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    August 20, 1885

    “The Sabbath a Sign” The Signs of the Times, 11, 32.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we quoted a paragraph which stated that the Sabbath was a ceremonial institution, given to commemorate the deliverance from Egypt, and that it was only a sign for the Jews, a distinguishing mark. The first statement we considered, showing its fallacy; this week we have briefly to consider the Sabbath as a sign. We shall quote the texts referred to by Dr. Dobbs.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.1

    Exodus 31:13: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.”SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.2

    Ezekiel 20:12: “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.”SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.3

    Ezekiel 20:20: “And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.”SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.4

    These three verses tell us plainly what purpose the Sabbath served as a sign. Strange to say, it was not a sign between the Jews and the Gentiles, not a mark of national distinction, but that the people might know the God of Heaven. Each one of these verses tells the same thing. It was a sign by which they might know the Lord. But mark: It was the Sabbath when hallowed that enabled them to know the Lord. The Sabbath institution, a mere theory, could have no such effect; but when they kept the Sabbath, they could know the true God-the God that would sanctify them. Heathen gods could not sanctify; and since the people could not know the true God unless they kept the Sabbath, it follows that keeping the Sabbath was necessary to sanctification. And this is just as true now as it was then.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.5

    Right here we have one strong evidence that the Sabbath was designed for all men. Thus: It is very certain that God wants all men to acknowledge him and to give him, the reverence and homage which is his due. It is hardly necessary to quote Scripture proof of this, since none will deny it. We will refer to one or two. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11. Paul also said that God “commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Acts 17:30. This repentance is to be “toward God.” Acts 20:21. Now if all men everywhere are called upon to show repentance toward God, it is evident that it is the duty of all men to know and serve him. Again, those who know not God are to be punished with everlasting destruction. 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9. It is evident, then, that is the duty of all men to know God.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.6

    But the text above quoted, says that it was only by keeping the Sabbath that the children of Israel could know who was God. If it was the keeping of the Sabbath that caused them to know the true God, it must be the keeping of the Sabbath that insures a knowledge of God to other people. Therefore since God wants to be known by all, he wants his Sabbath to be kept by all.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.7

    But how is it that the keeping of the Sabbath can perpetuate the knowledge of the true God? Read the words of the Lord concerning the Sabbath, in Exodus 31:17: “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Now we have it. The keeping of the Sabbath causes our thoughts to turn to the creation, and thus we remember the true God, for it is his creative power that distinguishes him from false gods. “For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens.” Psalm 96:5. “Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” Jeremiah 10:11, 12. Now the only thing whatever to keep this truth prominently before the minds of men is the Sabbath. That and that alone is the memorial of the creation.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.8

    Some may say that the works of creation are ever before us, and that we can ever keep the Creator in mind. But God foresaw that without the Sabbath man would not remember him, and the result has demonstrated his wisdom, for the people who disregard the Sabbath, very soon forget God. Without the weekly rest, in which they can meditate upon God’s great power, they will soon cease to think of him at all; but the proper keeping of the Sabbath insures continual remembrance of God; for the Sabbath, to be kept properly, must be remembered throughout the week.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.9

    “But,” says one, “the Sabbath, after all, was a sign only to Israel.” This brings us to a brief consideration of why the Israelites are especially mentioned, and why it was that only the Israelites were gathered about the base of Sinai, to hear the law. Two reasons may be given:-SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.10

    1. Of all the people on earth, the Jews alone retained the knowledge of the true God. Abraham had been called to separate from his heathen relatives, in order that he and his descendants might not, by heathen associations, be turned from their allegiance to him. God called Abraham for the same reason that four hundred years before he had chosen Noah,-because He alone was righteous. The people of the country in which he and his descendants were sojourners, were those who had sold themselves to the devil, and the Egyptians, to whom the Israelites were in bondage, were gross idolaters. In all the earth there was but one people, and that was Israel, that could have been induced to hearken to the voice of God. The law was therefore intrusted to them, with repeated injunctions not to forget it, in order that the knowledge of God might not become wholly extinct. Their duty was to hold up its light so that the nations might see it, and thus some be led to glorify God.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.11

    2. Because Israel alone had preserved the knowledge of the true God, he made a special promise to them, on condition that they should continue in his law. This was the first covenant, and when that was broken he made another, not with the Gentiles, but with the same people-the house of Israel and Judah. Jeremiah 31:31-34. The promises of God are to none but the Israelites (Romans 9:4), and therefore all who are saved must be of Israel. Romans 11:26. The heavenly city, into which the redeemed shall enter, has but twelve gates, and on these gates are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Revelation 21:12. We can readily see the reasonableness of this, when we remember that “Israel” signifies, “one who prevails,” for none but the overcomers, those who prevail, can expect a place in the kingdom of God. And in this we find the strongest proof that God designed the seventh-day Sabbath to be kept by his people in all ages, because it is to be a sign between him and his people Israel forever.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.12

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” Exodus 20:8-10. E. J. W.SITI August 20, 1885, page 505.13

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