The Bible Sabbath- Contents
- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- When was the Sabbath Instituted?
- What day of the week do the Scriptures designate as the Sabbath?
- Has the Sabbath been changed from the Seventh to the First day of the Week?
- The Sabbath: Authority for the Change of the Day
- What day of the week was observed by the Apostles and Primitive Christians?
- What was the Practice of Christians after the Apostles?
- History of the Sabbath. The Sabbath from the Time of Constantine to the Reformation
- The Sabbath Since the Reformation.
- The True Issue
- A Christian Caveat
- Misuse of the Term “Sabbath.”
- The Fourth Commandment
- The Royal Law Contended For
- Weighted Relevancy
- Content Sequence
- Earliest First
- Latest First
What day of the week do the Scriptures designate as the Sabbath?
To this question, it might be supposed that every person who has any acquaintance with the subject would readily reply — The seventh. We are aware, however, that efforts are made to render this a difficult point to determine. We shall, therefore, make a few remarks upon it.BISA 3.1
It is plainly recorded that the Creator, after laboring the first six days, in which he completed the work of creation, rested the following day, which was the seventh in the order of creation. This particular day God therefore sanctified and blessed. “And God blessed the seventh day.” When the law was given at Mount Sinai, the observance of the seventh day was commanded; and the manner in which the fourth commandment is expressed, shows beyond a doubt, that one particular and definite day was known to Israel by this name. Consequently, they needed no instruction as to which day was intended. This is observable in Exodus 16:22, where the sixth and seventh days of the week are mentioned by their ordinal names, as a subject with which the people were familiarly acquainted. In this place, also, the seventh day is declared to be the Sabbath. There can be no reasonable doubt but that the day which in the time of Moses was known as the seventh day, was the same in its weekly succession with that which is called the seventh day in Genesis 2:3. If the seventh day mentioned in the fourth commandment was not the same day of the week mentioned in Genesis 2:3, as some profess to think, it must be perfectly inexplicable, that no intimation is given in the history of those events that another seventh day was intended in the fourth commandment than the one mentioned in the institution of the Sabbath, especially since both are recorded in the same appellation in a direct series of events. But what removes all obscurity from the subject is, that God has positively declared that the day which he commanded to be observed in Exodus 20, is the same on which he rested at the close of the creation. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This language is definite; and while it assures us that the day here commanded to be observed is the same in its weekly returns with the day on which God rested, it assures us against any derangement of the week, or loss of time which might have been produced in the long lapse of time from the creation, by the general apostasy from the true worship of God. Had the true Sabbath been lost, it was certainly restored; and the day then known as the seventh day received the divine sanction. The same remark is applicable to the subject during the succeeding history of the Jewish nation. Had the weekly Sabbath fallen into total neglect, and the day of its regular recurrence been forgotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, by giving his divine example in favor of the day known by the Jewish nation as the proper seventh day of the decalogue, has settled the question conclusively, down to that time: so that the day known in the New Testament as the Sabbath, was the seventh day in regular succession from the creation of the world. A perfect uniformity among all the nations in the known world, as to the days of the week, both before and since the advent of Christ, is a further testimony, that no derangement of the days of the week has ever taken place. Indeed, it will not be pretended that the account of time has been lost since the introduction of Christianity. Since that period, the Jews as a people have maintained a perfect uniformity in the observance of the ancient Sabbath, though scattered through every nation of the globe; and the Christian church, in all its divisions, has been known to observe either the seventh or the first day of the week; and for a considerable length of time, both of these days. So that we are as certain that the day now known as the seventh day of the week, is the same with that enjoined in the fourth commandment, as we are of any fact, for the knowledge of which we are dependent on the testimony of mankind.BISA 3.2
In this connection, we would remark, that the sabbatical law does not appoint a seventh day, but the seventh day. It is but a flimsy subterfuge to pretend that the fourth commandment enjoins only a seventh part of our time to be kept holy. The people of Israel never so understood the law of the Sabbath; and their uniform conduct ever since shows that they understood it to mean the last day of the week, and that only. It will be admitted, that had the Jews, in the days of Moses, profaned the rest of the seventh day, under the pretext that they had rested on one of the preceding six days, they would have paid dearly for their presumption. If, then, their sense of this precept was correct, no person in any age has a right to understand it in a different sense, for a law cannot have a contrary or a double meaning. While the terms of that precept remain the same, its meaning must continue the same. It is true that the law which enjoins the observance of the last day of every seven, does as a consequence enjoin the seventh part of our time; but it is still the seventh day in its order that it requires, and not merely a seventh part. And it should be remembered, that Christ hath said, “not one jot or tittle shall in any wise pass from the law;” and that the most awful penalty is denounced on him who dares to explain away its proper meaning. It is obvious, also, that if a seventh day, or any one day after six of labor, be all that is required by the law of the Sabbath, the seventh or last must still be that day, from the fact, that to change it without divine authority would be to change the length of the week, and violate God’s established order. And as in the first instance it would be sin, time would never change the character of that act. A wrong never will become a right by our persisting in it. As it could not be changed without sin, so the sin must ever remain until repented of and retracted. It should be remembered, likewise, that by an admission that a seventh day or a seventh part of our time only is required, all argument for a change is effectually silenced; for if any good reason existed for one day more than another, the mere seventh part must be abandoned.BISA 4.1