1. The Change in Sabbath Observance
SOMEWHERE in the dim ages between the time of Christ and our time, the observance of the Sabbath has been changed from the seventh day of the week to the first day. Certain it is that the command of God isfor the sanctification and observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. There can be no mistaking themeaning here. This is the command:“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventhday is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thydaughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).Equally certain it is that there is no other command given in the Holy Scriptures naming another or adifferent day. The Bible in its entirety, both Old and New Testaments, commands, upholds, defends, andteaches the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. Just as certain is it that the various churches of Christian believers today, in every part of the world, with but few important exceptions, uniformly observethe first day of the week, and unite in defending its observance.There appears, then, to be a discrepancy between the present-day practice of the churches in thematter of Sabbath keeping and the plain teaching of the Bible. This apparent discrepancy has disturbed theminds of many, and created a real need for accurate and reliable information regarding the historical background of the change in Sabbath observance, the time this change took place, and the reasons for making the change. Therefore, it is proposed here to enter into a study of this subject in the hope of providing information that will enable every reader to arrive at such clear convictions of truth and duty aswill remove all doubt and confusion.In such a study it will be necessary, of course, to inquire into the origin of Sabbath observance, aswell as to examine the writings setting forth the history of the church and the reasons for the change of theday. We shall therefore be required to give careful consideration to the Bible account of the establishmentof the Sabbath among men, and the reasons in the mind of God for commanding its observance in one of His ten commandments.
The Law Spoken and Written by Jehovah
The only divine law for Sabbath observance known among men is contained in the Bible, and has beenquoted on the preceding page. It should be pointed out that this commandment was spoken, with the other nine commandments, by the mouth of Jehovah Himself.“The Lord spoke unto you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw nosimilitude; only you heard a voice. And he declared unto you ... ten commandments” (Deuteronomy 4:12,13).These commandments, including the Sabbath commandment, were written with God's own finger onenduring stone. “He wrote them upon two tables of stone” (Deuteronomy 4:13). “Two tables of testimonies, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18).This law is spoken of in the Scriptures as “right,” “true,” good,” and “perfect.” “Thou came downalso upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gayest them right judgments, and true laws,good statutes and commandments” (Nehemiah 9:13). “The law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 19:7). Thislaw contains the whole duty of man.
Christ Did Not Change the Law
It was not the purpose of Christ to change, remove, destroy, or nullify any part of this law. “Think not thatI am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17).Instead of discrediting the law, Christ came to make it honorable. “He will magnify the law, and make ithonorable” (Isaiah 42:21).Indeed, so far as the Sabbath is concerned, Christ observed it, with every other commandment.