by Herbert W. Armstrong
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Does it make any difference WHICH day we observe -- or whether we keep it? Does the Bible establish SUNDAY as the LORD'S DAY? Was the Sabbath given for the Jewish people only -- while Christians are commanded to keep SUNDAY as the LORD'S DAY?
Chapter 1 - BUT DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?
Chapter 2 - WHO MADE AND ESTABLISHED THE SABBATH?
Chapter 3 - GOD -- NOT MOSES -- GAVE THE LAW
Chapter 4 - A SPECIAL ETERNAL COVENANT
Chapter 5 - WHICH DAY FOR GENTILE CHRISTIANS?
Chapter 6 - WHY ISRAEL AND JUDAH MADE SLAVES
Chapter 7 - IS SUNDAY MENTIONED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?
Chapter 8 - THE AMAZING TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
CERTAINLY MOST professing Christians accept SUNDAY as the New Testament Lord's Day. Moslems observe Friday. Some religions observe no day.
But there are those who insist the seventh-day Sabbath is still binding. Failure to keep it, they claim, is SIN -- and the punishment is DEATH for eternity!
Now that is a pretty serious claim!
Few take it seriously -- but that does not disprove or dismiss the challenge. Have YOU ever seriously looked into this question?
If someone tells me my house is on fire, I'm not going to laugh at him and refuse to take it seriously. I'm going to examine, and BE SURE! If he's wrong, then at least I shall KNOW my house is safe. I learned years ago that it can be very dangerous to carelessly ASSUME, or just take for granted. It's much wiser and safer to get all the FACTS, and then decide.
And one's LIFE for eternity is much more precious than his house.
Few realize, today, but the Sabbath vs. Sunday controversy raged during the first three centuries of the Christian era. Violence and bloodshed mounted. Millions were tortured and put to death over this question.
WHO IS RIGHT?
And, after all, does it make any difference?
Years ago I had to face this question. My wife said she had found, in the Bible, that Christians are bound to keep the Sabbath -- Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. I was shocked, angered. To me this was rank fanaticism. I had arguments -- plenty of them!
"You can't tell me that all these churches could be wrong!" I said in confident indignation.
I was challenged to look into this question -- to GET ALL THE FACTS! I was angered into serious research. I could not ignore the question. I had this question to live with! It had invaded my home!
Immediately when this question is raised, numerous other questions flash to mind.
Don't we have to adjust our religion to the changing times? After all, wasn't the Bible completely written some 1900 years ago? We live in a different world today! That's one argument. Yet, are we free to reason out our own religion? Are we going to render the decisions on our own fates, in the final judgment? Perhaps we'd better get the TRUTH!
Some will ask, "How can this world, as it is now organized, keep the seventh-day Sabbath? The world is geared to SUNDAY."
Or, "Suppose you're traveling on an ocean liner. Would you expect them to stop the engines and cease steaming forward at sunset Friday?"
"What about public utilities in the big cities? Electricity, water, gas. Must the police departments shut down and let criminals have a holiday?"
"Suppose the nation is at war. Should our forces stop fighting at sunset on Friday? The enemy might not see it that way!"
"But hasn't TIME been lost? How can we know whether the Saturday of today is the same day of the week as it was at creation -- or in Moses' day? Hasn't the weekly cycle gotten mixed up since creation?" That question, too, will be answered with the PROOF in this booklet.
"Anyway," one may reason in conclusion, "what possible difference can it make WHICH day, or WHETHER we observe it?"
These questions -- and more -- must be answered! And will be, in this booklet.
First of all, in a world where established, organized Christianity observes Sunday, where perhaps most people do not seriously observe any day as really sacred, HOW CAN WE KNOW?
Is there any SUPREME AUTHORITY, with the power of life and death over our eternity, with POWER to declare, and ENFORCE the right answer?
By WHAT AUTHORITY do Christians observe Sunday; Moslems, Friday; Sabbatarians, Saturday; and others, no day?
Is there any authority for observing Friday, or Sunday, or Saturday? It certainly is apparent all do not recognize the same authority.
IF There Is NO GOD!
Let me say candidly right here, that if there is no God -- if I were to leave GOD out of the picture -- then I could not see how it could possibly make any difference!
There is no way I can imagine how a man could reason out in his own mind, apart from any Supreme AUTHORITY, WHY it could make any difference which day -- or whether we observe it.
But the Almighty Creator GOD does exist! His existence is easily proved. God is emphatically IN THE PICTURE, whether a man recognizes that fact or not! That Great God has set in living, inexorable motion invisible LAWS respecting this very question. That God and those laws EXIST -- they LIVE -- they are ACTIVE! And their existence, and their action, do not depend on one man -- or all mankind -- realizing their existence.
The Almighty GOD holds the keys of life and death! By Him your fate is being determined! For all ETERNITY! And that is the reason why it does make all the difference -- for your well-being now, and for your eternity!
So first of all, we must settle once and for all, WHAT, or WHO, is the SUPREME AUTHORITY before whom we shall stand in judgment. Does such authority explain WHY it makes a difference -- and what are the consequences for disobedience or neglect?
Did you realize that there is one religious body which lays claim to being the sole infallible authority? It claims the Bible "is not a sufficient guide to heaven." It claims, through its own church leaders, that it, by its own infallible authority, substituted Sunday for the Sabbath.
This religious body offers the very fact that all Sunday-keeping people -- which includes the Western world as a whole -- have bowed down to its dictum on Sunday observance as PROOF of its absolute authority.
Some time ago one ecclesiastical authority stated that you may search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you cannot find one line or verse authorizing Sunday observance -- that the Bible enforces the keeping holy of the seventh-day Sabbath -- and that the sole authority for Sunday observance is based on edicts of men.
The claim is that a succession of human ecclesiastical leaders has replaced the authority of Jesus Christ. This may surprise many religious people.
It is claimed that Christ turned HEADSHIP of the Church over to Peter and his successors. In plain language, that Christ "bowed out," as it were -- that men rule in place of Christ, as HEAD of the Church.
But many churchgoing people do not accept this idea of infallibility.
WHAT, then, is the TRUTH?
Have you ever stopped to really PROVE whether GOD exists? Can you actually PROVE, by irrefutable and positive PROOF, that God is Creator -- that He rules as the SUPREME AND INFALLIBLE AUTHORITY over all His creation -- over all the universe?
Yes, you can prove that -- unless you are unwilling to accept TRUTH! We offer you that proof in the free booklet Does GOD Exist?
Can you PROVE, also, that THE HOLY BIBLE is the very authoritative WORD OF GOD -- His inspired Message and instruction Book to mankind -- the SOLE INFALLIBLE AUTHORITY, by which humanity shall be JUDGED?
Yes, you can prove that, also, unless you refuse to accept TRUTH!
Jesus Christ is the FOUNDER of the True New Testament Church of God.
WHEN Did Christ Build the Church?
But when did Christ actually found, or start God's Church -- while still a mortal human, or after His resurrection and ascension to heaven?
He merely taught HIS MESSAGE -- His GOSPEL -- to His disciples during His mortal human lifetime! But THE CHURCH OF GOD was founded -- was started -- on the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D., AFTER Christ had been resurrected, glorified, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.
Now WHEN is Christ supposed to have "bowed out," as Head of the Church, turning headship of the Church over to men? Not after the CHURCH was founded and in being -- but before there was any Church to turn over!
Why then do church leaders reject the authority of the Scriptures -- yet attempt to ESTABLISH their authority on the authority they reject and deny -- by quoting Matthew 16:18?
Jesus had just asked His disciples whom they believed He, the Son of MAN, really was. And Peter had answered that He was the Christ -- or prophesied Messiah -- the Son of the Living GOD. Jesus had answered that no man had revealed it to him, but it had been revealed by His FATHER in heaven.
Then Jesus added: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter" (Greek inspired original word, Petros, meaning a stone), "and upon this rock" (Greek inspired original word, petra, meaning a ledge or shelf of rock or a crag) "I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18).
Now, since it is claimed that the ROCK on which the Church was founded refers to Peter -- and not Christ -- notice the true meaning, as originally written by Matthew. Matthew wrote in the Greek language. There was no English language then. The English versions of today are translations from the original Greek language.
Peter was also called Cephas (Greek Kephas, from the Aramaic Kepha). In John 1:40-42, is related how Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, found Peter, and brought him to Jesus. "And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone" (verse 42). The English word "stone" is translated from the Greek word petros, meaning a single stone or loose stone. Also the Greek word Kephas means such a stone, referring definitely to a human MAN.
But when Jesus said "upon this ROCK I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18), the Greek word, as written originally by Matthew, was not either Kephas or petros, but petra, which means a large massive ROCK.
"... And That Rock Was CHRIST"
Notice a few other passages where this same Greek word petra is used. In Matthew 7:24, Jesus spoke of the man who built his house on a ROCK. The Greek word is petra. Could a man build a house, so firmly it could not be blown away, on a pebble or stone? Of course not! In the next verse, Jesus said the house fell not, even though the rain came in torrents, the floods came, the winds beat upon the house in fury, BECAUSE that house was founded on a ROCK. Thus the word petra denotes bigness and solidity and strength! It is defined also as a mass of rock.
In Matthew 27:60, it is stated that the tomb in which Jesus was buried, after the crucifixion, was hewn out in the ROCK -- in the petra! This is a mass of rock, not a single stone. It was big enough to have a family tomb hewn out of it. I have seen that rock. I have walked inside that tomb! It is a very LARGE ROCK, not a tiny stone!
The Greek petra cannot mean the human Peter, but the glorified CHRIST! Speaking of the Israelites under Moses, in the wilderness, Paul writes: "... for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was CHRIST (I Cor. 10:4).
According to the Liddell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon, "There is no example, in good authors, of [petra] in the sense of [petros]." On the contrary, petros is "distinguished from" petra. In plain language, then, that petra was CHRIST -- but the smaller stone, petros, or Kephas, was Simon Peter.
That settles the question, once and for all!
CHRIST Is Head of Church!
Was Peter the head of the Church? WHAT DID PETER himself say? Peter, speaking of Christ and the Church, wrote as follows: "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion [the Church] a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a ROCK of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed" (I Peter 2:6-8).
In the above passage Peter is speaking TO the Church. He quoted from Isaiah 28:16: "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a SURE FOUNDATION"! This pictures CHRIST as that FOUNDATION of the Church, on which it is built. God's Church was built on the ROCK (its foundation), CHRIST -- not on the stone, Peter.
In the passage in I Peter 2, the word "stone," in each case, is translated from the Greek word lithos -- NOT petros. Lithos is defined as a stone, a millstone, a stumblingstone. The same word is used for the stones of which the Temple was built -- and also the stone that was rolled up to the door of Christ's sepulcher, higher than a man's head. The word ROCK, however, in verse 8, is translated from the Greek petra, meaning a massive stone. It pictures Christ -- not Peter -- as the HEAD of the Church.
The CHURCH is described in Ephesians 2:20 as being "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [including Old Testament prophets], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Here Christ is plainly said to be the CHIEF, or HEAD.
The REAL FOUNDATION of the Church is CHRIST. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11).
Many teach that Christ left -- went "way off," forsook the Church -- turned its leadership over to Peter and his successors. But Jesus Himself said: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). He is shown in Revelation 1:13, 18 to be the Living Head, spiritually in the midst of the Church.
Who does the Word of God say is the Living HEAD of the CHURCH -- Peter, an ecclesiastical leader, or CHRIST? READ IT! CHRIST is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH! (Eph. 5:23.) Read it also in Ephesians 4:15; 1:22; Colossians 1:18; 2:19.
Jesus Christ ROSE from the dead! Jesus Christ LIVES TODAY! WHY then is Christ pictured either as a helpless babe in His mother's arms, glorifying the mother even ahead of Christ -- or else hanging dead on a cross? JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE TODAY! For more than 1900 years, He has been the Living HEAD and High Priest of the True Church, which HE built.
The AUTHORITY Is Christ!
So the True New Testament Church of God was founded by JESUS CHRIST -- not the Apostle Peter. It was the resurrected, Living Christ, AFTER HIS ascension to God's throne in Heaven, who actually founded the Church. It was on the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. On that day, Christ, as He had promised (John 16:7), sent the Holy Spirit to enter into His disciples, thus baptizing -- or plunging them into, THE CHURCH.
The Church of God is not a building or cathedral. The word "church" comes from the Greek ekklesia, which means congregation of people. The Church of GOD consists of PEOPLE -- the begotten children of GOD. It consists of -- and only of -- those who have been begotten of God by having received His HOLY SPIRIT.
"By ONE SPIRIT are we all baptized into one body" -- the Body of Christ the True Church of God (I Cor. 12:13). The word "baptized" means plunged into -- inducted into. The receiving of God's Spirit begets one with GOD-life -- makes him partaker of "the DIVINE NATURE" (II Peter 1:4). Such are begotten children of God -- and such compose the Church of God. When actually born, immortal, by resurrection or instantaneous change to immortality at Christ's coming, this CHURCH of God will become the KINGDOM of God!
So it was JESUS CHRIST, who went to heaven, and sent God's Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, who FOUNDED the Church. The same resurrected, Living Jesus Christ, has been the HEAD of the True Church -- for more than 1900 years!
So we have found the one and ONLY infallible AUTHORITY to settle this Sabbath question, once and for all!
That SUPREME AUTHORITY is Jesus Christ, and His written Word, THE BIBLE.
EVEN SO -- What's the Difference?
But even if Jesus Christ is the Living Head of the True Church -- even if HE is the Supreme Authority to settle this question, one may still ask, "How does that concern ME? And even if it involves the SIN question, does it still make any difference?"
Most people today leave GOD out of the picture. People today take sin lightly. And as I said before, if GOD is not in the picture, then you cannot possibly see any reason why it makes any difference which day, or whether you observe it.
But GOD IS IN THE PICTURE!
True, God doesn't seem real to most people. But YOU are a creation of God! God Almighty put humanity on earth for a PURPOSE! His laws and His decrees determine your happiness, well-being and success here and now -- and your fate for eternity! When you appear at the final Judgment -- YOU won't be the Judge.
The Eternal GOD created the entire universe -- He set in motion, and sustains, and controls, every power and force and energy. He rules His creation. And the LAWS He set in living motion determine your well-being or lack of it. Oh, yes, HE is in the picture!
And, is the SIN question involved? WHO determines what is sin -- and just what difference does it make?
Most people do not know what sin is. Some say dancing is a sin -- others say it is not. Some say smoking is a sin -- others say it is not. Different people -- different churches -- have different IDEAS.
But that could be very costly ignorance! The first thing you need to get settled in your mind is this: THE LIVING GOD OF ALL POWER DOES NOT ALLOW US TO DECIDE WHAT IS SIN. HE DETERMINES WHAT IS SIN, AND COMPELS YOU TO DECIDE WHETHER TO SIN! And the PENALTY of sin is DEATH FOR ETERNITY! That penalty is real! It is a terrifying, frightful fate!
SIN is doing what GOD SAYS is harmful and injurious to you -- and/or others! Sin is doing what deprives you of God's blessings -- peace, happiness, security, abundant and joyful living, as a condition to God's supreme gift of ETERNAL LIFE!
Yes, the Living Jesus Christ -- and the Holy Bible -- constitute the sole Supreme AUTHORITY to settle this question once and for all! The question of WHICH DAY is directly concerned with your connection with GOD! And that is directly connected with your welfare here and now, and your ETERNITY. It makes a tremendous difference to GOD!
Jesus Christ is the Living personal Word of God. And the Holy Bible is the written Word of God, by which CHRIST speaks to you! Christ is the active HEAD of the only True Church. We have found the Supreme AUTHORITY!
So now let us see what CHRIST, through the BIBLE, says about which is the day to keep in this NEW Testament era -- and whether it makes any difference.
WHO MADE AND ESTABLISHED THE SABBATH?
JESUS CHRIST had considerable to say and to teach about the Sabbath, and its observance.
In Mark's Gospel we read of the beginning of His ministry, and the GOSPEL He taught. Repeatedly He said this GOSPEL came direct from God the Father -- GOD'S Message to mankind.
Mark 1:1: "The beginning of the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST." The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a gospel from MEN about the PERSON of Christ. The GOSPEL OF CHRIST is Christ's Gospel -- the Gospel Christ preached -- the Gospel GOD SENT by Jesus for mankind!
Gospel of Kingdom
Jesus came into Galilee, after John the Baptist was thrown into prison, preaching the GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM (government) OF GOD, calling on men to repent, and to believe. Yes, but to believe what? Believe this very GOSPEL which Jesus brought from God, so Jesus Himself said! (Mark 1:15.)
He called His disciples, and immediately "they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the SABBATH DAY he entered into the synagogue" (verse 21). It was Jesus' custom to attend the synagogue services on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).
That same synagogue where Jesus attended at Capernaum lies in ruins today. I have visited it -- walked around among the fallen stones and columns and Jewish carvings.
Also the synagogue at Nazareth, mentioned in Luke 4:16, and the site on which Jesus undoubtedly had attended every Sabbath as He grew up from babyhood, remains apparently identifiable today. Most of the present structure had been restored in the second century. It has been excavated, with a stairway leading down into it. I have visited this synagogue. It brought vividly to mind the close resemblance, in size, to some of the little churches in which I preached in the early years of my ministry. It was very small -- probably seating not more than 50 people. It was built entirely of stone. I thought, as I stood and walked around in that little room, of how even Jesus, by whom God created the earth, started out His earthly ministry in a very small, humble place. I can't describe my feelings at that moment -- but I assure you it was a tremendous experience!
Jesus preached in the synagogues in towns throughout Galilee (Mark 1:38-39). A little later Jesus and His disciples went through the cornfields on the Sabbath day (Mark 2:23). The Pharisees accused Jesus' disciples of breaking the Sabbath by plucking ears of corn to eat.
Jesus, teaching as part of HIS GOSPEL how to observe the Sabbath said: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28).
It Was MADE!
I want you to read that pivotal text again!
Jesus said, "The sabbath was made." It is one of those things that was made. It had to have a MAKER. Who, then, made the Sabbath?
God is the Creator. But it is written in Ephesians 3:9, "... God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
John's Gospel begins: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... ALL THINGS were made by HIM; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men .... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him ..." (John 1:1, 3-4, 14-15).
That "Word" was CHRIST. Christ was with God the Father from eternity. Christ was God! ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM -- Jesus Christ! The Sabbath is one of those things that was MADE. So it was Jesus Christ who MADE the Sabbath. God made it through Jesus Christ or by Him!
Notice further: "For by him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible ... And he is THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH (Col. 1:16, 18).
Very few realize it today -- but the Sabbath was MADE BY JESUS CHRIST! No wonder, then, He said plainly that He is LORD also of the Sabbath! (Mark 2:28.)
When, and for Whom?
Notice Mark 2:27 again! It was not only one of those things that was made -- it not only had a Maker -- but it was made for someone. Now today the prevalent idea seems to be that it was made "for the Jew." But what did Christ Himself say? He said it was made "for man"!
If it was made for mankind, we should suppose it was made when man was made. But we must not "suppose." We must have BIBLE AUTHORITY!
Let's turn back to the description of the time when MAN was made.
"And God said, Let us [more than one -- the Father and Christ] make man in our image, after our likeness ... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:26-27).
Now when was this? Verse 31 says it was the sixth day of creation week. Further, man was the very last thing or being created on that day. Man came into being, then, probably in the late afternoon of the sixth day.
Now continue: "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3).
NOTICE NOW! When "God said, Let us make man," who did the speaking? The original Hebrew word here translated "God" is Elohim. This Hebrew word for God is a uni-plural word (collective noun) meaning more than one Person, yet one GOD. God is a Kingdom -- a FAMILY. There is the Father. Jesus is the SON. Christ is also the WORD -- that is, the Spokesman. He speaks only as the Father directs. God created all things by Jesus Christ! Therefore, it was Jesus who SPOKE! It was Jesus who said: "Let us make man." It was Jesus who did the WORK of creation, as directed by the Father!
NOTICE AGAIN! Did Jesus complete His CREATING on the sixth day? Does it say that on the seventh day he ceased to CREATE? Not at all! Notice more carefully. "On the seventh day God ended" -- WHAT? Not creating! He ended "his WORK which he had made."
There were a full SEVEN DAYS of creation! Not six -- SEVEN! On the seventh day He MADE THE SABBATH! But the Sabbath was made, not by WORK, but by REST. What He ended on the seventh day was the WORK of creation -- that which was created by work! On the seventh day He rested! He created the Sabbath by resting.
Was God Tired?
Now why did Jesus Christ, who had done the WORK of creation, rest? Was He "all tired out"? Was He so fatigued He was forced to stop and rest? Positively not, for God "fainteth not, neither is weary"! (Isa. 40:28.)
Yet, this was a real rest, because in Exodus 31:17 it is written: "... in six days the LORD [Christ] made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." Since He was "refreshed" by this rest, it was a real rest. Yet He was not tired or weary!
WHY did He rest? To put His DIVINE PRESENCE IN THAT DAY! He MADE the Sabbath on that day by resting, whereas He had made all other things by working!
NOTICE FURTHER! Also He blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it"! What does "sanctified" mean? Look in your dictionary. It means "set apart, for HOLY use or purpose." He set apart this day from other days -- set it apart for HOLY use -- for a day of physical rest, in which His people may assemble and worship God!
Also He "HALLOWED the seventh day of every week (Ex. 20:11). He made it HOLY. It is, as we shall see in the Scriptures later, HOLY to GOD. Now the Sabbath is a day. It is the particular seventh day of the week (Matt. 28:1). Therefore what God did -- and God did it by CHRIST -- was to make future TIME holy!
Now ask yourself, and answer: Does any man have authority to make future time HOLY? No man is holy of himself. No man has power to make anything holy. GOD ALONE IS HOLY -- or whatever God has made holy! No group or organization of men has authority to make future time HOLY!
The Sabbath is a space of TIME. God set it as that space of time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Whenever that time comes to us, we are in holy time! It is GOD's time, not ours! God MADE it HOLY -- and in the Ten Commandments, as we shall see in detail a little later, He commanded us to keep it holy! Many do not realize today that it is a SIN to profane that which is HOLY to God!
"Take Your Foot Off"
But does it make any difference whether we keep this very day God blessed and made holy? Must the Christian respect what God makes HOLY?
God gives us a very plain explanation in an experience of Moses.
Moses, raised from a baby as a prince by Pharaoh's daughter, had killed an Egyptian guard, and fled to the land of Midian, near Mt. Sinai. There he had married a daughter of Jethro the priest. Moses, leading a flock of sheep, came to Mt. Horeb (Sinai). There he saw a large bush burning. But Moses noticed that the bush was not consumed. It kept on burning, yet the bush itself was not burnt.
The Eternal (Christ) called to Moses out of the midst of the burning bush.
"Moses! Moses!" called God, "... put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is HOLY GROUND" (Ex. 3:2-5).
Now suppose Moses had been like most people today. He probably would have argued:
"Well, Lord, I don't see where it makes any difference WHERE I take off my shoes. I don't want to take them off here, on this ground. I'll wait and take my shoes off a mile down the way."
Had Moses rebelled and said that, he would have never been used to lead God's people out of Egyptian slavery.
The ground a mile away was not HOLY. Why did it make any difference whether Moses took off his shoes -- or where? Here is why! THE GROUND WHERE HE THEN STOOD WAS HOLY. He was required, by God, to treat HOLY ground with a respect he did not treat other ground.
And why? Well, what made that particular bit of ground holy? GOD'S VERY PRESENCE WAS IN THAT GROUND! God is HOLY! God's presence in that bush made the ground around it HOLY!
In the very same manner, GOD'S PRESENCE is in His Sabbath. He rested on that first Sabbath to put His presence in that day! This made it HOLY TIME! Four thousand years later, when this same "Logos" or "WORD" was made flesh -- when He came as Jesus Christ in the human flesh -- HE WAS STILL PUTTING HIS PRESENCE IN THAT SAME WEEKLY RECURRING SABBATH -- HE WENT INTO THE SYNAGOGUES AS HIS CUSTOM WAS!
Jesus Christ is still the SAME, today, as He was yesterday, and shall be forever (Heb. 13:8). Do you believe that? Is your Bible an AUTHORITY? Do you accept it as AUTHORITY? Unless Jesus Christ, in Spirit, is today living in your flesh -- actually living your life for you -- you are none of His -- you are not a Christian (Rom. 8:9). And if He is, HE HAS NOT CHANGED -- He is still putting His presence in His SABBATH!
Moses was commanded, by the Eternal, to take his shoes off that HOLY GROUND. Disobedience would have been SIN, with the penalty eternal DEATH.
Mankind is commanded, by the same Eternal, to take his foot off from trampling over and profaning God's HOLY DAY! God requires His children to treat that HOLY time with a respect not required in other time.
Notice a PROPHECY -- for our time now:
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my HOLY DAY; and call the sabbath a delight [not a yoke of bondage], the HOLY OF THE ETERNAL, honourable; and shalt honour HIM, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Eternal hath spoken it"! (Isa. 58:13-14.)
There is a plain "THUS SAITH THE LORD!"
We honor God by keeping holy those things that He has made holy! We dishonor Him when we speak our own words, saying, "Well, I think the ideas and ways of MEN -- of all of this world's CHURCHES -- must be right. I'd rather do as they do, and honor them, and be well thought of by them."
God commands: "Take your foot off My HOLY TIME! Quit trampling all over that which is HOLY and SACRED TO ME! Quit profaning MY HOLY THINGS -- whether it be MY name, My tithe of your income, or MY holy day."
The SIN is in profaning that which God made HOLY!
God has never made any other weekly day HOLY! Man has no authority to make a day HOLY. You cannot KEEP a day HOLY, unless God has first made it holy, any more than you can keep cold water hot -- unless it has first been made hot! God made this space of time HOLY -- He commands you to keep it that way!
Abraham Kept It
This world, and all its civilization -- including its religions -- consists of a system of beliefs and customs that have been derived from "the way that seems right to man." God says that way incurs the penalty of eternal DEATH. That way -- the way that seems RIGHT -- is the way of SIN.
If the world's religions really accepted the BIBLE as their authority, they would all believe exactly the same thing -- all would follow GOD'S WAYS, and the customs HE has ordained. Many who profess Christianity also profess to follow the Bible -- and the Bible only. Yet they believe the very opposite of the plain teachings of Scripture and of Christ. They follow customs of pagan origin condemned by God in the Bible! Truly this world is deceived!
Men evolve many arguments to evade the commandments of God -- because the carnal mind is hostile to God, and is not subject to His LAW! (Rom. 8:7.) When men reject the commandments of God, that they may hold to their traditions (see Mark 7:6-9) they must devise arguments to justify their rebellion. One of the arguments is that God's Commandments did not exist until the children of Israel reached Mt. Sinai.
But Abraham kept God's commandments 430 years before his descendants reached Sinai.
READ IT IN YOUR OWN BIBLE! "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, MY COMMANDMENTS, MY STATUTES, AND MY LAWS" (Gen. 26:5). GOD is speaking. He is explaining why He made the great promises to Abraham.
So ABRAHAM KEPT GOD'S SABBATH!
We read in the New Testament that to break any one of the commandments is SIN (James 2:10-11).
Some try to argue that "perhaps time became lost. Perhaps they lost count of which day was the same seventh day of every week that God rested on."
Was TIME Lost?
Adam was created and living when sunset came that sixth day of creation week -- when God rested from His work. Adam knew which was the seventh day. Jesus called Abel "righteous" (Matt. 23:35), so Abel kept the Sabbath. Enoch "walked with God," so Enoch kept the Sabbath -- and he was "translated" less than a hundred years before Noah. They knew which day was the same seventh day all through this time. Adam lived 243 years with Methuselah, and until Lamech was 56 years of age. These men knew which day was the seventh. Methuselah lived 600 years with Noah, and Lamech lived with Noah 595 years.
Noah certainly learned from them, and others, which was the same seventh day. And Noah kept it, because Noah was a preacher of RIGHTEOUSNESS (II Peter 2:5) -- and "all thy commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119: 172).
Shem was also righteous, and he lived until Abraham was 150 years old. Noah died only about 2 years before Abraham was born.
No, time was not lost down to the time of Abraham. For seven complete and irrefutable proofs that it has not been lost down to our day, now, write for our free booklet, Has Time Been Lost?
But, after the death of Jacob, and of Joseph, the children of Israel (Jacob) became slaves in Egypt. "Therefore," it is written, "they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.... And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage ..." (Ex. 1:11, 13-14).
The Egyptians observed no Sabbath. They lashed the Israelites in their slave-labor, on the Sabbaths the same as other days. So these Israelites, for some 150 to 175 years -- several generations -- were not permitted to keep the Sabbath. They had no priesthood. There was no Sabbath nor religious service. Probably there was no religious teaching -- certainly none was allowed on an organized scale.
And there was no BIBLE -- no written record of God's instruction, or of GOD'S LAW! The Bible says "The Word of the Eternal endureth forever." IF any inspired Word of God had been written prior to Moses, it would be in evidence today. The first Scriptures were written by MOSES, after the Israelites were delivered out of Egyptian slavery.
The generation of Israelites which Moses led out of Egypt had had no religious instruction or training. Probably they knew little about the Sabbath. Time could have been lost -- to them. But, if so, GOD REVEALED IT BY AMAZING MIRACLES!
NOW NOTICE! These Israelites, some three or four million in total number (600,000 men above age 20), came to the wilderness of Sin two months after leaving Egypt, and some two weeks BEFORE arriving at Mt. Sinai. Remember, this is weeks before God gave them the Ten Commandments. These people were griping and grumbling because of scarcity of food in the desert.
And here God revealed to them, by MIRACLES, which day was the Sabbath, and whether it makes any difference whether it is kept.
"Then said the Eternal unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day," -- WHY? -- "that I may prove them, WHETHER THEY WILL WALK IN MY LAW, OR NO."
Read that again! This was more than two weeks before they received the Ten Commandments -- before the Old Covenant had so much as been proposed -- before the Law of Moses. But GOD'S LAW was in force and effect. God was going to prove them, whether they would obey one of its points.
"And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily" (Ex. 16:4-5).
I will show you that God was speaking to them on a Sabbath. It is evident that the Eternal (who, in human flesh later became CHRIST) first preached to man on the first Sabbath. Adam was created on the sixth day of creation week. Evidently he was created in the late afternoon, since the creation of man was the last act of creation on that day. When the sun had set, immediately after Adam's creation, God preached to him, offering him the GIFT of eternal life (through the tree of life), and warning that the wages of sin is DEATH (Gen. 2:15-17).
And here God is again preaching to Israel, through Moses, on the Sabbath.
Read the next verses in Exodus 16. Verse 9, Moses and Aaron gathered the people. Verse 10, they all saw the glory of the Eternal. Verses 11-13, between the two evenings -- at dusk -- immediately after sunset on that Sabbath, God sent the quails for food, and next morning the manna was on the ground.
Now notice the next miracle. Verse 20: some tried to save a supply of manna over until next morning, contrary to God's command. "It bred worms, and stank."
Now verse 22: On the sixth day they gathered a double portion of manna. Verse 23: Moses explained that "Tomorrow is the rest of the HOLY sabbath unto the Eternal." And on this sixth day, they were commanded to lay up the Sabbath supply of food, which they did. And, verse 24, it did not breed worms nor decay, as on the preceding five days! Here was another MIRACLE from God, showing them which is the right seventh day!
When the next morning came -- the Sabbath, Moses said (verses 25-26) "Today is a sabbath unto the Eternal: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none."
But, DID IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?
Was it not all right to go ahead and work on the seventh day, and then rest on the first day of the week? Just like most professing Christians today, some of these Israelites thought that would be better.
NOTICE WHAT HAPPENED! The next verse -- verse 27: "... there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none"! These people thought it made no difference which day, or whether they kept it. BUT IT MADE A DIFFERENCE TO GOD! On the six weekdays GOD had HIMSELF gone to the WORK of raining down manna. But GOD HIMSELF DID NONE OF THIS WORK ON HIS SABBATH -- HOLY TO HIM! On this seventh day GOD HIMSELF rested from sending them manna!
Does It Make Any Difference?
Notice verses 28-29: "And the Eternal said unto Moses, HOW LONG REFUSE YE TO KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS AND MY LAWS? See, for that the Eternal hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place [to gather -- to work] on the seventh day"!
And after that blazing rebuke from God, the people rested on the seventh day! It certainly does make a difference to GOD! And God is the SAME today as he was yesterday, and will be forever (Heb. 13:8).
Notice, now again, these miracles by which God revealed to them which day is HIS day -- His Sabbath. Manna fell for six days -- but none on the seventh day. God Himself worked by sending it the six weekdays, but He rested on the seventh day. On the first five days of the week, the manna would decay and breed worms if any was saved over, but on the eve of the Sabbath, the night after the sixth day, it did not decay but remained fresh in perfect state of preservation -- and they had no refrigerators! On the sixth day God gave them twice as much. On the seventh day He gave them NONE.
After all those generations of slavery in Egypt, some might argue that the Israelites lost track of TIME.
But God revealed by these many miracles WHICH day is His Sabbath. God gave them blazing rebuke for not keeping His SABBATH. He revealed that the keeping holy of the Sabbath was HIS LAW, many days prior to the proposing of the Old Covenant, or the giving of the Ten Commandments in the form God spoke them at Sinai.
Thus did God reveal which day is HIS SABBATH, and also that it DOES MAKE LIFE-AND-DEATH DIFFERENCE -- for to break God's Holy Sabbath is SIN, and the penalty is eternal DEATH!
Notice, too -- verse 29: "The ETERNAL hath given you the Sabbath." Nowhere in all God's Word can you find any statement that "The ETERNAL hath given you SUNDAY." Who, then, did give the professing Christian world its SUNDAY? You can easily find the answer in HISTORY -- carnal MAN gave professing "Christianity" its Sunday -- pagans cut off from God -- men in rebellion against God! It came out of paganism! And the world follows the custom!
What is the SOURCE of your religion? Is it MAN -- and majority public opinion and custom of MAN -- or is GOD ALMIGHTY the source of what you believe and DO? Which? Is your AUTHORITY preponderant HUMAN acceptance, or is GOD your authority, and GOD'S WORD, the Holy Bible? WHICH?
Your ETERNITY hangs on your answer to that question!
Moses NOT Giver of Ten Commandments
Millions of people have been taught that MOSES gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments.
One Sunday morning in 1933, I walked into a church in southern Oregon. It was the Sunday school hour. I sat down, a stranger, in the men's Bible class. A lesson quarterly was handed me. The lesson for the day was about "Moses giving the Jews the Ten Commandments." Scanning it quickly I noticed it contained only statements of the sectarian author, or authors, of this denominational quarterly. No Bible proofs!
But immediately a startling and most peculiar thing happened. The teacher of the class stuttered around a minute or so, but was utterly unable to get started teaching his lesson. Then, suddenly turning to me, he blurted out: "Mister, I don't know who you are, but for some reason I just can't teach this class this morning -- and I know you can. Would you take my place and teach us?"
It was like a sudden bolt out of the blue. WHY was he suddenly unable to teach a class he had been teaching regularly? WHAT made him turn to me? WHY did he seem sure I could teach them, when he had never seen me before, and we had not even been introduced? I did not know -- unless it was because I was the only man in the class who had brought a Bible.
"Well," I responded, "that's a rather sudden and peculiar request to make of a perfect stranger who has never been here before. I have taken a quick glance over this quarterly. I will have to say to you that I would be unable to teach you from it, because what it says is not true. But if you men want me to teach you, from the BIBLE, the truth about who did give the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, I could do that -- but it's only fair to warn you in advance that your quarterly is totally unscriptural and in error."
All the men in the class wanted me to go ahead and teach them.
GOD -- NOT MOSES -- GAVE THE LAW
THIS, THEN, is what I taught that class: In the third month (of the new Sacred Calendar God had given the Israelites in Egypt), the vast multitude of Israelites came to Mt. Sinai.
Remember they were at least three to four million strong. There were 600,000 grown men of age 20 and above -- not counting women and children.
The Vast Assemblage
This tremendous assemblage of millions of Israelites pitched tents, forming a gigantic encampment -- a huge tent-CITY (Ex. 19:2). This, of course, consumed some little time -- though they were highly organized.
Then (verse 3), Moses went up the mountain to meet God. And there the ETERNAL gave him a proposition to lay before those millions of people. This proposition -- or agreement -- was that which we call the "Old Covenant" -- the covenant agreement for making of these people a NATION -- God's own nation on earth.
The proposition provided that GOD was to be their sole King and Ruler. Their government was to be a theocracy. God was the Law-Maker, not a congress, or parliament. God would appoint leading men to execute His orders. Moses returned to the vast tent-city.
Thereupon, "Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words" (verse 7). The people unanimously accepted God's proposition. You see, in this proposition, the people were so intent on receiving what God PROMISED in this contract -- "ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me ABOVE ALL PEOPLE" -- that is, the greatest, most prosperous, most powerful nation on earth -- that they did not consider too seriously the condition: "IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant."
And what was to come from the very VOICE OF GOD for them to obey? A great law that already existed even as the laws of gravity and inertia -- the laws of physics and chemistry -- already existed. Only this was a SPIRITUAL law! God's voice was to reveal that living, inexorable law in specific words, as a definite code.
A Harsh Law?
WHY this law? It's high time we of today realized the true answer. God Almighty not only is Creator and Ruler over His endless and vast creation of the entire universe. He is a God of LOVE.
In LOVE God created man in His own image. God LOVES human beings. God wanted the humans He was to create to be happy -- to have peace, and to enjoy life in security and interesting, vigorous, abundant living. In order to make such a happy state possible, God set in living motion the spiritual laws which form THE VERY WAY to every physical, mental and spiritual well-being -- to AVOID sorrow, suffering, anguish, insecurity, boredom, emptiness, frustration, violence and death. These spiritual LAWS provide THE WAY to happy, invigorating, vital, interesting and joyful LIVING.
God IS love -- and God knows that LOVE is heart-warming and good. So He fashioned and set in living motion a LAW OF LOVE -- a law fulfilled, obeyed, performed by LOVE.
What a wonderful, glorious GIFT to mankind! You'd think humanity would rejoice and give God ceaseless thanks and praise in deep GRATITUDE! But humanity doesn't! Good and glorious as this law is, human nature is hostile to it! It was then. It is today. Human nature is the inwardpull of vanity, selfishness, greed. Selfishly, it wants to take everything God's WAY of life would bring -- but, rebelliously, it resents traveling that road to obtain these lavish blessings.
LOVE is an outgoing concern. It is the WAY of giving, serving, sharing. Human nature wants to take.
All good things, blessing, benefits, come from GOD. He is the SOURCE of everything good humanity craves. In God's proposition to be their King and Ruler -- to make them the world's most prosperous, most blessed and powerful nation -- they were to have the supreme blessing of having the guidance, protection, help, of the All-Wise, All-Loving, All-Powerful GOD!
Of course this vast congregation of people looked only to the end-PROMISE -- to what they would GET -- and glibly agreed to the terms of God's proposition before they heard them.
Then (verse 8), Moses climbed the mountain again to report to God.
The POWER and the GLORY!
God instructed Moses: "Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow ... And be ready against the third day: for the third day the ETERNAL will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai." On that great day, in the morning, there was a tremendous display of thunder and lightning up on the mountain.
Can you picture it? I think I can -- at least partially. Years ago -- in early winter, 1934 -- I was driving around the Mt. Hood Loop in Oregon. Reaching the east of Mt. Hood, there was a spur road leading to the very base, and part way up the mountain. As I reached this spot, a frightening storm developed around the snow-capped peak just above me. A dark, foreboding cloud -- the darkest I had ever seen -- hovered over the top of the mountain. Lightning flashed, so bright I had to hide my eyes. Thunderclaps resounded louder, sharper, than any I had ever heard in Iowa or Nebraska. I drove back down, away from that storm, as fast as safety would allow. It was the most frightening, terrifying sight I had ever witnessed. It seemed to display the MAGNITUDE of the very FURY of Almighty GOD!
I thought, then, of only one thing -- this very experience when GOD thundered down from Mt. Sinai HIS GREAT SPIRITUAL LAW! Only I realized that what I saw and heard must have been tame by comparison. Yet it caused me to realize what an imagination -- defying experience occurred in the sight of all Israel!
Imagine that vast SEA of people -- millions of them -- stretching as far as eye could see! Then terrifying flashes of blinding lightning, and crashes of thunder that would almost break eardrums! And the GREAT GOD HIMSELF in the midst of this eye-blinding, ear-splitting display, preparing to THUNDER His GREAT LAW in the hearing of that vast assemblage!
No wonder the people were frightened and asked Moses to stand between them and God!
Amid this tremendous manifestation of GOD'S POWER AND GLORY, Moses "brought forth the people ... to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the ETERNAL descended upon it in fire ... and the whole mount quaked greatly" (verses 17-18).
WHAT A SETTING for the receiving of GOD'S LAW!
This was no ordinary occasion! God wanted the paramount IMPORTANCE of THIS LAW -- God's perfect WAY OF LIFE -- impressed on His people!
Think of it! A whole NATION of MILLIONS gathered together in one vast, tremendous, history-making assemblage! And the very GOD HIMSELF speaking through FIRE, and flashing lightning, and deafening peals of THUNDER, and a great supernatural VOICE that needed no microphones or loudspeakers or public-address systems to be heard by MILLIONS.
That was not a throng of 100,000 people, such as we see each year here in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl football game. This football crowd seems like something TREMENDOUS to us today. But it is a puny, tiny grease spot compared to GOD'S audience. His audience was not 100,000, not 500,000, not one million -- but three or four MILLIONS of people, in one imagination -- defying crowd!
It was not Moses' voice which delivered God's LAW. It was THE VOICE OF GOD! The whole nation of people heard the VOICE OF GOD!
"And God spake all these words, saying, I AM the ETERNAL thy God ..." and then the voice of GOD spoke to that mass of people THE WORDS OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!
The Voice of GOD -- Not Moses!
How significant! On that very first day of Pentecost (called Festival of Firstfruits, or Festival of Weeks in the Old Testament), amid this tremendous and awesome manifestation by the very forces of nature, God gave HIS LAW -- His WAY OF LIFE -- to the only ones on earth who were HIS PEOPLE. This came at the founding, and setting up, of God's NATION on earth.
Then, many centuries later, on the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D., with a tremendous and awesome manifestation, God gave HIS HOLY SPIRIT to His people -- the LOVE OF GOD to fulfill that law. And that came at the founding, and setting up, of GOD'S CHURCH on earth!
WHO gave the people the Ten Commandments?
Notice it carefully! The people did not receive the Ten Commandments from Moses, as most people seem to believe today. Moses was hearing the very first delivery of the Commandments, in this form, ALONG WITH THAT WHOLE NATION of MILLIONS of people! It was not Moses who gave this law to the people -- but "GOD spake all these words."
Next, notice Deuteronomy 5:4-22. This is later. Moses is talking to the people of Israel. And to the people Moses says: "The ETERNAL talked with YOU face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire ... saying, ..." -- then follow the words of the Ten Commandments (verses 6-21).
READ THOSE PASSAGES AGAIN! Why have you been taught that MOSES "gave the law"? WHY has this law been called the "Law of Moses"?
The Ten Commandments did not come from Moses but from GOD! The Ten Commandments were not given to the people by Moses, but by GOD to all the nation, assembled. Moses says: "The ETERNAL talked with YOU face to face" -- with the vast assembly of the whole PEOPLE!
Moses explains (verse 5), that because the people were frightened, in order to reassure them, he stood in front of them -- but HE WAS WITH THEM, AS MERELY ONE OF THAT VAST ASSEMBLY.
But God spoke to ALL THE PEOPLE ASSEMBLED, not only to Moses!
Notice further -- after completing, in verse 21, the rewriting of the words of the Ten Commandments which GOD spoke, Moses continues, verse 22, to say to the people of Israel: "These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me."
Read that again carefully! That is not what you probably have been told. Read it in your own Bible!
These words of the Ten Commandments the LORD spoke. To whom? "Unto ALL YOUR ASSEMBLY. The people did NOT receive the Ten Commandments from Moses, but direct from the very voice of GOD, which they all heard!
"And He added no more." That was a COMPLETE LAW! It is a SPIRITUAL LAW. It is COMPLETE. He added no more -- to THAT LAW! Any other laws are different, separate laws -- NO PART OF THAT SPIRITUAL LAW! It is complete in itself!
And if you think this law was for "Jews only," you couldn't be more wrong! Have you not read, in Acts 7:38, that those Israelites "received the lively oracles to give unto US" -- for US who, under the NEW Testament, are Christians?
All other nations had turned from God and HIS WAYS. Now God was choosing a downtrodden SLAVE people as His nation -- the ONLY people on earth who had not cut themselves completely off from God.
This was the BASIS upon which the Old Covenant was made -- but what is the basis of the NEW Covenant? Read it, in Hebrews 8:10: "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a GOD, and they shall be to me a people."
It will be made eminently plain, in this booklet, that this was 1) no temporary law to end at the cross; and 2) no special law for one nation only, and forbidden to other nations. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
The Sabbath Command
Observe more closely, now, the Sabbath command.
"REMEMBER the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Ex. 20:8). God said REMEMBER this day! So men have insisted on forgetting -- or trying to change it to a different day!
Christ said, in the sermon on the mount: "THINK NOT that I am come to destroy the law," so professing Christians think He did come to destroy it!
Christ said, in the same sermon on the mount: "Swear not," so professing Christians universally hold up their right hands and swear.
Christ said: "LOVE your enemies," so professing Christians -- pretending to follow Him, HATE their enemies and go to war to kill them.
Christ said: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," so, professing Christians say, "It's impossible to keep God's Law, let alone to be perfect. Christ kept it in our stead, and then abolished it."
Christ commands "DO!" -- and His professed followers DON'T!
Christ commands "DON'T! and His professed followers DO!
Christ commanded: "REMEMBER the Sabbath day! So pretending followers FORGET it!
But notice the rest of that same sentence -- "to KEEP it HOLY." The word "keep" means to preserve in the same condition. You can't KEEP ice water hot -- you can only keep HOT water hot. You can't keep an unholy day holy. The only weekly day God ever made holy is His Sabbath. It is utterly impossible to keep Sunday or Friday HOLY -- because God never made them holy, and man has no power to make anything holy. These are not arguments -- they are FACTS that will judge you in God's JUDGMENT!
Now notice verses 9 and 10 (Ex. 20): "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 ...."
Not just any seventh day! Not "one day in seven" -- Christ said "the seventh day!" In Matthew 28:1 -- after the crucifixion and resurrection -- after whatever was "nailed to the cross" had been nailed -- you will find it is the seventh day of the week -- the day before the first day of the week!
Notice further! Christ did not say, "the sabbath of the JEWISH PEOPLE. He said, distinctly, the sabbath of THE LORD THY GOD!" If it is the LORD'S Sabbath -- the Sabbath OF THE LORD -- then the Sabbath is, truly, "the LORD'S DAY."
Right here, let's put an end to the rebellious ARGUMENTS about Sunday being the "Lord's Day." I will make to any reader this challenge: Produce any passage in the Bible identifying Sunday -- or the first day of the week -- as "the Lord's Day," and I will proclaim the truth of that passage to the millions of people who hear The WORLD TOMORROW program on the air in every inhabited continent on earth, and publish it prominently in The PLAIN TRUTH, which now has a reading audience of about seven million people around the world.
God has placed before me one of the most vast audiences in the world today. If you believe Sunday is "the Lord's Day" and can prove it by the Scripture, here is your opportunity to get it before many millions of people! But before anyone sends in Revelation 1:10, let me call to your attention the fact that 1) This verse is not referring to any day of the week, but to the general period of prophecy mentioned in more than 30 prophecies, as "the day of the Lord." In this present time we are in the day of man. The "day of the Lord" is the era of time when God is going to intervene directly and supernaturally in world affairs, and begin the take-over of the governments of all nations. And, 2) This verse and its context make no reference to any day of the week, nor do they in any manner mention Sunday or "the first day of the week." There is absolutely nothing in this verse or context associating it with a weekly day of worship, or changing the day to Sunday. Those who have associated it with Sunday have done so without Scriptural authority, and have thus deceived millions of people.
The "Lord's Day" is the day the LORD is lord of -- the day that is HIS day -- and in Mark 2:28 Jesus Christ said He is Lord of the Sabbath -- not of Sunday.
In this present verse -- Exodus 20:10 -- He said to all the people assembled, "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God." Not the Sabbath "of the Jewish people" -- but "of the LORD thy God."
Sabbath Not MY Day
Let me illustrate this verse further. Some 30 years ago, when I was holding night services in the Chamber of Commerce Auditorium, in downtown Seattle, a woman shaking hands with me at the entrance after the service paused to say:
"Mr. Armstrong, I have been told that Saturday is your day. I do hope that is not true!"
"It certainly is not true," I replied. "Sunday is my day."
"Oh, I'm so glad!" she exclaimed.
"But wait a minute," I said quickly. "I see you don't understand. Sunday is my day -- and Monday, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday -- those are all my days -- but Friday sunset until Saturday sunset is not MY day -- THAT IS GOD'S DAY -- that is THE LORD'S day!"
Read the wording of Christ in the Commandment again: "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work" -- those are OUR days, for OUR work -- "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God" -- the SEVENTH DAY is the LORD'S DAY. This very Commandment, in the law which defines sin, plainly says so!
In I John 3:4 you read the BIBLE definition of what constitutes SIN. "Sin is the transgression of the law." In Romans 7:7 you read which law it is SIN to disobey -- the law that says, "Thou shalt not covet" -- quoted from this very law -- Exodus 20:17. In James 2:9-11 you will read which law defines sin. It is a law subdivided into "Points" (verse 10). One of its "Points" is "Do not commit adultery," quoted from this very law (Ex. 20:14), and another of its ten "Points" is "Do not kill," also quoted from this same law (Ex. 20:13).
In James 2:10 you read that if you break any one of these 10 points you are GUILTY of SIN. The same law also says: "REMEMBER the sabbath day, to keep it holy ... the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy GOD." Whoever disobeys that Command commits SIN!
This is probably far from what you have believed or been taught. But if any wish to argue, I should suggest they save their arguments for the Judgment, and then try to argue face to face with their Saviour and their Maker, Jesus Christ!
Called Sabbath From Creation
Before leaving Exodus 20, notice one more important fact.
In verse 11 you will read, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth ... and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Now when did the LORD bless and hallow this seventh day? You will read, as explained before, in Genesis 2:3, that He did this blessing and hallowing on that seventh day of original CREATION WEEK. And this Sabbath Command says plainly, "The LORD blessed the sabbath day." He did this blessing and hallowing the very day after the creation of Adam and Eve. And what He then blessed and hallowed, says Exodus 20:11, was THE SABBATH DAY. It was God's Sabbath day from that very original creation week. THAT is when the LORD made the Sabbath.
Many have used the deceptive argument that God never MADE the Sabbath until He gave the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. But this says plainly that the seventh day of creation week, which the LORD then blessed and hallowed was, then, the SABBATH DAY. Further, as emphatically proved above, the Sabbath existed, and was God's Holy Day before the children of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai -- as shown in Exodus 16.
So, the LORD Jesus Christ, as the "Logos" (John 1:1 -- Greek), or the "YHVH" (Hebrew) of Genesis 2, who MADE everything that was made, did make the Sabbath, as Jesus plainly stated in Mark 2:27. It is one of the things he MADE -- and it was MADE on the seventh day of the very first week -- creation week. The Sabbath has existed FROM CREATION, and, more than two millenniums later, this same LORD, the Person of the Godhead who became Jesus Christ, COMMANDED His people to keep it holy! And, about another two thousand years after that, He said He is LORD of that day!
A SPECIAL ETERNAL COVENANT
WHAT GOD commanded to REMEMBER, rebellious men will resort to every argument of human reason to justify forgetting!
Consequently, many have used the argument, without any Scriptural authority of course, that the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross. Of course they never stop to realize that, if there is no law, there is no transgression -- as Paul plainly states in Romans 4:15 -- and no one has sinned since the cross -- and therefore we should not need a Saviour!
Yet, even if this perverted and deceptive argument were true -- if God had abolished all ten of His commandments at the cross, and then brought back nine of them in the New Testament, in order to get rid of the Sabbath -- as many do teach -- still THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE!
For God made of the Sabbath a special and separate COVENANT, binding forever!
You will remember that to the Ten Commandment Law, God added no more (Deut. 5:22). Any other law, or Covenant, coming later, is NO PART OF IT, but a separate law or Covenant. Paul makes this plain: "Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto" (Gal. 3:15).
The Ten Commandment Law is complete -- God added no more. Also, the Old Covenant was confirmed, as described in Exodus 24:4-8. It cannot be added to.
Later, after both the Ten Commandments and the Old Covenant had been made complete, ratified, put in force and effect, God made ANOTHER TOTALLY SEPARATE and eternally binding covenant with His people.
WHY the Sabbath?
God never does anything in vain -- that is, to no good and useful purpose. When God does anything, or makes anything, there is a reason -- an important PURPOSE.
God created MAN and put him here on earth. But mankind has lost knowledge of His PURPOSE. God had an important reason. You were put here for a very important PURPOSE.
God, through "The Word" (John 1:1-3) who became Jesus Christ, made the Sabbath. He made it for man.
What PURPOSE does it serve? Mankind has lost knowledge of that important purpose, too! Jesus Christ (Mark 2:27-28) said it was made for man, rather than man for the Sabbath. But at that time He merely told for whom He had made it -- not WHY -- not for what PURPOSE, except to serve and benefit man.
That is why this special, separate SABBATH COVENANT is important. For it reveals THE REASON -- the basic purpose. Therefore it becomes important to study it carefully.
It is found in Exodus 31:12-17:
The Special Sabbath COVENANT
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep ...." Notice, once again, which day is "the LORD'S Day." The Eternal calls the Sabbaths "my sabbaths." The Sabbaths are HIS -- they do not belong to us -- they are not our days, but the LORD'S. THEY ARE NOT "the Jewish Sabbaths" or "the Gentile Sabbaths." The Sabbath is a space of TIME. That time, whenever it arrives, is not ours, but GOD'S. If we appropriate it for ourselves -- for our own use, whether work, pleasure, or what, we are STEALING THAT TIME FROM GOD!
Notice again! He said: "My Sabbaths ye shall keep." In Exodus 20:8 we saw that He commanded to "keep it HOLY" -- God made it HOLY TIME, and commanded us to keep it holy -- NOT TO PROFANE WHAT IS HOLY TO GOD.
Now study this special covenant a little further:
"... 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" (Ex. 31:13).
What tremendous meaning is packed in that portion of this sentence! Yet most people read right past it, failing to get the vital TRUTH it contains!
Notice! Here is the purpose of the Sabbath. "... for it is a SIGN ...." What is a sign?
You walk down a main street in the business section of a city. Everywhere you see signs identifying stores, offices, factories. If you want to know what a sign is, just turn to the word in the "yellow pages" -- the classified business listings of your telephone directory. You will find such names as "Jones Neon Sign Company," or "Smith Brothers Signs." If you call one of them on the telephone and ask, "What do you make, or sell?" he will tell you that they make signs for business firms, institutions, or professional individuals to hang out in front of their place of business. The sign identifies whose establishment, institution, or office is inside.
A sign is a badge, symbol, or token of IDENTITY. You see the sign, "A. B. Brown, Furniture and Furnishings." The sign identifies the owner. It tells you what kind of business he owns.
Webster's dictionary defines a sign thus: "A publicly displayed notice on a building, office, etc., to advertise the business there transacted, or the name of the person or firm conducting it. Something indicating the existence of a thing; a token." And, of course, there are the special technical meanings in mathematics, medicine, astronomy.
The word which Moses wrote, in the Hebrew language, which is translated "sign" is 'owth, and the Hebrew-English dictionary defines it as "a signal, as a flag, beacon, monument, evidence, etc. -- mark, miracle, sign, token." A flag identifies a nation. A beacon is a signal to announce the existence of something warned about. A token is a visible sign; something that serves as an identifying signal to make something known, as, a white flag is a token of surrender.
God commanded His people to keep His Sabbath as a sign. It is a sign between God's people and God -- "... a sign between me and you," the Commandment says. It is a badge or token of IDENTITY. It advertises, or announces, or proclaims certain identifying knowledge. But WHAT KNOWLEDGE? God answers: "... that ye may KNOW that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you."
WHO Is God?
NOTE THOSE WORDS CAREFULLY!! It is the sign that IDENTIFIES to them who is their GOD! It is the sign by which we may KNOW that He is the LORD!! It IDENTIFIES GOD!
BUT DOESN'T EVERYBODY KNOW WHO GOD IS?
ABSOLUTELY NO! This whole world is deceived -- so says your Bible (Rev. 12:9).
This world has a god -- a false god -- Satan the devil! He pretends to be "an angel of light" (II Cor. 11:14). He has his religious organizations. Not all are Buddhists, Shintoists, Taoists, Confucianists.
Many have appropriated the very name "Christian," whose ministers, says your Bible, actually are Satan's ministers: "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness" (II Cor. 11:14-15).
But do they actually call themselves the ministers of CHRIST? Read the verse just before the two just quoted -- verse 13: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." Yes, Satan is the great counterfeiter.
He palms himself off as GOD. He is called, in your Bible, the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). He palms off his ministers as the ministers of CHRIST -- accusing the true ministers of Christ of being "false apostles" to divert suspicion from themselves!
Does this world's "Christianity" really know the TRUE GOD? It is deceived into believing it does, and a deceived world may be sincere in that false belief.
But the True GOD is the one whom we obey.
This world is not taught to OBEY GOD! Its false "Christianity" teaches that God's Law is "done away." It actually puts human conscience, actuated by Satan's false teaching, in place of God's Law! It does not teach, as did Christ, that we must actually live by every word of GOD -- of the BIBLE!
It OBEYS Satan by sinning!
The PURPOSE of the Sabbath
God gave man His Sabbath, for THE PURPOSE of keeping mankind in the true knowledge and true worship of the True GOD.
But HOW does the Sabbath IDENTIFY God -- how does it point to the True God, rather than the false? Does not Sunday do just as well?
Notice verse 17 of this special Sabbath covenant: "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (Ex. 31:17).
It was on the seventh day of that creation week that He rested from the work of creation. Not Sunday, the first day of the week. Only the seventh day of the week points back to CREATION.
How does that identify who GOD is?
If you believe anyone else or anything else is God, I will prove that my God is the True God, because whatever else you may think is God was made or created by the True GOD. He who created and made everything else is GREATER than whatever He made -- superior to anything else that could be called God.
CREATION is the PROOF of God -- of His existence. It -- the act of creating -- identifies Him!
So God took the most enduring, lasting imperishable thing man can know -- a recurring space of TIME -- the only day that is a memorial of THE ACT OF CREATING. He took the only day which points, constantly, every seventh day of the week, to the existence of the Almighty, ALL-POWERFUL, ALL-RULING GOD -- the Creator!
And God set that particular day apart from others as HIS day -- God made that particular day sacred and holy to HIM -- designating it as the very day on which HE commands His people to assemble for WORSHIP -- the day man is commanded to REST from his own work and physical pleasure -- and to be refreshed by assembling with other obedient worshippers in spiritual fellowship!
No OTHER DAY is a memorial and reminder of CREATION. True, Satan has deceived a deluded world into supposing Christ's resurrection occurred on Sunday morning at sunrise -- the very time which has always been the time of pagan SUN-worship. BUT THIS IS NOT TRUE! Write for our free booklet The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday. You will be amazed! Also write for our special free booklet "The Plain Truth About Easter." It is a shocking eye-opener -- and it is the TRUTH you can verify and prove at your public library.
The resurrection of Christ actually occurred on the Sabbath, not on Sunday! And, further, nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to celebrate the day of Christ's resurrection! That is a pagan custom of MEN, on apostate MAN'S authority alone -- contrary to the commands of GOD!
So here we find a GREAT PURPOSE in the Sabbath. It identifies God! The very day which GOD set aside for assembly and worship points as a memorial to WHOM we are to worship -- the CREATOR-RULER of all that is!
But that is not all!
The Sabbath also was given as a SIGN which identifies WHO are the PEOPLE of God and who are NOT!
Notice! Not only does this special covenant say, "... that ye may know that I am the LORD ..." but read the remainder of that sentence: "... that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify YOU" (Ex. 31:13).
Notice the tremendous MEANING of that!
What does the word "sanctify" mean? It means "to set apart for holy use or purpose." On the seventh day of the very creation week, the ETERNAL sanctified -- that is, He SET APART for HOLY use -- the Sabbath day. But now we see that God says it is a sign that He, the ETERNAL, also sanctifies -- SETS APART FROM OTHER PEOPLE AS HIS, FOR HIS HOLY PURPOSE -- those who are HIS PEOPLE.
In Old Testament times HIS PEOPLE were the people of the Congregation of ISRAEL. In New Testament times, HIS PEOPLE are those of GOD's OWN CHURCH -- the truly converted, Spirit-begotten CHRISTIANS!
But HOW does the Sabbath set them apart -- separate them -- from those who are not God's own true people? Well, if you have begun to keep God's Sabbath holy, as He commands, you have found the answer already, by actual experience. If you haven't, just start keeping God's Sabbath holy as He commands you -- and you'll soon learn that you are automatically set apart from all other people! Yes, sir!
The Sabbath is God's SIGN, which identifies not only GOD as CREATOR-RULER but it also identifies those who are truly HIS.
Definition of God
Let me give you still another definition of GOD. Although the only Wise and True God is the Great CREATOR-RULER of the universe, there are many false or counterfeit gods. Satan palms himself off to the deceived as God -- and indeed the Bible plainly calls him the god of this world. Idols were worshipped as gods -- and still are, today, even in so-called "Christian" churches. Whoever, or whatever you serve and obey is your god!
The very word LORD means ruler, master, boss -- the one you obey! Jesus exclaimed: "And why call ye me, LORD, LORD, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46.) If they did not OBEY Him, then He was not their Lord! So WHY did they call Him LORD, when He was not their Lord?
Then again, Jesus said: "Not every one that saith unto me, LORD, LORD, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). Only they who OBEY God can be His children, and enter His Kingdom! God is the one you OBEY!
Notice again: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to OBEY, his servants ye are to whom ye OBEY? (Rom. 6:16.)
Regarding IDOLS as false and counterfeit gods, the Second Commandment says: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" -- that is, OBEY them -- "for I the ETERNAL thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity [disobedience] of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, AND KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS (EX. 20:5-6).
How SIGNIFICANT! THE SABBATH COMMAND IS THE ONLY one of the ten which is a SIGN identifying WHO are the real and true Christians today! It is the real TEST Command! The people of the world are willing to acknowledge the other nine Commandments -- but the Sabbath Command is the one they positively REBEL against! It is THE ONE that is the crucial test of obedience!
It IDENTIFIES those who have surrendered their wills to God -- who OBEY God, regardless of persecution or cost!
Oh, it SETS YOU APART, all right!
What a SIGN! It identifies the TRUE God on the very DAY He set apart for assembly and worship. It identifies the REAL people of God!
God's SIGN is one you accept voluntarily -- of your own volition, or not at all. But the "Beast" (symbol of the coming resurrected, so-called "Holy" Roman Empire in Europe) has a MARK, which is soon going to be BRANDED ON, by physical FORCE! And it has something to do with "buying or selling" -- trading -- business -- earning a living -- having a job! (Rev. 13:16-17.) Yes, this is the TEST COMMAND -- the one on which YOUR VERY SALVATION and ETERNITY DEPENDS!
But Is It a COVENANT?
I have said that God made the Sabbath a SEPARATE, ETERNAL, and PERPETUAL COVENANT, entirely separate and apart from what we term "the Old Covenant" made at Mt. Sinai.
How, then, is it a COVENANT?
Let's define the word "covenant." Webster defines a covenant as: "An agreement between persons or parties. A solemn compact." A covenant is a contract, or agreement, by which one party promises certain rewards or payments, in return for certain stipulated performance by the other party.
The Old Covenant between God and the children of Israel made at Mt. Sinai imposed upon the people certain terms and conditions to be performed: the obedience to the Ten Commandments. It promised the reward of making Israel a nation "ABOVE all people." The PROMISES were purely national, and material, for this world. The NEW Covenant is founded on BETTER PROMISES (Heb. 8:6), which consist of "ETERNAL inheritance (Heb. 9:15).
Once a covenant is signed, sealed, or ratified -- confirmed -- it cannot be ADDED TO (Gal. 3:15). Anything appearing beneath the signature is not legally any part of the covenant. You read of the actual making of the Old Covenant, and sealing it with blood, in Exodus 24:6-8. And notice (verse 8), it concludes with the words "the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you." It was then already made -- completed.
We do not come to the making of this special eternal Sabbath covenant until seven chapters later. It is, therefore, NO PART OF the Old Covenant!
But, again, is it a COVENANT?
The wording in your Bible says it is! Notice, Exodus 31:16: "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual COVENANT."
"Perpetual" means continuous, and unbroken. But was it to last FOREVER? Read the following verse: "It is a SIGN between me and the children of Israel FOREVER."
Now what is the condition to be performed? The keeping holy of the Sabbath! "It is HOLY unto you," says God (verse 14). And what is the REWARD PROMISED upon performance of the condition? It is not only a SIGN, but also a compact or COVENANT "between me and you," says God, "that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you."
There it is! God promises TO SANCTIFY THEM -- He will set them apart as HOLY -- as HIS HOLY PEOPLE! Can you ask for a BIGGER promise?
Yes, it is a COVENANT! It is a separate, totally different covenant. Even if one tries to argue that the Old Covenant is "abolished" and that therefore the Ten Commandments are abolished, he cannot argue that this covenant was to last only until the cross. This covenant is binding "throughout your generations" (verse 13); "a perpetual covenant" (verse 16), and "forever" (verse 17).
Sign for Israel ONLY?
"Yes," says the rebellious one, who would argue his way out of obedience, "but it is between God and the children of ISRAEL. It is throughout ISRAEL's generations; it is between God and the Israelites forever."
Oh -- then you admit it is binding FOREVER on ISRAELITES -- and throughout their generations? There are TWO answers to that argument that will condemn you, if you so argue, into the LAKE OF FIRE!
1) No one can deny that this absolutely BINDS the people of Israel to keep the Sabbath FOREVER, and throughout their generations perpetually. Their generations are still going on. Therefore IT IS BINDING ON THEM TODAY.
Also you have to admit that salvation and Christianity are OPEN TO JEWS AND ALL ISRAELITES. The Gospel is the power of God UNTO SALVATION to every one that believeth; TO THE JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16).
So, then, the Jew can be a converted CHRISTIAN! Indeed, the Church at the beginning was nearly altogether Jewish! So the JEW, even though a Christian, in God's CHURCH, is BOUND to keep God's Sabbath as a perpetual covenant, throughout his generations, FOREVER!
Now, does God have TWO KINDS of Christians? Is it SIN for a Jewish Christian to break the Sabbath, and sin for all others to KEEP IT? Must Jewish Christians assemble on the Sabbath, and those of other nationalities on Sunday? Didn't Jesus say a house divided would fall?
Are there TWO KINDS of Christians? Read Galatians 3:28-29: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. And if ye [ye Gentiles] be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
So, since the Sabbath is BINDING TODAY on the Jewish part of God's Church, and there is no difference -- we are all ONE in Christ -- it is also binding on Gentiles!
We Are Israel
2) But there is another answer to this argument: The peoples of the United States, the British Commonwealth nations, and the nations of Northwestern Europe are, in fact, the peoples of the TEN TRIBES of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL. The Jewish people are the House of JUDAH.
Now, in the light of this Sabbath truth, MORE THAN EVER, it is important that you read, study, and check the PROOF of this identity in our free book, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy. It is a staggering revelation! And it is TRUE! Yes, the Sabbath is BINDING ON US TODAY!
But IF the Sabbath is God's SIGN to identify His people Israel, THEN WHY DON'T OUR NATIONS KEEP IT TODAY?
The answer to that question is the answer to another: WHY are the Ten Tribes of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL called "The LOST TEN TRIBES"? AND WHY do our nations think they are Gentiles? WHY don't they KNOW their true identity?
Ah, NOW we have a staggering, startling, surprising truth to reveal!
WHY Ten Tribes Became LOST!
Here's a dumbfounding TRUTH, far stranger than fiction!
Here are FACTS, hidden for centuries, more intriguing than a mystery novel! WHY is the Sabbath called, disrespectfully, sneeringly, "the Jewish Sabbath"? WHY does the world think all Israelites are Jews, and that the Jews are ALL of the Israelites?
Here's an astonishing surprise to those who have believed that! The Jewish people are only a small minority of the Israelites, believe it or not! The very first place in all the Bible where you'll find the name "Jew" or "Jews" is in II Kings 16:5-6 -- and believe it or not, there you'll find the Kingdom of ISRAEL, allied with Syria in a war against the JEWS.
Yes, there it is! ISRAEL at war against the JEWS!
Strange as it may seem, the children of Israel had become divided. They had become TWO DIFFERENT NATIONS! One was the Kingdom of ISRAEL. Its capital was not Jerusalem, but Samaria. The other was the Kingdom of JUDAH. Judah's capital was at Jerusalem. Now hear the strange story!
After the death of King Solomon, the people of the nation Israel rebelled against the high tax rate. The wise old Solomon lived in a state of luxury and splendor perhaps never equaled before or since. To pay for his great enterprises he simply kept raising the taxes.
The people demanded tax reform of King Rehoboam, son of Solomon. But he was young. He had young ideas. He surrounded himself with a "brain trust" or "whiz-kids." They, too, had young ideas. They counseled, "Tell the people you'll show them who's their master -- tax them even higher than your father did." Rehoboam scorned the counsel of older, wiser heads. To him they were the reactionaries of his day.
The PEOPLE staged a gigantic mass rebellion. They rejected Rehoboam, and set up Jeroboam, who had been promoted to high position by King Solomon, as their king.
But the tribe of Judah dissented. Rehoboam was of their tribe, and they wanted to keep him as their king. So the tribe of Judah seceded from the nation ISRAEL. They formed a separate kingdom, called the Kingdom of JUDAH. The tribe of Benjamin went with them. They became known as the JEWS -- NICKNAME FOR JUDAH.
Israel Lost Sign
Nowhere in all the Bible are any of the ten-tribed nation Israel called Jews. That name applies only to the Kingdom of JUDAH. Jews are Israelites, truly -- but only part of the Israelites are Jews!
Almost immediately on being made a king, Jeroboam became afraid that, when his people journeyed to Jerusalem to attend the annual Festivals, they would see and desire Rehoboam again for their king. He took swift action to protect his own position.
The tribe of Levi composed the priesthood. They were the leaders -- the best-educated. The Levites had enjoyed incomes two or three times larger than the other tribes -- living off the tithes. With one swift stroke, Jeroboam demoted the Levites, set the lowest and most ignorant of the people to be the priests. He could control them! Thus he would control the religion, as Gentile kings had always done. Thereupon many, if not most of the Levites went back into the Kingdom of JUDAH -- became known as JEWS.
So immediately Jeroboam set up two great idols for his people to worship. He ordered the fall Festivals (including the annual Sabbaths) to be observed in the EIGHTH month, at a place in the NORTH of HIS choosing -- instead of in the seventh month, and at Jerusalem as GOD ordered (I Kings 12:28-32). Through the rule of 19 kings and nine successive dynasties, the ten-tribed house of ISRAEL continued in the basic twin sins of Jeroboam -- idolatry and Sabbath-breaking. Several of the kings added other evil and sinful practices.
Israel Made Slaves
But in 721-718 B. C., God caused the House of ISRAEL to be invaded and conquered by the Kingdom of Assyria. These Israelites were removed from their farms and their cities, and taken to Assyria on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea AS SLAVES. But the HOUSE OF JUDAH -- the Jews -- a separate and different nation, was not invaded until 604 B.C.
Two or three generations after the captivity of Israel, however, the Chaldeans rose to WORLD POWER, forming the first WORLD-ruling Empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldeans (Babylon) invaded JUDAH (604-585 B. C.).
The Assyrians later left their land, north of Babylon, and migrated northwest -- through the lands that are now Georgia, the Ukraine, Poland, and into the land that is called GERMANY today. Today the descendants of those Assyrians are known to us as the GERMAN people.
The people of ten-tribed Israel also migrated north-west. Though the Assyrians had taken Israel into captivity, the Israelites did not remain as slaves of the Assyrians in Europe. They continued on a little further -- into Western Europe, the Scandinavian peninsula, and the British Isles!
NOW WHY did they come to be known as the "LOST Ten Tribes"?
THEY HAD LOST THEIR NATIONAL IDENTIFYING SIGN!
All of Israel's kings followed the practice of Sabbath breaking, as well as idolatry! As long as they remained in the LAND of Israel, and called themselves "The KINGDOM OF ISRAEL" their identity was known. But in Assyria they were no longer a nation with their own government and their own king. They were mere SLAVES. They took up with the language of the Assyrians as succeeding generations grew up. They LOST the Hebrew language. They lost all national identity.
After several generations, the tribe of Joseph divided into the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh which today are the British and American people.
The tribe of Reuben settled in the country that is France today. They had lost their national identity. But the French have the very characteristics of their ancestor, Reuben. Today, through our free booklet in the French language revealing this ancestry and national identity, thousands of French people are beginning to learn their own true identity.
The TEN TRIBES, known as the House of ISRAEL, lost their identifying tag -- God's Sabbath. THAT IS WHY THEY LOST THEIR NATIONAL IDENTITY!
WHY Jewish People Are Recognized
But JUDAH kept the Sabbath! They did not continue long to keep it HOLY, or to keep it God's way -- but they did maintain it, to this day, as the day of rest, they acknowledge and observe.
RESULT? All the world looks on them as THE CHOSEN PEOPLE OF GOD! The world thinks they are ISRAEL -- not merely Judah!
The identity of the Jewish people has NOT been lost! And, since their identity as racial descendants from ancient Israel is KNOWN -- and that of the far more numerous LOST TEN TRIBES IS NOT KNOWN -- THE WORLD SUPPOSES THAT THE JEWS ARE ISRAEL, instead of JUDAH.
And so, here again, the WHOLE WORLD IS DECEIVED, even as to the true identity to who really are the chosen birthright people of God!
The reader, if he has not already carefully read it, should write immediately for our free booklet, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy. It explains the dumbfounding, astonishing TRUTH that the people of the United States, the British, the peoples of Northwestern Europe, are, in actual fact, those very "Lost" Ten Tribes of the nation ISRAEL -- and not by birth Gentiles at all!
Yes, the Sabbath, GOD'S day -- the true LORD'S DAY -- is, after all, the day FOR OUR PEOPLE doubly -- first, because it is for ALL people of GOD, EVEN GENTILE BORN PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW CHRIST'S; SECONDLY, BECAUSE RACIALLY, EVEN BY FLESH BIRTH, IT IS GOD'S DAY WHICH HE GAVE OUR OWN FOREFATHERS, AND COMMANDED TO KEEP HOLY FOREVER!
WHICH DAY FOR GENTILE CHRISTIANS?
"BUT LOOK!" -- one might still argue -- "wasn't that Sabbath Covenant for Israel only? Does it not EXCLUDE Gentiles? Was not its purpose to identify Israelites as separate and distinct from Gentiles?"
The answer is absolutely NO!
Let's UNDERSTAND! Let's get this straight!
God gave the Sabbath COVENANT to identify first the TRUE GOD, as distinct and separate from false gods, and second to identify those who are HIS PEOPLE as separate and distinct from those who are NOT GOD'S PEOPLE!
It was not given to distinguish between two kinds of GOD'S PEOPLE -- that is, for example, two kinds of CHRISTIANS, such as those who were Jewish-born from those who were Gentile-born. GOD DOES NOT HAVE TWO KINDS OF CHRISTIANS -- whether Jew or Gentile-born, whether male or female, we Christians are all ONE in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).
In Old Testament days, the ONLY people on earth who were GOD'S people were the Israelites! And the Sabbath was the SIGN identifying them as GOD'S people.
Have you not read, in Hosea, how God pictured the HOUSE OF ISRAEL (the TEN-Tribed Kingdom) as "Lo-ammi," meaning "NOT MY PEOPLE"? (Hosea 1:9.) This was because they had rejected GOD's SABBATH, and followed King Jeroboam's custom of observing the first day of the week (today called SUNDAY) as their "sabbath."
"Therefore," said God to this idolatrous Sabbath-rejecting house, "behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths" (Hosea 2:6). That is, the House of Israel shall lose her way -- as she migrates from Assyrian captivity, to the north-west into Europe, to the Atlantic coastlands, Scandinavia, and Britain -- she shall lose her identity -- BECOME LOST -- the LOST Ten Tribes!
Read these first two chapters of Hosea -- a prophecy for the Ten-Tribed HOUSE OF ISRAEL. It portrays them as having lost all knowledge of WHO their True God is!
Prophecy for Now
Note it! "For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal" (verse 8).
That pictures Britain and America TODAY! God has given us the unprecedented national WEALTH He unconditionally promised Abraham -- not because of our SINS, but because of Abraham's OBEDIENCE! But how have we used this wealth? In BAAL-worship -- the DAY of Baal the sun-god, called SUNDAY -- in Baal's Christmas, Easter, and other holidays -- in the PAGANIZED so-called Christianity," much of which is the very antithesis of the true religion of JESUS CHRIST!
So, notice, verse 9, what God is going to DO about it!
"Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof ..." -- that is, the FAMINE already now beginning in its early years -- prophesied by Joel, Ezekiel, by Christ, and in Revelation! Yes, this is a prophecy for NOW! FOR OUR PEOPLE! It is even NOW, as you read, beginning!
Continue! Notice what else God is NOW about to do to US: "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, HER feast days" -- those of Baal -- Christmas, New Year, Easter, Lenten season, Halloween! They are NOT GOD'S days! Continue: "her new moons and her sabbaths ..." (NOT GOD's, but those of Baalism, which our people call THEIR Sabbaths -- the pagan SUNDAY!) (verse 11).
God continues: "And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals ... when she forgot me, says the Eternal" (verse 13, Revised Standard Version).
For over thirty-eight years, on The WORLD TOMORROW program, and in The PLAIN TRUTH magazine, I have been shouting God's prophecies to our people -- that we are going to have such total DROUGHT and disease epidemics that it will take one third of our people! And, unless our people as a nation wake up and REPENT of these SINS, we shall then be INVADED, and once more TAKEN CAPTIVE AS SLAVES. You may scoff. You may ignore. But NOT FOR LONG! In the near future it will STRIKE! You won't scoff then!
But what is the END of this particular prophecy of Hosea?
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel], and bring her into the wilderness" -- in slavery and captivity -- "and speak unto her heart ... And it shall be at that day" -- the time of the second coming of CHRIST! -- "saith the Eternal, that thou shalt call me Ishi [Hebrew meaning MY HUSBAND]; and shalt call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in that day will I make a covenant for them" -- THE NEW COVENANT! "... and I will say to them which were NOT MY PEOPLE ["LOST" TEN TRIBES], Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my GOD" (Hosea 2:14-23).
Probably you never understood the prophecy of Hosea before! It cannot be really understood unless you first understand the SABBATH COVENANT of Exodus 31:12-17!
Now back to the original question of this chapter.
Does not this special Sabbath COVENANT exclude Gentiles? Was its purpose to identify ISRAEL as separate and distinct from GENTILES?
When ISRAEL rejected this identifying SIGN, it most assuredly did not identify them -- period! It did not distinguish them from Gentiles -- they came to believe that they were Gentiles. The Gentile people of the world CALLED THEM GENTILES. The Jewish people called them Gentiles!
The Jewish people continued to recognize the Sabbath -- and the whole world called them "the CHOSEN PEOPLE"!
A LIGHT to the Gentiles!
Then WHY did God make this special everlasting Sabbath Covenant with ISRAEL -- and not with Gentile nations?
Simply because all Gentile nations had cut themselves off, totally, from God. All had gone into idolatry. None knew the true God.
Simply because God had taken a down-trodden slave people -- yet a people of superior heredity through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph -- who were not inoculated with ANY religion, and made them HIS nation.
Simply because God then gave this called-out people that was HIS nation HIS RIGHT WAYS -- and WHY?
TO BE A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES!
God did it to SHOW OTHER NATIONS what BLESSINGS would follow obedience to HIS LAWS! To set an example to other nations!
God gave HIS RIGHT WAYS -- and all HIS PROMISES -- including salvation through Christ -- to ISRAEL, so as to make these ways and blessings known and available to the Gentiles!
All other nations had lost knowledge of God -- LOST KNOWLEDGE OF HIS IDENTITY. Their ancestors had once known who God was. But so many fictitious and imaginary gods and demigods had been set up in their minds, originally as intermediaries between humans and the One Supreme God, that all knowledge of the ONE God had been erased.
At the very beginning of humanity, God talked to Adam and Eve personally. He gave them His instruction -- preached to them His Gospel. They knew that God offered them eternal life as His gift. They knew the wages of sin is DEATH. But they reasoned their way around this truth -- just as some of you reading this are reasoning your way around what God would like to give you. Adam and Eve rebelled. They willingly obeyed Satan.
God made mankind with free moral agency. God always has made His Truth available. And God has decreed that man MUST CHOOSE! God does not allow man to reason out or to decide what is sin. But God forces every man to decide WHETHER to sin. God has made it SIN to break His Sabbath. YOU must decide! And as you sow, you shall reap!
Adam's children made their decisions. Abel made the right decision. Jesus Christ said Abel was righteous. His reward is assured! Cain made the wrong decision, and sealed his own fate. Almost 2000 years later only one man on earth -- Noah -- was obedient to God. Later, Shem apparently followed God's way. But after the Flood the rest of the world followed Nimrod, founder of this world's civilization.
Mankind made its decision. It REBELLED against GOD'S RIGHT WAYS. It willingly followed Satan s deceptions, set up established customs and modes of worship hostile to God. Succeeding generations lost the knowledge of the True GOD.
WHY the Nation ISRAEL?
It was in such a world -- cut off from God -- that the Eternal called out a despised, humiliated, SLAVE people, descended from Abraham. They had listened to and obeyed God. It seems human nature and human degradation are such that God had to take a debased, beaten-down, SLAVE people as the only ones who were humbled enough to listen to and obey the Creator! But, remember -- though reduced to slavery by circumstances, they were a SUPERIOR people by heredity. GOD PURPOSED NOW TO GIVE ALL OTHER NATIONS A CHANCE THROUGH THIS CALLED-OUT PEOPLE, ISRAEL!
Of this people, God said: "This people have I formed for myself" -- that is, to be His instrument, so that Gentile nations would see the desired results and tremendous blessings and national PROSPERITY that would inure to Israel if they OBEYED. "They shall show forth my praise," said God (Isaiah 43:21).
Of course, these Israelites had human nature. Even Israel, for whom God performed stupendous and most astounding miracles, never followed God's ways for long. But through them God has taken away every excuse from all who rebel. Humanity has been given EVERY CHANCE to repent of its way!
Later, during Christ's earthly human ministry and after, God used His CHURCH. Christ called out THE CHURCH as special called-out people, not merely to preach His GOSPEL to the world, but to SHOW the world the desired RESULTS reaped from OBEDIENCE! As ancient Israel was called to be, so the CHURCH, too, was to be a LIGHT to the world!
"Ye are the light of the world," said Jesus to His disciples. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your GOOD WORKs! (Matt. 5:14, 16.) That is, SET THE EXAMPLE! Let the world see the happy results!
The RIGHT WAYS of God, which He created as living, inexorable LAWS, are not for JEWISH PEOPLE ONLY. They are for MANKIND! The Sabbath was made FOR MAN -- not for the Jewish people only.
The Ephesians were Gentiles. But they heard Christ's Gospel, and they repented, believed -- OBEYED. They became converted CHRISTIANS.
To these Gentile-born Christians, Paul wrote: "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles ... That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of PROMISE, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ ... Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of GOD" (Eph. 2:11-19).
Gentiles NOT Excluded
To become a converted Christian, one must become, spiritually, AN ISRAELITE! Salvation, as quoted before, is for "EVERY ONE that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
But were not GENTILES EXCLUDED, UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT?
THEY WERE NOT!
What God gave for Israel was for the Gentiles also. The Sabbath was for GENTILES, as well as Israelites! You want PROOF? Here it is!
Gentiles always could come into the congregation (Church) of Israel -- and many did. Even as they were first leaving Egypt, "... a mixed multitude went up also with them" (Ex. 12:38). These were Gentiles.
In the instructions for observing the Passover, God said: "And when a stranger [Gentile] shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the ETERNAL, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land" (Ex. 12:48). Again, verse 49: "One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you."
Always Gentiles could come in and become naturalized citizens of Israel. Thousands did.
Now let the Prophet Isaiah, in a prophecy for OUR TIME, NOW, tell you whether the Sabbath was for Jews only!
Sabbath for Gentiles TODAY!
Jesus Christ said the Sabbath was made for MAN! Not Jews only -- not Israelites only -- but FOR MAN! It was made for ADAM! It was made for MAN, in the 20th century -- and in century TWENTY-ONE!
Now read ISAIAH'S PROPHECY! Isaiah 56, beginning in verse 1.
Notice, first, it comes from the Supreme AUTHORITY!
"Thus saith the LORD ..." There is your AUTHORITY!
Continue: "... Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed."
Here is the TIME to which the prophecy applies. WHEN is God's salvation near to come? WHEN is His righteousness to be revealed?
That is explained in Hebrews 9:27-28!
UNDERSTAND THIS: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin UNTO SALVATION."
Christ brings SALVATION, when He appears the second time! A better translation of the last part of the above sentence would be: "And unto them without sin that look for Him, shall He appear the second time UNTO SALVATION.
The Revised Standard Version renders it: "So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him."
WHEN does Christ's SALVATION appear? That is explained also in Revelation 12:10: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ." That is speaking of the time of Christ's second coming!
Again, Jesus said: "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12). The TIME: Christ's second coming!
So THE TIME of Isaiah's prophecy is just shortly before the second coming of Christ. The TIME, then, IS NOW -- TODAY!
Now notice what Christ, the SUPREME AUTHORITY, says:
"Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger [GENTILE], that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, the LORD hath utterly separated me from his people" (Isa. 56:2-3).
NOTICE THAT! Let no GENTILE, in our 20th century, now, that has been converted, and joined himself to the LORD JESUS CHRIST, say that Christ has separated him from GOD'S PEOPLE ISRAEL. No, the Sabbath was NOT a sign to separate Gentiles from Israelites! Gentiles were NOT excluded!
Continue, verses 6-7: "Also the sons of the stranger [GENTILE], that join themselves to the LORD" -- that become Christians -- "to observe him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; EVEN THEM [Gentiles] will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer ...."
There is PROOF POSITIVE!
There is an irrefutable "THUS SAITH THE LORD."
The Sabbath was made for MAN -- for MANKIND -- for GENTILE as well as Israelite.
God Himself made His Sabbath binding FOREVER -- (Ex. 31:12-17). It is binding FOREVER, perpetually, throughout their generations, on Israelites. Their generations have not ended. Forever has not ended.
ISRAELITES become Christians through Christ, the same as Gentiles. Israelite CHRISTIANS, then, are bound to keep God's Holy SABBATH.
But what about GENTILES? They, too, must keep it. They become Israelites, spiritually, when they receive God's Holy Spirit and become truly converted Christians. God does not have one WAY for Jew, and one for Gentile. He does not have one DAY for Jew, and another for Gentile. CHRIST IS NOT DIVIDED! GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS!
We are ALL ONE in CHRIST!
WHY ISRAEL AND JUDAH MADE SLAVES
WHAT were the SINS of Jeroboam, so many times spoken of in Kings and Chronicles, relating the history of ancient Israel?
Whatever is SIN for an Israelite is SIN for a Gentile!
God had reason for setting HIS LAW in motion. That REASON was our happiness. Every wail of human woe -- every war -- every bit of human suffering and unhappiness, has been the result of SIN. SIN robs humans of happiness, joy, and prosperity.
God loves humans. Therefore He HATES sin because sin is man's enemy! God PUNISHES for SIN!
If you take sin lightly -- if you think GOD does not note, and PUNISH for sin -- you need to learn, now, just HOW God dealt with HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE for breaking His Sabbath.
WHY Jews Made Slaves
Do you know WHY the Kingdom of Israel was invaded by Assyria, conquered, removed from their land as slaves 721-718 B.C.?
Do you know WHY the Kingdom of Judah was later taken captive, and scattered over the world? Both houses of Israel were sent into national punishment and banishment from the Holy Land because they broke God's Sabbath!
Does it make any difference? It certainly made a lot of difference to GOD! And He says He has not changed -- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! (Heb. 13:8.)
First, see why Judah was invaded, conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, and taken into Babylonian captivity during the years 604-585 B. C.
Seventy years after that captivity, according to Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer. 29:10), many of the House of Judah returned to the Holy Land to rebuild the temple, and restore the worship there. The Prophet Nehemiah tells why they had been driven into captive slavery 70 years before:
"In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals ... Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath" (Neh. 13:15-18).
There it is, in plain language!
Sabbath-breaking was a prime cause of Judah's captivity!
It was so IMPORTANT to GOD that He punished His own chosen people with this most severe national punishment -- defeat in war -- being taken from their land, and made SLAVES in a foreign land!
SIN is defined by GOD as the transgression of His LAW (I John 3:4). His LAW says: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy ... the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy GOD." To work on the Sabbath, to defile it by your own pleasure-seeking, doing business, etc., is A MAJOR SIN, punishable by ETERNAL DEATH! (Romans 6:23.)
The House of Judah Warned
The House of Judah was without excuse. They had been warned by the prophets.
Notice the warning through Jeremiah:
"Thus saith the ETERNAL; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day ... neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers ... But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; THEN WILL I KINDLE A FIRE IN THE GATES THEREOF, AND IT SHALL DEVOUR THE PALACES OF JERUSALEM, AND IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED" (Jer. 17:21-22, 27).
That was the warning. The House of Judah did not heed it. Now see what happened!
"Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard [today we would call him General of the Armies, or Field Marshall], which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the ETERNAL, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire" (Jer. 52:12-13).
When God warns, the punishment is SURE!
WHY Israel Defeated
Now see what happened to the other nation of Israelites, the Kingdom of Israel, 117 years before Judah's captivity.
God had laid down the choice to these people in the days of Moses, long before they were divided into two nations. Notice it in Leviticus 26:
"Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image ... to bow down unto it: for I am the Eternal your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Eternal" (verses 1-2).
In offering the following promises for obedience, or punishments for rebellion, in this key prophecy, only the TWO Commandments were mentioned -- those against idolatry and Sabbath breaking.
Notice HOW IMPORTANT they are:
"IF ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them ..." God promised abundant production and wealth, national peace, and national dominance that would have led to world dominance (verses 3-13).
But, said God (verses 14-33), if they refused to obey those Commandments, they would suffer sickness and disease, lose all prosperity for 2520 years, be invaded, conquered, and driven from their land as slaves to their enemies' lands.
Now remember, God made a special eternally binding COVENANT with them involving the Sabbath (Ex. 31:12-17). The Sabbath was made the national SIGN by which the True GOD would be identified and known to them, and by which they were to be identified as HIS PEOPLE.
After the division into TWO NATIONS -- when the Kingdom of Israel made Jeroboam their king, the first thing this king did was introduce idolatry and Sabbath-breaking.
As God had warned, this resulted in national invasion by King Shalmaneser of Assyria, defeat, captivity, and being taken as slaves to Assyria, 721-718 B.C.
Now see what God said about it through the Prophet Ezekiel.
Ezekiel was given a message from God to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL (not the House of Judah). Ezekiel was among the Jewish captives, after their captivity, more than a hundred years after Israel's captivity. By that time the Assyrians had been defeated by the king of Babylon. They later left their land on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea and migrated northwest, finally settling in the land called Germany today.
The people of the House of Israel also migrated north-west across Europe. But they did not stop in Germany. They went on farther west and north -- into Western Europe -- France, Belgium, Holland, the Scandinavian countries, and the British Isles -- where they are to this day, except for the Tribe of Manasseh, which much later migrated to the United States.
The Prophet Ezekiel was commissioned to "GO" from where he was, among the Jewish people, to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
"Go speak unto the HOUSE OF ISRAEL," said God (Ezek. 3:1).
But Ezekiel never took that message to the lost House of Israel. He couldn't. He was a slave. Yet he is taking it to them, today, by means of having written it in his book in the Bible -- and by the fact that it is being taken to those very people today by The PLAIN TRUTH and The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast!
IT IS A PROPHECY! It is a message for OUR PEOPLES TODAY! You are reading it NOW! God help you to heed!
Prophecy for US, TODAY!
Speaking first of ancient Israel, God says, in Ezekiel 20:
"Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. 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" (verses 10-12).
Notice, the exact wording of the forever-binding Sabbath Covenant of Exodus 31:12-17! Now continue:
"But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in MY statutes, and they despised MY judgments ... and MY sabbaths they greatly polluted" (verse 13).
Then God pleaded with their children, a generation later. Notice!
"But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe THEIR judgments, nor defile yourselves with THEIR idols: I am the Eternal your God; walk in MY statutes, and keep MY judgments, and do them; And hallow MY sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Eternal your God" (verses 18-20).
The entire emphasis here is between GOD'S statutes, judgments, and Sabbaths on the one hand, and their FATHERS' different sabbaths, statutes and judgments.
"Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me," continued God, through the Prophet Ezekiel. "... They polluted MY sabbaths ..." (verse 21).
So what did God finally do -- generations later?
He scattered them, in national captivity and slavery (verse 23).
"Because they had not executed MY judgments, but had despised MY statutes, and had polluted MY sabbaths, and their eyes were after their FATHERS' idols" (verse 24).
THAT'S WHY! Did it make any DIFFERENCE?
But now, continue on in this amazing prophecy! Notice the prophecy FOR US, TODAY!
Speaking of a time, in possibly this decade or the next, in OUR time, to OUR peoples, God says:
"As I live, saith the Lord ETERNAL, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with FURY poured out, will I RULE OVER YOU (verse 33).
The expression "FURY poured out" refers to the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES, at the very time of the second coming of Christ (compare Rev. 16:1). The time when Christ will RULE over us is at and after His second coming. So this, then, is a PROPHECY for OUR TIME!
Every prophecy in the Bible showing where our people (Israel) will be, AT the second coming of Christ, and the coming great Exodus back to the Holy Land, pictures them in captivity and slavery ONCE AGAIN.
Continue the prophecy: "And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered ... with FURY POURED OUT. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people [COMING EXODUS -- Jer. 23:7-8], and there will I plead with you FACE TO FACE (Ezek. 20:34-35).
Notice it! This is the WORD speaking -- CHRIST! He will then be on earth again in Person! And then He is going to plead with our people FACE TO FACE. That will soon happen to YOU, and to YOUR LOVED ONES.
It's time to AWAKE to the imminency, and the stark SERIOUSNESS of this!
Perhaps only one lone voice is WARNING You! But God used one lone voice to warn the world in Noah's day -- one lone voice in Elijah's day -- one lone voice in the day of John the Baptist, and after he was put in prison, in the Person of Christ Himself!
If you rely on the majority of sinning PEOPLE, you will suffer their penalties with them!
NOTICE HOW HE WILL PLEAD!
"Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, SO will I plead with YOU, saith the; Lord ETERNAL ... And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me ... and YE shall KNOW that I am the LORD" (verses 36-38).
How did He plead with them? He pleaded: "Hallow MY sabbaths, instead of your fathers', so that you may KNOW that I am the LORD.
And how shall we KNOW that HE is the LORD?
By His Sabbath SIGN!
Read verses 42-44 in your own Bible! He says our people, when they are no longer rebellious, who will then be keeping His Sabbath, shall remember their ways in which they were defiled, and shall LOATHE themselves for their Sabbath-breaking!
This is pretty strong teaching! IT IS THE WORD OF GOD speaking to YOU!
IS SUNDAY MENTIONED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?
THE word "Sunday" does not appear any place in the Bible.
But the phrase "first day of the week" is found in the New Testament. It occurs in exactly EIGHT places. So it will not take long to examine these eight texts employing this phrase.
If the day was changed by BIBLE authority -- if Christians are to find any BIBLE AUTHORITY whatsoever for observing Sunday as the "Lord's Day" today -- then we must find that authority in one of these eight texts!
Let us acknowledge at the outset, since the seventh day of the week is clearly established as the Bible Sabbath up until the time of the crucifixion, that there can be no BIBLE AUTHORITY for Sunday observance unless we find it clearly and plainly stated in one of these eight New Testament passages.
So let us examine them carefully, honestly, prayerfully.
The Day AFTER Sabbath
(1) Matthew 28:1: "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." This is the first place in the Bible where "the first day of the week" is mentioned. Matthew wrote these words, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, six years after the New Testament Church came into being. The text says that after the Sabbath day it was drawing TOWARD (Greek, into) the first day of the week. So this scripture, we must admit, tells us plainly that three days and three nights after all that was done away had been securely "nailed to the cross," the Sabbath was still the day BEFORE the first day of the week -- still the seventh day of the week.
One point is here plainly proved. Many tell us that the Sabbath command was merely for "one day in seven" -- that it did not have to be THE seventh day of the week, but merely the seventh part of time. They argue that Sunday, being one day out of seven, fulfills the command. But here is a passage in the NEW Testament, inspired by the Holy Spirit six years after the beginning of the NEW Testament Church, stating in plain language that, three days after all abolished things had been done away, the Sabbath still existed and that it was the seventh day of THE WEEK -- the day before the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. That much is proved, and must remain settled for all who honestly seek and accept BIBLE authority. But, was the day changed later?
(2) Mark 16:2: "And very early in the morning THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." This is merely Mark's version of the sunrise visit to the tomb. It was written ten years after the crucifixion. This first day of the week, also, was "AFTER the Sabbath was PAST," according to verse 1. So this text proves the same thing as the one above -- that the first day of the week was not at that time (three days after the crucifixion) the Sabbath, but the day AFTER the Sabbath. The Sabbath, then, still was the SEVENTH day of the week.
A Common Workday
(3) Mark 16:9: "Now when Jesus was risen, early the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." This text speaks of Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene later the same day -- the day AFTER the Sabbath.
Nothing here calls the first day of the week the Christian Sabbath, we must admit. Nothing here calls it "The Lord's Day." Nothing here hallows Sunday or says God made it holy. Nothing here commands us to observe it. Nothing here sets it apart as a memorial of the resurrection, or for any purpose. No command or example of REST on this day -- no authority for observing Sunday here.
(4) Luke 24:1: Now UPON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them."
This text tells again the same event recorded by Matthew and Mark, and it shows that on THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK these women came to do the work of a common weekday, AFTER having rested the Sabbath day "according to the commandment." For we read, in the verse just before this, "And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." Shall we say these women did not yet know the commandment was abolished? No, we cannot, for this statement was not made by the women, but inspired by the HOLY SPIRIT. God did know it was not abolished. And it was written approximately thirty years after the establishing of the New Testament Church! God then inspired the direct statement that the "rest" of these women on the Sabbath day was according to the commandment, which statement would not be possible had the commandment been abolished.
This text, then, establishes Sunday as a common workday, three days after the crucifixion, and it further establishes that at that time the command to rest on the Sabbath had not been abolished.
(5) John 20:1: "THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre."
This, written sixty-three years after the crucifixion, is merely John's version, describing the same visit to the tomb. It confirms the facts above.
Was This a Religious Meeting to Celebrate the Resurrection?
(6) John 20:19: "Then the same day at evening, being THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."
Let us examine this carefully, for some claim this was a religious service called for the purpose of celebrating the resurrection. But notice this is the same first day of the week that FOLLOWED the Sabbath. It was Jesus' first opportunity to appear to His disciples. For three and a half years He had been constantly with them, on ALL days of the week. His meeting with them, of itself, could not establish any day as a Sabbath.
Were they assembled to celebrate the resurrection, thus establishing Sunday as the Christian Sabbath in honor of the resurrection? The text says they were assembled "for fear of the Jews." The Jews had just taken and crucified their Master. They were afraid. The doors were shut because of their fear -- probably bolted. Why were they assembled? FOR FEAR OF THE JEWS, according to this text, and also because they all lived together in this upper room (Acts 1:13). They could not have assembled to celebrate the resurrection, for THEY DID NOT BELIEVE JESUS WAS RISEN (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:37, 39, 41). Nothing in this text calls this day "Sabbath," or "Lord's Day," or any sacred title. Nothing here sets it apart, makes it holy. No authority here for changing a command of God!
Lord's Supper Day -- or Workday -- Which?
(7) Acts 20:7: "And upon THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together."
Here, at last, we find a religious meeting on the first day of the week. But it was not a SUNDAY meeting!
Notice, Paul continued his speech until midnight! "And there were many LIGHTS in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together." It was AFTER SUNSET, prior to midnight, the first day of the week. Now at that time the first day of the week did not begin at midnight, as men begin it today. It began, and the seventh day ended, AT SUNSET! All Bible days begin and end at SUNSET. Throughout the Roman world at that time, and for a few hundred years afterwards, days began and ended at sunset. The practice of beginning the new day at midnight was started much later. Therefore this meeting, and Paul's preaching, took place during the hours we now call SATURDAY NIGHT -- it was not a Sunday meeting at all!
Notice the rendering of Today's English Version, correctly translated from the inspired Greek text: "On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal. Paul spoke to the people, and kept on speaking until midnight, since he was going to leave the next day."
WHY Paul Remained Behind
Let us, now, pick up the thread of the narrative related in this passage. Begin verse 6:
"We sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them at Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, READY TO DEPART ON THE MORROW."
Paul and his companions had been in this town of Troas seven days. His companions had left by ship after sunset. Paul remained behind for a farewell meeting. He preached until midnight, "ready to depart on the morrow." At break of day -- sunrise Sunday morning -- Paul departed (verse 11).
Now notice what his companions had done. "And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in" (verses 13-14).
Look at this on the map (next page). Paul's companions had to sail around a peninsula -- a distance of fifty or sixty miles, while Paul, afoot, walked across, a distance of 19 1/2 miles. He was able to walk this distance in shorter time than they could sail the much longer distance, which gave Paul the opportunity to remain behind after they left, for this last farewell sermon and visit.
Now do you see what actually happened? Paul's companions were engaged in the LABOR of rowing and sailing a boat while Paul was preaching that Saturday night until midnight -- on the first day of the week. They had set sail Saturday night, AFTER THE SABBATH HAD ENDED. Paul remained behind for one more last farewell sermon. Then, at break of day Sunday morning, Paul set out afoot, indulging in the labor of a 19 1/2 -- mile walk from Troas to Assos! He waited till the Sabbath was past for this long walk -- a good hard day's work, if you ever tried it! He did it on the first day of the week! Again, a common workday!
What "Break Bread" Means
But does this text not say, as many claim today, that the disciples always held communion every first day of the week? NOT AT ALL!
In the first place, it says nothing about anything being done EVERY first day of the week. It relates the events of this one particular first day of the week, ONLY. It is not speaking of any CUSTOMS, but of the events occurring as Paul and his companions concluded their seven-day visit in passing by this town.
Jesus had introduced the "Lord's Supper" as part of the Passover, at the beginning of the annual "days of unleavened bread." No longer need they kill lambs or eat the roasted body of Passover lambs, after Christ, OUR Passover, had been once slain for us. Yet the Passover was ordained FOREVER (Ex. 12:24). At His last Passover supper, Jesus substituted the wine as the emblem of His blood, instead of the blood of the slain lamb. He substituted the unleavened bread for the roast body of the lamb as the symbol of His body, broken for us. The disciples continued to observe the Passover annually, now in the form of "the Lord's Supper" using only the bread and wine, as a MEMORIAL (I Cor. 11:24) of Christ's DEATH (I Cor. 11:26), showing His death till He comes again. They continued to observe the days of unleavened bread (Acts 20:6).
This year they had observed the days of unleavened bread and the "Communion" service at Philippi, after which they came to Troas in five days, where they remained seven days.
After the Sabbath day had ended, at sunset, "upon the first day of the week ... the disciples came together to BREAK BREAD."
People have ASSUMED this expression to mean the taking of "Communion." But notice! Paul preached, and continued preaching until midnight. They had no opportunity to stop and "break bread" until then. When Paul "therefore was come up again" -- after restoring the one who had fallen down from the third balcony -- "and had broken bread, AND EATEN (verse 13).
Note it! "Broken bread AND EATEN." This breaking bread was not Communion -- it was simply eating a meal This expression was commonly used of old to designate a meal. It still is used in that sense in parts of even the United States.
Notice Luke 22:16, where Jesus was introducing the Lord's Supper, taking it with His disciples. He said, "I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Yet, the day after His resurrection, after walking with the two disciples to Emmaus, "... as he sat at MEAT with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them" (Luke 24:30). Here Jesus "brake bread" but it was not the Lord's Supper, which He said He would NOT take again. It was a meal -- "He sat AT MEAT."
Notice Acts 2:46. The disciples, "continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness." Here again "breaking bread means EATING A MEAL. Not on the first day of the week, but DAILY.
Again, when Paul was shipwrecked on the voyage to Rome, the sailors had been fasting out of fright. But "Paul besought them all to take MEAT, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some MEAT: for this is for your health .... And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat" (Acts 27:33-35). Here Paul broke bread to give to unconverted sailors who were hungry.
The truth is, NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE is the expression "breaking of bread," or "to break bread," used to signify observance of "the Lord's Supper." In all these texts it means, simply, eating a meal. So, when we read in Acts 20:7,11, "the disciples came together to break bread," and how Paul had "broken bread and EATEN," we know by Scripture interpretation it referred only to eating food as a meal, not to a Communion service.
What Was This COLLECTION?
We come now to the eighth and last place where the term "first day of the week" occurs in the Bible.
(8) I Corinthians 16:2: "Upon the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him."
Often we see this text printed on the little offering envelopes in the pews of popular churches, and we have been told that this text sets THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK as the time for taking up the church collection for the carrying on of God's work, paying the minister, etc.
Let us begin with the first verse and really catch the true intended meaning of this verse.
"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
This speaks of a collection -- but for WHOM -- for WHAT? Note it! Not for the preacher -- not for evangelism -- but "the collection FOR THE SAINTS." The poor saints at Jerusalem were suffering from drought and famine. They needed, not money, but FOOD. Notice Paul had given similar instruction to other churches. Now observe his instruction to the Romans:
"But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia [where the Corinthian church was located] to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem .... When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain" (Rom. 15:25-28).
Ah! Did you catch it? It was not money, but FRUIT that was being sealed for shipment to the poor saints at Jerusalem! (The Greek word can also refer to grain, wine, and other produce which can be stored a long time with-out spoiling.)
Now turn back to I Corinthians 16. Paul is speaking concerning a collection FOR THE SAINTS. Upon the first day of the week each one of them is instructed to do what? Look at it! Does it say drop a coin in the collection plate at a church service? Not at all!
It says, "Let every one of you lay by him in STORE." Note it! LAY BY! STORE UP! Store up BY HIMSELF -- at home! Not lay by at the church house -- lay by HIM -- at home.
Now WHY? That there be no GATHERINGS when I come.' Men GATHER fruit out of the orchard -- they GATHER vegetables out of the ground, to be STORED UP. But putting coins in a collection plate at church, or handing in your tithe envelope could not be called a GATHERING, but an offering or collection.
Notice further: "And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they [more than one] shall go with me" (verses 3-4).
Apparently it was going to require several men to carry this collection, gathered and stored up, to Jerusalem. If it were tithe or offering for the minister or the spread of the Gospel, Paul could have carried the money alone.
So, once again, the last and final text in the Bible where we find THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK mentioned, it is a WORKDAY -- a day for gathering fruit and food out of the orchards and the fields and gardens, and storing it up. It was to be the FIRST labor of the week, hence the first day of the week, as soon as the Sabbath was past!
No Bible Authority
So, finally, we find upon honest examination that NOT ONE of the texts speaking about "THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK" sets it apart as a rest day. Not one makes it holy, calls it the Sabbath or by any other sacred title. In EVERY case, the first day of the week was a common workday.
In NONE of them was there a religious meeting and preaching service being held on the hours we now call SUNDAY. In NONE of them can we find a single shred of BIBLE AUTHORITY for Sunday observance! There is no record in the Bible of celebrating the resurrection on Sunday.
Sometimes Revelation 1:10 is used as Bible authority for calling Sunday "the Lord's DAY." It says: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice." But this does not say the "first day of the week," or "Sunday" is the "day" here called "the Lord's day." As a matter of fact, it is not speaking of ANY day of the week at all, but of "the day of the Lord" -- the time of the coming PLAGUES, climaxing in the coming of Christ, and the millennium. This is the THEME of the Revelation. But, if one wants to argue, and insist upon this text applying to some definite day of the week, he shall have to look elsewhere to see WHICH day THE BIBLE calls the LORD'S DAY. For this text does not designate ANY day of the week.
But Jesus said He was Lord of the SABBATH, and if He is LORD of that day, then it belongs to Him, and is His day, and therefore the Sabbath is the Lord's Day (Mark 2:28). Isaiah 58:13 calls the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week) "MY HOLY DAY." God is speaking. So the Sabbath is THE LORD'S DAY.
In the original commandment, in Exodus 20:10, we read: "The seventh day is the sabbath OF THE LORD THY GOD." Not MY day, or your day. Sunday is MY day. So is Monday, and every other weekday, for my labor and my own needs. But the seventh day is NOT mine -- it is THE LORD'S! It belongs to HIM, and He made it HOLY, and commanded us to KEEP it that way. We have no right to use it for ourselves. It is HIS DAY!
The TRUE SABBATH of the NEW Testament!
Now briefly let us look through the New Testament to find WHICH DAY Paul kept and taught Gentile converts to keep.
Notice which day Paul and Barnabas used for preaching to Gentiles:
(1) Acts 13:14-15, 42-44: "But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on."
Then Paul stood up, and spoke, preaching Christ to them.
"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the GENTILES besought that these words might be preached to them THE NEXT SABBATH.
Now since Paul was preaching "the grace of God" (verse 43), here was his opportunity to straighten out these Gentiles, and explain that the Sabbath was done away. Why should he wait a whole week, in order to preach to THE GENTILES ON THE NEXT SABBATH? If the day had now been changed to Sunday, why did not Paul tell them they would not have to wait a week, but the very next day, Sunday, was the proper day for this service? But notice what Paul did.
"And the NEXT SABBATH DAY came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." Here Paul waited a whole week, passing up a Sunday, in order to preach to the GENTILES on the Sabbath day.
Gentiles Met on Sabbath
(2) Acts 15:1-2,14-21: Study this whole passage carefully. Certain men had come down from Judea to Antioch, teaching that the Gentile converts there must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses to be saved. Quite a dissension arose between them and Paul and Barnabas. So it was decided Paul and Barnabas should go to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about the question.
At the conference at Jerusalem, James gave the decision.
"Wherefore my sentence is," he pronounced (verses 19-20), "... that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."
He did not say they should not keep the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were not in question -- but only the ritual law of circumcision, which was an altogether DIFFERENT law. He merely mentioned four prohibitions, and otherwise they did not need to observe the law of Moses.
But why WRITE this sentence to them? Note it!
"... For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues EVERY SABBATH DAY" (verse 21).
Do you see it? The law of Moses -- the first five books of the Bible -- was being taught in the synagogues EVERY SABBATH DAY. The apostles were WRITING only these decrees, BECAUSE GENTILE CONVERTS WERE GOING TO CHURCH ON THE SABBATH DAY. They had heard God's law read and expounded every Sabbath in the synagogues and did not need further instructions. It shows that the GENTILE CONVERTS HAD STARTED KEEPING THE SABBATH DAY, AND WENT TO CHURCH ON THAT DAY! And the apostles letter did not reprove them for this Sabbath-keeping.
This is very significant, since GENTILES HAD NEVER KEPT THE SABBATH. Therefore it is something these Gentiles had STARTED doing after they were converted under the teaching of Paul and Barnabas!
A Sabbath in Philippi
(3) Acts 16:12-15: Here we find Paul and Silas at Philippi. And "we were in that city abiding certain days. And ON THE SABBATH we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made, and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened ... and ... she was baptized."
Here again Paul and his companions waited until the Sabbath, and then went to a place of worship, and preached, and this woman, probably a Gentile, was converted. The passage indicates it was the CUSTOM to meet there on the Sabbath, and that it was CUSTOM for Paul and his companions to go to a place of prayer and worship when the Sabbath day came.
Paul Worked Weekdays, and Kept The SABBATH
(4) Acts 18:1-11: "After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew named Aquila ... with his wife Priscilla ... and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue EVERY SABBATH, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
If we could find one text in the New Testament giving as strong authority for Sunday observance as this one does for Sabbath-keeping, we should certainly have Bible AUTHORITY for it! Here Paul WORKED weekdays, but went to church and taught GENTILES as well as Jews every SABBATH.
Now the commandment says: "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work," just as much as it says "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." There is just as much command to work six days as there is to rest the seventh. And so if the day had been changed, Paul would have had to work Sabbaths, in order to go to church and preach every Sunday. But here he WORKED weekdays and went to church and preached EVERY SABBATH -- not just on one particular occasion -- it says EVERY SABBATH.
He preached Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom. And when the Jews became offended and blasphemed, he turned away from the Jews altogether, and from then on preached TO GENTILES ONLY (verse 6), and he continued there a year and six months (verse 11) -- working weekdays -- preaching to Gentiles ONLY -- EVERY SABBATH!
What MORE conclusive proof could we desire? What STRONGER Bible evidence than this, as to the true Sabbath of the NEW Testament? For a year and a half Paul continued working weekdays -- six days -- including Sundays -- and preaching to GENTILES exclusively EVERY SABBATH! Certainly it was his custom and manner! Certainly he could not have done this had the Sabbath been done away, or changed.
To these Gentile-born at Corinth, Paul COMMANDED: "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1).
And Paul "as his manner was, went in unto them, and three SABBATH DAYS reasoned with them out of the scriptures (Acts 17:2). It was his MANNER, his CUSTOM, as we have seen by ample evidence showing a total of eighty-four different Sabbaths Paul is shown specifically to have kept.
Did he follow Jesus in this? Why, CERTAINLY! Jesus, "as his custom was ... went into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY (Luke 4:16).
It was Jesus' custom. Paul followed Him, and COMMANDED the Gentile converts to follow him, even as he followed Christ.
THE AMAZING TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Now NOTICE another eye-opening reason why only the true Sabbath day can be the day for assembled Christian fellowship.
Jesus Christ said, in John 15, "I am the vine, ye are the branches" (verse 5). We are told to abide in Him (verse 4), or, spiritually, we can do nothing. A grape branch cannot produce grapes unless joined to the vine.
A Divine Fellowship
Next, notice the basis of Christian fellowship, in I John 1:
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ ....If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness [that is, disobey His commands], we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light [LIVE by every word of the BIBLE as our WAY OF LIFE, being DOERS of His Law, not hearers only -- being OBEDIENT], as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:3, 6-7).
We can have true Christian fellowship only when each individual Christian is joined to Christ, and to the Father -- as a branch of a grapevine joined to the vine.
Now what joins the many branches of that vine to one another? When people meet on their own human-appointed day, trying to JOIN THEMSELVES together in a church group, Christ is not present with them in that fellowship. He never put His PRESENCE in that day! They are like a lot of grape branches, cut off from the vine, trying to join themselves together!
Now, HOW did we find that Jesus Christ put His presence in His Sabbath? On that day HE RESTED, and was refreshed. On that day, while resting, He blessed that day -- He set it apart for holy use and purpose as HIS day -- He hallowed it and made it HOLY TIME.
But HOW did He make it HOLY? Remember, I showed you plainly before, that just as the very ground where Moses stood, near the burning bush (Ex. 3:1-5) was HOLY GROUND -- because Christ's presence was there, and Christ's presence makes HOLY whatever or wherever He is -- just as WE can be HOLY if, and only if, Christ's presence, by the Holy Spirit, is within us -- so Christ's presence in the Sabbath makes that space of time holy.
When the LORD of the Old Testament, the WORD (Greek, logos) (John 1:1-3) was made human flesh (verse 14), and was named Jesus Christ, some 4,000 years after He rested originally on the Sabbath, putting His presence in it (Gen. 2:1-3), He still kept the Sabbath, and put His presence in it (Luke 4:16) "as His custom was."
He had not changed. Jesus Christ is the SAME STILL TODAY (Heb. 13:8).
So His very presence is in HIS DAY, the same today as then. When God's own obedient children, each joined to Christ -- each walking with Christ in harmony, obedient -- assemble on His Holy Day, they actually have fellowship with CHRIST. He is there, in their midst, in Spirit! And then CHRIST joins them together in FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM AND THE FATHER!
When people assemble on Sunday, Christ's presence is not in that day! You may argue to have your own way, rather than surrender to this truth, but this is truth which will judge you when you face Christ in the Judgment!
Can You Worship Christ in Vain?
Then what about public or church-group worship in a weekly service on Sunday -- or Friday?
LISTEN and HEED! Your Bible says: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in TRUTH" (John 4:24).
What do the churches of this world say? "Worship God according to the dictates of your own conscience." THAT IS CONTRARY TO WHAT GOD SAYS!
How do you worship God in spirit and in truth? What is TRUTH? Jesus said plainly: THY WORD IS TRUTH. God's Word is the BIBLE!
The BIBLE authorizes only the Sabbath as God's weekly Holy Day for joint assembly and worship. The Bible is the AUTHORITY OF GOD! WHAT AUTHORITY DO PEOPLE HAVE FOR SUNDAY?
To worship God in spirit and in TRUTH is to worship Him how, and when (so far as congregational assembly is concerned) He says in HIS WORD, which is TRUTH!
God Himself set apart the one and only day that IDENTIFIES HIM as the CREATOR! He set it apart for a BLESSING! For our physical rest! For spiritual refreshing!
And the day on which we cease from our business or labors, HE set apart as "an holy CONVOCATION" (Lev. 23:2 3), which means a COMMANDED ASSEMBLY, at which our presence is commanded. It is the very day when His divine spiritual presence is there, also. He set apart as the day for that joint worship together the one day which identifies the God WHOM we are to worship!
NO OTHER DAY CAN FULFILL THAT GREAT AND GLORIOUS PURPOSE!
Yes, GOD has a reason for the Sabbath -- a PURPOSE in it!
Those who assemble to worship God and the Lord Jesus Christ in any way contrary to the way, or the time GOD'S WORD commands are not worshipping Him in spirit and in TRUTH. God will not accept their worship.
Did you realize that Christ Himself said you can not only profess His name and call yourself a Christian, but you may actually WORSHIP HIM -- and do it in vain? Still totally "unsaved"?
Listen to the very words of Christ: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men ... ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition" (Mark 7:7-9).
Assembling for worship on Sunday is nothing but the tradition of MEN -- and a pagan tradition at that! Those who do so reject the Commandment of GOD, disobey God's Commandment to keep His Sabbath day holy, are guilty of COMMITTING SIN, and SUCH WORSHIP IS UTTERLY IN VAIN!
Jesus Christ said so!
NOT "Jewish" Sabbath
Yet, in spite of all the scriptures in the whole Bible -- in spite of direct commands from GOD -- many have heard or read of the Sabbath being called "the Jewish Sabbath" so many times that their minds will argue immediately: "yes, but all this about the Sabbath being holy -- about the Sabbath covenant, doesn't apply to ME; all that was for the Jewish people -- and I'm a Gentile."
O yes, this DOES apply to YOU!
Jesus Christ says, "The Sabbath was made for MAN" -- for all mankind! Remember? It was made WHEN man was made -- at the time of Adam! There were no Jewish people then! God Almighty does not have one standard for Jewish people and another for Gentiles. No Gentile can become a Christian until he becomes an ISRAELITE -- read Ephesians 2:11-22. God says, through the Apostle Paul to GENTILES: "There is neither Jew nor Greek ... for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus. And if ye [Gentiles] be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed [children], and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:28-29).
You cannot find any such term as "the Jewish Sabbath" anywhere in the Bible! That is a derisive, scornful, contemptuous epithet. It came from non-Christian "wolves in sheep's clothing" as Christ labeled them. They intended to deceive by creating prejudice against the Truth of God. It is the slurring, discrediting, misleading language and terminology employed by DECEIVERS, false prophets, and upholders of pagan doctrines and customs contrary to God's Word.
IT IS NOT BIBLE LANGUAGE!
Yet, perhaps even most of you who read this have been so prejudiced by that contemptuous term that it is very difficult for your mind to comprehend, and to accept, the PLAIN TRUTH of your own BIBLE!
Read again Ephesians 2:11-12. YOU HAVE TO BECOME AN ISRAELITE TO BE SAVED! You have heard a lot of false and anti-Scriptural teaching leading you to suppose salvation is for Gentiles. IT IS NOT!
All the PROMISES were given to ISRAEL. Why?
Listen! Read carefully, and UNDERSTAND! All nations had gone into anti-God, false, pagan religions. In such a God-rejecting world, God raised up, from the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the days of Moses, a special nation to be HIS nation -- to be a light to the non-believing Gentiles. Incidentally, the very name Gentile MEANS unbeliever.
God gave this special called-out nation HIS right ways of life -- and to them were given the PROMISES which include salvation (Rom. 9:4). But, when a Gentile-born person repents, accepts Christ and receives God's HOLY Spirit, then he becomes, spiritually, an Israelite, a child of Abraham, and an heir of the promises (Gal. 3:28-29).
Salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22). Salvation, however, is for EVERYONE that believes (in living faith, not dead faith) -- to the Jew first, and, through Christ, also to the Gentile (Rom. 1:16).
You can have no salvation unless you become, spiritually, a JEW! (Rom. 2:28-29.) Of course, through disobedience, all natural-born Israelites have been cut off from the promises and God's salvation -- but they may receive it, like all others, through Christ! (Rom. 11:17-18, 23-26.)
So the true Christian will put out of his heart that prejudice and hatred against Jews.
Is Christ IN You?
Once again, DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE which day, or whether we keep it?
The BIBLE DEFINITION of a CHRISTIAN is one who has received the gift of God's Holy Spirit, and is being led by the Spirit of God. In other words, CHRIST IN YOU IS YOUR HOPE OF GLORY! (Col. 1:27.)
The Holy Spirit is the life-imparting Spirit that emanates from the very Person of the FATHER, and of CHRIST! The HOLY SPIRIT IN YOU puts in you not only the love, the power, the faith, and the life of the Ever-Living CHRIST -- but also THE MIND OF CHRIST. (Phil. 2:5.)
It means, literally, that Christ Himself is IN YOU -- not in Person, but IN SPIRIT (Gal. 2:20). Jesus Christ is a Saviour who literally comes inside us -- in our minds -- to clean us up and save us from within!
IT MEANS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LIVING HIS LIFE WITHIN US! Or, in other words, it means that we yield to let Jesus Christ live our lives for us!
Now IF Jesus Christ is IN YOU (and you are not a truly converted Christian unless He is!), will He, in you, profane His Holy Day, and observe a pagan day?
Jesus Christ has not changed. He is THE SAME, yesterday, today, and forever! (Heb. 13:8.)
It is CHRIST who made the Sabbath. It is CHRIST who rested on that very first Sabbath! It is the ETERNAL, (YHVH) who became the Christ who spoke to the Israelites on the Sabbath (Ex. 16). It is CHRIST who kept the Sabbath as His custom was (Luke 4:16).
Jesus Christ has always put His Presence in His own Holy Day! IF Christ is IN you -- He, in you, can keep no other day NOW! And IF you, having read the truth in this booklet, now make excuse, or rebel, and refuse to keep holy Christ's Holy Day, then on His infallible authority, I say to you that He is not IN you!
It is just that serious!
God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to them THAT OBEY HIM! (Acts 5:32.) The conditions to receiving the Holy Spirit as God's gift are: REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED (Acts 2:38).
Sin is the transgression of God's Law (I John 3:4). That law is a spiritual Law (Rom. 7:14). The penalty for transgression is DEATH -- for all eternity! (Rom. 6:23.) The Fourth Commandment of that Law commands you to REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to keep it HOLY! It also says the seventh day, not Sunday the first, is the Sabbath of the Eternal thy GOD! And it is the seventh day of the week -- the day before the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1) -- not just ANY seventh day -- not any one day out of seven.
There are no loopholes! There is NO ESCAPE, for those who disobey! God's laws are enforced automatically! God needs no human policemen to catch you! There will be no human court trial with a jury of 12 fallible and easily misled human jurors.
No, there will be NO ESCAPE! This is the ALMIGHTY GOD you are dealing with, on this question!
God is LOVE! God loves mankind. God loves YOU! God made His Sabbath holy for a purpose -- to keep YOU in His FELLOWSHIP! His LAW is LOVE. It takes love to fulfill it! It requires a spiritual love to fulfill the spiritual Law. You were not born with that love. God freely offers it to you -- HIS OWN LOVE, "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 5:5). When you surrender, repent, believe, God promises His Holy Spirit. His Spirit imparts to you the spiritual LOVE to fulfill His Law!
It is truly WONDERFUL!
It keeps you in CHRIST'S OWN FELLOWSHIP -- in close contact. It bestows upon you His SECURITY, peace of mind, happiness, abundant living!
"But," one may still object, "how could I live, if I can't kindle a fire on the Sabbath, or even eat any food?"
LET'S UNDERSTAND! The prohibition against "picking up sticks," or "kindling a fire" on the Sabbath was part of the added CIVIL and RITUALISTIC or CEREMONIAL law of Moses -- no part of the Ten Commandment SPIRITUAL Law!
Because of transgressions -- that is, because the spiritual Law was being broken -- God added, 430 years after Abraham, through Moses, a material and physical law of rituals and ceremonies (Gal. 3:16-19). That law was a PHYSICAL law, including animal sacrifices. It was a SUBSTITUTE for Christ's sacrifice and the Holy Spirit, which was not given to Old Testament Israelites. The Holy Spirit gives us, now, POWER to obey. These rituals and sacrifices consisted of physical labor -- things to do morning, noon, and night -- to instill in them the HABIT of OBEDIENCE. WHY? Because they had been disobeying! The physical rituals were to TEACH THEM OBEDIENCE! Therefore they were a "schoolmaster" lasting only UNTIL Christ came (Gal. 3:24).
When the REALITY came (Christ -- and the gift of the Holy Spirit), the substitute ended.
The SABBATH command is a SPIRITUAL command. It has to do with our fellowship, assembly, and worship of God. It forbids our regular weekday work or labor by which we earn a living -- our JOB, or BUSINESS.
But the Sabbath was made FOR MAN -- as a BLESSING to man! It was made to be ENJOYED -- to spiritually REFRESH, in blessed fellowship and communion with CHRIST!
Jesus Christ KEPT THE SABBATH while He lived as a human on earth. And whole CHAPTERS in the four Gospel books are devoted to recording HOW He taught us to keep the Sabbath.
The Pharisees of Jesus' day observed some 65 stern regulations of "do's and don'ts" which the human rabbis had instituted to make Sabbath observance a "yoke of bondage." Jesus Christ swept those human regulations aside.
On one Sabbath He and His disciples were going through a cornfield. The disciples plucked ears of corn to eat. The Pharisees complained. But Jesus rebuked them -- showed it is RIGHT to do minor work to gather or prepare food to eat on the Sabbath. That was the very experience that caused Him to say, "The sabbath was made for MAN, and not man for the sabbath," and to proclaim that HE is LORD of the Sabbath -- and therefore the Sabbath is the LORD'S DAY!
Jesus HEALED the sick on the Sabbath. This was not doing business or labor by which He earned a living. It was an act of mercy -- and of LOVE. Jesus said it is right to DO GOOD on the Sabbath day.
He showed it is even right to pull an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath -- but too many today would throw the poor ox in the ditch on Friday, so they could have an excuse to pull it out on the Sabbath! Jesus expected us to use wisdom and judgment -- and BE HONEST!
Many, having read this far, will say -- "But I can't keep the Sabbath. I'd lose my JOB."
Let me tell you something! I have known of hundreds of such cases! It takes living FAITH to OBEY GOD! Can you TRUST HIM, even with your job? Unless you can, I wouldn't give you a counterfeit penny for your chances of escaping the Lake of FIRE!
Never ask an employer if you can have Saturdays off. Use a little wisdom -- and PRAY for God's help. Then tell your employer, in a quiet but earnest and positive manner, that you have learned that those hours from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset have been made HOLY by GOD, and that He commands you to keep them holy. You are very sorry if it inconveniences him in any way -- but you will not be able to work any more during those hours. Say it in a friendly, but FIRM manner. Tell him you are willing to work Sundays, if that would help.
Out of HUNDREDS of experiences, I have found that nine in ten DO NOT LOSE THEIR JOBS! If you first pray, and ask God sincerely to give you grace and favor in your employer's eyes, and then tell him firmly but politely and kindly, it makes it pretty hard for an employer to interfere with your religion!
Nine in ten have NOT lost their jobs, as they probably expected they would. And the one in ten who did? Nearly always, the few who did lose their jobs SOON FOUND BETTER ONES.
You CAN TRUST GOD!
This is where you have to mix living FAITH with obedience!
Finally, remember once again, GOD has decided what is sin -- He compels YOU to decide WHETHER to sin, or to OBEY!
Now It's UP TO YOU!
It is now UP TO YOU!
I have given you God's Word faithfully. It is not popular. It is not what the popular majority tell you.
But NOW YOU KNOW! You will be JUDGED by what you do with this knowledge!
You must make your own choice. Rebellion means eternal PUNISHMENT of everlasting DEATH. God will save no person He does not RULE.
You must choose between GOD'S ways, and MAN'S ways he falsely calls "Christian."
My responsibility ends with TELLING you. I have cried aloud. I have lifted my voice. I have TOLD YOU YOUR SIN in this regard. God calls you to repentance. But He will not force you. You must make your own decision, and what you sow you shall reap.
You shall be saved by GRACE, but God does lay down conditions. You can comply, and receive glorious GRACE -- or you can rebel, and pay the DEATH PENALTY -- for eternity!
Where to Keep the Sabbath?
Often, when people learn about the Sabbath, they seek some religious group to assemble with. But it is not enough to meet with just any religious body because it may accept the "Sabbath argument." This does not necessarily mean it is the TRUE Church of God.
God commands us to seek the body -- the Work -- which is empowered by God.
There is only ONE such Church!
It is doing THE WORK OF GOD. It is, as Jesus said it would be, a "little flock," persecuted, despised by the world. But it does have dedicated, consecrated, converted, fully instructed and trained, ordained MINISTERS in all parts of the world -- available to call on you, visit you in your home, answer your questions about the Sabbath, explain the Bible to you -- IF YOU REQUEST IT! But none of them will EVER call on you, unless YOU of your own free will request it.
But if you, of your own volition, want to know MORE about the very Church which Jesus Christ founded, and heads today -- if you'd like to ask questions about it, why not request a personal visit? We may be able to have one of God's own ministers call on you quite soon.
Hundreds and hundreds -- yes, thousands upon thousands -- are being converted -- their lives CHANGED -- by this WORK OF GOD, through The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and telecast worldwide, through The PLAIN TRUTH, the Ambassador College Correspondence Course, and the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God. Some, not realizing one of God's own called and consecrated ministers could call and explain, and answer questions, have JOINED one of the churches of this world. You cannot JOIN the true Church of God -- the Almighty GOD puts you in.
But if you have questions about the Sabbath, Christian fellowship, doctrines or practices -- or ANY questions about the Church or the Bible, or the Christian LIFE, write me. I cannot call and visit with you personally any more (as I used to do and wish I still could), but God has now given me many truly called and chosen men who CAN.
Weigh carefully the FACTS, according to your own BIBLE. Then make your decision and take what steps GOD shows you.
Herbert W Armstrong