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Chapter 90

Change of the Sabbath

According to the prophet, what was to be Christ's attitude toward His Father's law?
"The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable." Isa. 42:21.

How much of the law did He uphold?
"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matt. 5:18.

How were those to be regarded who should break one of these commandments?
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be least in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:19.

How much of the law did Christ say is suspended on the two great commandments of love?
"On these two commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets." Matt. 22:40.
NOTE: The entire code of ten commandments is clearly binding on Christians. From the above texts we learn that Christ had no thought of changing any of them. One of these commands the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. But the practice of most Christians is different; they keep the first day of the week instead, many of them believing that Christ changed the Sabbath. But we see from His own words that He has not attempted such a work.

What is said of the power represented by the "little horn?"
"And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws." Dan. 7:25.
NOTE: For location of this power, reading on "A Remarkable Symbol."

What power claims authority to change God's law?
The Roman Church.
NOTE: "The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things even the precepts of Christ." --Decretal De Translat. Episcop. Cap.

"The pope has authority, and has often excercised it, to dispense with the commands of Christ, respecting war, marriage, divorce, revenge, swearing, usury, perjury, and uncleanness." --Pope Nicholas, Caus. 15, Quest.6.

"The pope's will stands for reason. He can dispense above the law; and of wrong make right, by correcting and changing laws." --Pope Nicholas, Dist. 96.

What part of the law has this power thought to change?
The fourth commandment.
NOTE: "They [the Catholics] allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it appears; neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power and authority of the Church, since it dispensed with one of the ten commandments." Augsburg Confession, art. 28.
"It [the Roman Church] has reversed the fourth commandment, doing away with the Sabbath of God's word, and instituting Sunday as a holy day." N. Summerbell, in History of the Christians, page 418.

Who first enjoined Sunday keeping by law?
Constantine the Great.
NOTE: "The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerable day of the sun), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor." Encyclopedia Britannica, art. Sunday, ninth edition, 1887.

"Constantine the Great made a law for the whole empire (321 A.D.) that Sunday should be kept as a day of rest in all cities and towns; but he allowed the country people to follow their work." Encyclopedia Americana, art. Sabbath.

What did Constantine's law require?
"Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven." Translated from the original edict in Latin, now in Harvard College.
NOTE: It will be noticed that in this edict no sacred title is given to the day to be observed; it is called simply the "venerable day of the sun," and was enforced only as such. Constantine, like his ancestors, was a worshiper of the sun. The first day of the week had for ages been dedicated to that worship, and from that fact retains the name Sunday. See Webster. But on acknowledging Christ, Constantine refused to surrender the venerable day of the sun, and brought it into Christianity with him, and thus it was handed down to the Christian church.

When and by what authority was Sunday first enjoined upon Christians as the Lord's day?
Prynne says: "The seventh-day Sabbath was... solemnized by Christ, the apostles, and primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did, in a manner, quite abolish the observation of it... The Council of Laodicea [364 A.D.]... first settled the observation of the Lord's day." Dissertation on the Lord's Day Sabbath, page 162, 1633.

What did this council decree about the Sabbath?
"Because Christians ought not to Judaize, and to rest in the Sabbath, but to work in that day... Wherefore if they shall be found to Judaize, let them be accursed from Christ." Ibid, pages 33, 34. The foregoing are Protestant testimonies.

But do Catholics themselves acknowledge their meddling with the Sabbath Commandment?
They do.
"Question. - How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
"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." Abridgement of Christian Doctrine, page 58.
"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 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." Doctrinal Catechism, page 351.

To whom do people really pay homage?
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?" Rom. 6:16.

What kind of worship does the Saviour call that which is not according to God's commandments?
"But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matt. 15:9.

What was the difference between Elijah's faith, and that of the other prophets of his day?
"Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men." 1 Kings 18:22.

Who was the Baal of the heathen Hebrews?
"Baal, or Bel, the principal god of the Phoenicians, Chaldeans, and Carthaginians, is regarded as a personification of the sun. . . The worship of Baal prevailed among the Jews in the time of the prophet Elijah and earlier," Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia, art, Baal.
NOTE: "The Baal of the Syrians, Phoenicians, and heathen Hebrews is a much less elevated conception than the Babylonian Bel. He is properly the sun-god, Baal Shammem, Baal (lord) of the heavens." --Encyclopedia Britannnica, art. Baal.

What appeal did Elijah make to the people?
"How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him, "but if Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings 18:21.
NOTE: If one becomes a servant to whoever he obeys, and he obeys the dictates of the Roman Church, knowing them to be such, would he not, in the sight of Heaven, be regarded as a servant of that church instead of a servant of God? How appropriate, then, are the words of Elijah (with a slight change) to those who learn the origin of Sunday observance: "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if the Roman Church, follow it."

Copyright © 1988 Research Institute for Better Reading, Inc., used by permission by Project Restore, Inc. at www.projectrestore.com
Created: 07/18/02 Updated: 02/01/05