Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

November 19, 1894

A Perpetual Memorial

By Mrs. E. G. White

(Concluded.)

Satan's chief agent in bringing about the rejection of the fourth commandment, and the institution of the first day of the week as a day of rest, has been the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church does not deny the part she has acted in this change, but makes a boast of her power as shown in the change which she has brought about in the world. Papists acknowledge that the Bible gives no sanction to this change, and that Protestants have no Scriptural authority for Sunday worship. The Catholic Church changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day, and without the shadow of divine sanction it has been accepted by almost all the Protestant churches, and Rome, pointing to the adherents of her doctrines, claims the supremacy. In changing the fourth precept of God's law, the papal power has thought itself able to exalt itself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. This was the very work that the prophecy foretold would be done by this power. In trampling upon the fourth commandment, the first commandment is broken. Their idolatry is similar to that of Israel's when she substituted a god which her own hands had made, for the living and true God, and followed after the example of Egypt; for when the Catholics substitute a sabbath of their own making for that which God commanded, they too worship that which their own hands have made, and follow the example of the heathen who worshiped the sun on the first day of the week.

Through the pope of Rome the same work has been carried on here on earth as was carried on in the courts of heaven before the expulsion of the prince of darkness. Satan sought to correct the law of God in heaven, and to supply an amendment of his own. He exalted his own judgment above that of his Creator, and placed his will above the will of Jehovah, and in this way virtually declared God to be fallible. The pope also takes the same course and, claiming infallibility for himself, seeks to adjust the law of God to meet his own ideas, thinking himself able to correct the mistakes he thinks he sees in the statutes and commands of the Lord of heaven and earth. He virtually says to the world, I will give you better laws than those of Jehovah. What an insult is this to the God of heaven!

Many thousand who have accepted the change made in the day of rest have done so ignorantly, and unwittingly have placed themselves under the banner of the prince of darkness. The Christian church has accepted the false sabbath, but the day of light has now dawned. The times of their ignorance God winked at, but now he commandeth men everywhere to repent. It is demonstrated that no change is necessary in the law of God. Were there a change needed in the law of God, and could such a change be made, the rebellion of Satan would be justified, and the universe would have to concede that Satan was wiser than God, and had a right to supreme authority. But Jesus came to magnify the law and to make it honorable, and his death on Calvary in the sinner's behalf, proves the immutability of the law of heaven.

The work of the papal church was to be of an exactly opposite character to that of Christ. Daniel in holy vision saw that he “would think to change times and laws.” The laws of God and the time of God were to be changed by this antichristian power. The laws of God are the only laws which men are prohibited from changing, for secular powers may change as they see fit the laws of secular governments. In the prophecy it is plainly shown that this papal power would with deliberate intention change the law of God. In the Catholic catechisms the second commandment is not taught as obligatory, but for this change they do not hold themselves responsible of intention to change the law, as they declare that the whole significance of the precept is contained in the first commandment. But the change of the fourth commandment, the institution of the first day of the week as the Sabbath instead of the seventh day, is a change for which she holds herself responsible of intention to change, and makes a boast of her power, because the whole professed Christian world acknowledges her mandate in this particular. It is by thus trampling upon God's commandments (sin is the transgression of the law) that the Roman Church has proved its right to the title given in prophecy to one who shall be the “mystery of lawlessness.”

The Papacy, claiming to be the vicegerent of the Son of God, is in truth the vicegerent of another power. She points to the Sunday institution as the sign of her authority; but in the change of the law and time of God, she is only doing that which Satan tried to do in heaven,—prove the law of God faulty, and the Lawgiver fallible. In boasting of her power above the law of God, she is but echoing the sentiments of the great deceiver. God instituted the Sabbath as a sign of his authority and power, and the Papacy, acting for the prince of evil, points to the Sunday as a sign of her power and jurisdiction. The day of the sun, Sunday, was a day devoted to the most vile of the heathen worship, for it was celebrated in connection with sun-worship. This Sunday-sabbath has been accepted by many who know it to be the foundling of heathenism, which has been cherished and nourished by the Church of Rome, and by her clothed in the garments of sanctity. But while many are now aware of its origin, there are true Christians in every church who do not know the origin of the Sunday-sabbath, and believe that they are keeping the day which God sanctified and blest. This is true of worshipers even in the Catholic Church; and while this ignorance and integrity remain, God accepts of their sincerity; but when light shall fall upon their pathway, God requires them to come into harmony with his law, and to observe the Sabbath of his appointing. The time has come when the glory of the Lord is to fill the earth, and when the whole earth shall be lightened with his glory. The cry is sounding to the honest in heart to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

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