly sin with grave repercussions. The result of Jeroboam’s decisions was that all Ten Tribes of Israel, through seven successive dynasties and nineteen kings, practiced the two basic “sins of Jeroboam”—sabbath-breaking and idolatry!
Jeroboam was the only king in Israel’s history noted to have actually “made” the people sin. Notice: “…and Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them” (II Kgs. 17:21-22). Jeroboam bringing Israel to sin caused God to “remove Israel out of His sight…” Verse 23 further records that the outcome of their Sabbath-breaking was captivity and slavery: “Until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.”
Judah was not taken into captivity until 604 B.C. But God caused the Assyrians to take the House of Israel into captivity in 721-718 B.C. The Assyrians literally enslaved them and carried them far away from their homeland to Assyria on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea.
Several generations later, the Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire came to power under Nebuchadnezzar. They entered Judah and took the inhabitants captive into the land of modern-day Iraq, over the period from 604 to 585 B.C.
Not long after Israel was taken to Assyria, the Assyrians migrated to northern Europe and settled in what is now modern Germany. They took their Israelite slaves with them, eventually allowing these peoples to migrate further north and west and to regain their independence. They settled in Northwestern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia.
A huge question looms from this historic invasion, migration and the Ten Tribes losing their identity: WHY did the House of Israel become lost to themselves—and to the world? For over 200 years, Israel had known their identity—that they were the House of Israel. What happened?
The answer is basic, and more crucial to your understanding than you can imagine: Israel stopped keeping God’s Sabbath—and thus LOST THE NATIONAL SIGN THAT IDENTIFIED THEM! They ceased to be the people with whom God was working.
Israel lost all national identity. After they were taken to Assyria, they ceased to function as a nation, with a king and a government. Eventually, they took on the Assyrian language, losing track of their native Hebrew tongue. They became slaves.
The Ten Tribes that had followed Jeroboam into rebellion against God became lost to history. Because they gave up God’s identifying sign—His Sabbath—they lost track of who they were. Even the world no longer recognizes them!
God never allows people to decide what is right and what is wrong. That is His prerogative—and He exercises it. But He does permit them to decide whether they will obey Him—or whether they will disobey.
In Leviticus 26, during Moses’ time, God carefully outlined what He expected of His people. This chapter promises national blessings for obedience and national cursings for disobedience. Take time to read it all. God cited two particular sins—two Commandments—upon which everything hinged.
Here were His terms: “You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. you shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord” (vs. 1-2).
God specifically warned against Sabbath-breaking and idolatry. These Commandments were so critical, so vital, to God’s Plan that—“IF you walk in My statues, and keep My commandments and do them”—He would pour out blessings upon Israel. He described those blessings in the next 11 verses (vs. 3-13). This was followed by 20 verses (vs. 14-33) explaining all of the curses that would come if these two Commandments were broken. God explained that, for 2,520 years, Israel would lose all prosperity, be conquered, taken from their land into slavery and suffer plagues, sickness and disease.
Sabbath-breaking and idolatry were the triggers God stated would bring captivity. Yet these were the very first things that Jeroboam instituted after the nation of Israel was divided into two nations. The result: The Assyrian king Shalmaneser defeated and enslaved Israel.
The House of Judah remained a nation for another 117 years, until 604-585 B.C. Over this 19-year period, they were also taken captive. The reason was directly related to Sabbath-breaking.
Jeremiah prophesied a time when many Jews would return to the Holy Land (29:10), 70 years after entering captivity, to rebuild the temple and restore the knowledge and worship of the true God.
Here is what Nehemiah said after the captivity when the people of Judah reverted to Sabbath breaking, which caused them to go into captivity in the first place: “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses 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 you 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 you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath” (13:15-18).
Disobedience to God’s commands is a serious matter. Let’s review: Sin is the transgression of God’s holy, righteous, and perfect spiritual Law (I John 3:4; Rom. 7:12, 14). When people break God’s Law—any part of it—the penalty is death (Rom. 6:23). God says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Men say, “Ignore this command and keep Sunday holy instead.” This is a colossal sin, carrying terrible consequences!
Like any human parent, before God punishes, He warns of consequences for disobedience. He carefully explains the terms—what will trigger the punishment—so there can be no misunderstanding what will happen. God’s prophets always foretold His purpose.
Here is how God inspired Jeremiah to warn the House of Judah on His behalf: “Thus says the Lord; take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do you any work, but hallow you the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers…But if you 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 …”—and if Judah disobeyed, “…then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched” (17:21-22, 27).
Judah rejected God’s warning. Since God does not warn in vain, here is the price they paid: “Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire” (52:12-13).
Make no mistake—God brought this captivity!
The modern world knows who the Jews are. Have you thought to ask why? Why does the world believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people? This must be understood.
The answer: The Jews have retained the Sabbath. They do not keep it holy, nor as God instructed, but they have not switched to Sunday, or Friday, as have professing Christians and Muslims. They have generally retained the Sabbath.
The Jews, therefore, have not become lost! They know who they are. As we saw one historian put it, “More than the Jews having kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews!” How true! The other Ten Tribes became lost to history because they rejected what Judah, at least in overall principle, retained.
But with all this comes an irony. Again, the world has come to believe the Jews—exclusively—are God’s chosen people. Virtually no one talks or wonders about the identity of the other tribes. They have become almost entirely forgotten. Yet today they number between perhaps 500-600 million!
This is why it is so vitally important that you carefully read America and Britain in Prophecy. It will leave you incredulous, because many of you reading this are part of modern Israel. The Bible identifies the British Commonwealth peoples as Ephraim. America is descended from Manasseh. Both these nations descended from Joseph. The remainder of the Lost Ten Tribes are generally the nations of Northwestern Europe.
These nations have been deceived into believing they are Gentiles. They are NOT! They are as Israelitish as are the very Jewish people themselves!
God’s Sabbath day is binding—and even more so on the modern nations of Israel—our peoples. While we have seen that Gentile Christians today must keep the Sabbath, because they are spiritual Israelites, it is doubly vital for the modern nations of Israel to understand that the One who says, “I CHANGE NOT!” (Mal. 3:6) commands to keep the Sabbath.
Now we must learn what is at stake for the modern nations of Israel, if they do not obey God’s Sabbath, while there is yet time in this age.
Millions of professing Christians have the attitude of Israel and Judah—that God does not really mean what He says. But God DOES mean what He says!
God used the prophet Ezekiel to warn today’s modern descendants of Israel of these same things. We will see that God outlines the consequences of disobeying His Sabbath MOST PLAINLY!
Source: National Archives and Records Administration
Source: National Archives and Records Administration
Source: National Archives and Records Administration
Ezekiel was sent with a special warning from God to the House of Israel, not Judah. Here is what God told him: “Go speak unto the House of Israel” (3:1). This is vital to understand, because Ezekiel lived over 100 years after Israel had been taken into captivity. Ezekiel himself was a Jewish captive—a slave—in Babylon. There was no way for him to deliver his message directly to the House of Israel at that time.
Let me say this plainly. Ezekiel could not personally deliver the message to the lost tribes of Israel, because they were already in the land of Assyria, on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Also, they later migrated to Northwestern Europe, with the Assyrian migration to modern Germany, settling in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, France, Belgium, Scandinavia, Switzerland and America, among others. They were outside his time and beyond his reach.
Understand! God knew that the nations of Ephraim and Manasseh would rise to national prominence after 2,520 years of punishment. He also knew they would learn nothing from their punishment and, having lost their identity, would continue Sabbath-breaking and widespread idolatry, among other national sins. Yet, a loving God always warns before punishment. Recall that Ezekiel was told to “Go” to Israel.
It is the responsibility of this Work of God to bring this warning to you NOW! What you are reading here is the fulfillment of an astonishing prophecy, which started with the ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1934.
Time is running out. I pray you will heed this WARNING!
We will focus on chapter 20 of Ezekiel, verse-by-verse. This chapter begins with God recounting to “certain of the elders of Israel” His repeated warnings to cease their rank idolatry. We pick up in verses 10-12. Notice how it parallels the Exodus 31:12-17 Sabbath covenant: “Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into t