Stand Loyal to the Gift-Part 3
“…then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14
How Does this Apply to Me in My Life Today?
By Vance Ferrell
FOUR VITAL PRINCIPALS
God’s plan to save men from sin is based upon four vital principles. Satan is working to destroy one or more of these principles from the mind of every person now living on earth. He well knows that he only needs to substitute one of four changes in order to succeed. It matters not which one it is.
Here they are:
1. Change the authority of the Bible, in explaining and defining the way of salvation,-to the authority of a church, through the decrees of its councils, the sayings of its “saints,” or the dogmas of its leaders.
Church authority is very important-Christ gave it to us-but never when set above Scripture.
2. Eliminate Christ, our only source of righteousness in attaining salvation,-through the introduction of meritorious works, image worship, invocation, or legalism (attempting to obey God’s law by one’s own efforts, without relying wholly on the merits of Christ’s intercession, which alone can enable him to do it).
3. Abolish the blood atonement, through the rejection of His atoning sacrifice on earth or the rejection of its application in heaven or by the substitution of the sacrifice of the Mass.
4. Destroy the unchangeable moral Ten Commandment Law, the only standard of sin and righteousness,-through an entire rejection of it or by changing one or more of its rules (especially seen in the second regarding image worship, and the fourth regarding the seventh day Sabbath).
Each of the above changes has been introduced into the church through the ages, and now exists in various denominations. The one change which has become the most strikingly widespread is the change of the Fourth Commandment. (You will find it in its original form, as given by God, in the Bible: Read Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 16; 20:8-11.)
WHO MADE THE CHANGE?
The Bible prophesies that a power would arise that would seek to change God’s law (Daniel 7:25). Such a change has been attempted. The moral law, resting beneath the throne of God, tells us that the seventh day is the one selected for us, by God, as our Sabbath rest. But men today are observing the first day. How did this come about? When did it happen? What does the Bible say about it? What should we do about it?
The seventh-day Sabbath was not changed by Christ. Jesus is the One who created all things (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; John 1:1-3, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3) and One who gave the law at Sinai (1 Corinthians 10:4; Nehemiah 9:12-13). Jesus, therefore, made the Sabbath at Creation, and spoke it at Sinai; and Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8).
The seventh-day Sabbath was not changed by God. God does not change (Matthew 3:6; James 1:17; Ecclesiastes 3:14), and His moral law does not change (Psalm 119:152; 111:7-8: Matthew 5:17-19).
The “Lord's Day,” mentioned in Revelation 1:10, is the “day of the Lord” in the fourth commandment-the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-11). The statement, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” is found seven times in the Bible (Exodus 16:26; 20:11; 13:12; 31:15; 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:14). Jesus, the Creator, (Hebrews 1:1-2), is the One who gave us the Sabbath, and therefore the One who says, “The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28).
While on earth Jesus kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), and fulfilled the law (gave a perfect example of obedience).-He did not come to abolish or destroy it (Matthew 5:17-19). Rather, He magnified it and explained its spiritual significance (Isaiah 42:21; cf. Matthew 5:21-22; 27-28). He always kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16); and, following His sacrifice on Friday, He rested in the tomb on the Sabbath (Luke 23:54-24:1).
What about after His death? He had given His followers no command to cease observing it; and so, following His burial on Friday, they prepared for it, and then “rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Not until the Sabbath was past did they bring the spices, they had prepared on Friday, to the tomb for His burial (read Luke 23:52-24:1). Jesus’ followers sacredly observed it during His life and following His death (Acts 15:19-21; 18:11-14).
There is no word, no hint of a change anywhere in the Bible-and certainly not in the New Testament. Jesus, Himself, gave a special command to those living, when the prophecy of Matthew 24 would be fulfilled, to sacredly guard their Sabbath observance (Matthew 24:20). This prophecy was partially fulfilled when Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed in A.D. 70-39 years after Calvary. Many of its prophecies are still to be fulfilled in the future, and so this means that the command of Matthew 24:20 is for us today.
Some think that there must be a text somewhere in the Bible that says we should keep Sunday, the first day of the week instead of Saturday, the seventh day. One man repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who would produce such a text. He still has the money.
The reward was never claimed, and here is why: Sunday, the first day of the week, is mentioned in the Bible only eight times. Genesis 1:5 tells about the first day of Creation Week. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2, 9; Luke 14:1; John 20:19-all refer to Christ’s resurrection from the dead (following His rest in the tomb on the seventh-day Sabbath).
Nothing is said of its supposed sanctity (on the contrary, Luke 24:12-15 tells of His 15-mile journey with two disciples on that same first Sunday after His death). John 20:19 tells of a Sunday gathering, but not for worship, but “for fear of the Jews.”
There are 84 Sabbath services referred to in Acts, and only one Sunday service (Acts 20:7-14). Paul held a farewell meeting “on the evening after Sabbath” (therefore on Saturday night)-In the Bible, the new day begins at sunset (Leviticus 23:32; Genesis 1:5). The next morning, Sunday morning, he traveled over land 19 miles to meet Luke and other friends who came, by boat, to join him (Acts 20:13-14). At this Sunday meeting they “broke bread.” This does not indicate Sunday sacredness, for “they broke bread daily” (Acts 2:46). There is as much reason for keeping Sunday sacred because of Acts 20:7 as there is for keeping Wednesday sacred because of Acts 20:15-17).
The last Sunday text, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, is the only time in all his writings that Paul mentions the first day. This passage does not mean a weekly meeting, but just the contrary: “Let everyone of you lay by him in store”-privately, at home-so that there will be “no gatherings when I come.” The believers normally kept Sabbath; and, after it was passed, they were to figure their earnings for the week and then set aside a portion. Budgets and bookkeeping are not proper business for the Sabbath, so Paul told them to do it on Sunday! “Let each one of you put on one side and store at home” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Weymouth).
Paul frequently spoke against those who professed the law and rejected Christ. This is just as bad as to profess Christ and knowingly reject His law; so Paul spoke against such a practice. But he did not seek to change the law. “God forbid, yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Paul would have no more right than we to change the moral code of God, and he knew it.
Some suggest that possibly the seven-day weekly cycle has been changed at some time in the past, and that the true Sabbath cannot now be identified. Thank God, He has not let this happen. He will not allow a clear-cut command to be so clouded.
Abundant historical evidence is available to establish that the seventh-day weekly cycle has never been changed (space forbids including it here, but it may be obtained free of charge by writing to the publishers of this tract. Evidence more irrefutable than paper records has been provided).
God has preserved the Jewish race alive through the ages for several reasons. One of these is to provide living proof in every generation, as to which day is the seventh-day Sabbath of the Bible. This is an evidence that cannot be dented. Men may reject God’s Sabbath, but they cannot destroy its identity. Ask any Jewish neighbor which day is the Sabbath. he will tell you that it is Saturday-the seventh day.
We have seen what the Bible says-now, what do men say?-Do men claim that there is a Bible text for the change?
Roman Catholics say there is no Bible proof:
“You may read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday” (Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers, 89).
“Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles…from the beginning to the end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transference of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” (“Catholic Press,” Sydney, Australia, August 25, 1900).
Protestants say there is no Bible proof:
“The notion of a formal substitution (of the first for the seventh day)…and the transference to it, perhaps in a spiritual form, of the Sabbatical obligation established by the fourth commandment, has no basis…whatever either in Holy Scripture or in Christian antiquity” (Smith and Chetham’s Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Article, “Sabbath”).
“It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping Sabbath. the Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday…There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday” (Dr. R.W. Dale in The Ten Commandments, 106-107 [Congregational]).
“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath was not Sunday. It will, however, be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely not” (Dr. E. R. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, report of his sermon at the Baptist Ministers’ Convention, in New York Examiner, November 16, 1893 [Baptist]).
“There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Sunday…into the rest of Sunday no Divine law enters” (Canon Eyton, of Westminster, in Ten Commandments [Presbyterian]).
“The Bible commandment says on the seventh day thou shalt rest. That is Saturday. Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday” (Phillip Carrington [Episcopal], quoted in Toronto Daily Star, October 26, 1949).
WHEN AND WHY WAS IT MADE?
Historians say there is no Bible proof:
“Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of Sunday is known to have been ordained is the Sabbatical Edict of Constantine, A.D. 321” (Chambers’ Encyclopedia, article: “Sunday”).
This Roman emperor had not yet professed Christianity at the time of this edict, and he speaks of Sunday as the venerable day of the sun” in the decree. The other main religion in the empire at that time, Mithraism, was a system of sun worship. The followers of Mithra worshiped him on the fist day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and for this reason Constantine made this edict of A.D. 321, in order to strengthen the weakening empire through the uniting of the two main religions found within it.
“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the early apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, and far from the early apostolic church to transfer the law of the Sabbath to Sunday” (Neander, History of the Christian Religion and Church, 186).
God predicted this attempted change in Daniel 7:25. the little horn, or Papacy, was to “think to change” God’s laws. The Papacy removed the second commandment against idolatry, changed the fourth commandment which tells us which day is the Sabbath, and made two commandments of the tenth, which forbids us to covet. You will find this in any Roman Catholic catechism.
The big question, then, is Why did the Roman Catholic Church try to change the law?
“Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and transmute the very instruments of demon worship to an evangelical use,…the rulers of the church from early times were prepared, should occasion arise, to adopt, imitate, or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy of the educated class” (Cardinal Newman [Roman Catholic], in his Christian Doctrine).
“The Church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen” (“Catholic World,” Easter Issue, March, 1895).
“And indeed, all writers who are acquainted with antiquity-be they lay or clerical, Protestant or papal, Italian or foreign-agree as to the pagan origin of Rome’s present usages and ceremonies” (Mourant Brock).
The church tried to change the law and encouraged Constantine to pass civil ordinances, or Sunday laws, to support their change, in order to adapt to the pagan customs and the pagans themselves who were coming into the church. Such pagan customs included the worship of the sun on Sunday.
Only God can change the law, and so Paul predicted the rise of a man who would call himself God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
“We hold upon this earth the place of Almighty God” (Pope Leo XIII).
“This judicial authority will even include the power to forgive sins” (The Catholic Encyclopedia).
“The Pope can modify the Divine Law” (Ferrort’s Ecclesiastical Dictionary [Roman Catholic]).
“The pope has authority and has often exercised it, to dispense with the commands of Christ…the pope’s will stands for reason. He can dispense above the law; and of wrong make right, by correcting and changing the laws” (from Pope Nicholas’ time).
Does Catholicism admit making the change?
It really boasts the fact:
“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday” (“Catholic Mirror,” September 23, 1893).
“Ques. Which is the Sabbath day?
“Ans. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
“Ques. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
“Ans. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday” (priest Peter Getermann, Convert’s Catechism [Roman Catholic], 50).
“The Bible says, Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. The Catholic Church says, No. By my Divine power I abolish the Sabbath day, and command you to keep holy the first day of the week” (“American Sentinel” [N.Y., Roman Catholic], June 1, 1893, 173, by priest T. Enright, C.S.S.R., of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, Missouri).
GOD CALLS MEN TO RESTORE HIS STANDARD
God predicted that men would attempt to change the law and the Sabbath (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and He foretells that men, living at the close of time, will restore it in their lives (Isaiah 58:12-14). He says that the final remnant of His people, living just before He returns, will be keeping it (Revelation 12:17; 14:12-15). He says that those who enter the gates of the New Jerusalem and partake of its fruit will be keeping it (Revelation 22:14). And he says that, in the New Earth, He will be worshiped by all His creatures on the Sabbath (Isaiah 66:22-23).
Prophecy declares that, as the period of Investigative Judgment is about to close, and just before probation ends, a great crisis will come upon the nations of earth (Revelation 14:6-14). This crisis will arise in regard to God’s great standard of righteousness-the standard of the Judgment-the moral law. Read Revelation 13 and 14 carefully. This tells us that, in our own time, men will unite through legislative decrees to enforce the observance of a counterfeit standard.
Rapid developments can now be seen in the passage of Sunday closing laws in both state and national assemblies. Many, in supporting such laws, little realize the events and conditions they are thereby hastening; but, when men unite to enforce a man-made Sabbath, it will be the signal for the end. Watch the Sunday “blue law” movement, read your Bible, and be ready to act. Perilous times are ahead.
THE SEAL OF GOD
In the Bible, seal, sign, and mark are used interchangeably (cf. Romans 4:11; Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 7:2-3). The time is just ahead when one class will receive the mark of obedience to God’s law; the other will receive the mark of rebellion against it.
What is the Seal of God? By the agency of His Spirit, He seals His servants (Ephesians 1:13) for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). That with which they are sealed is the Constitution of heaven—the Ten Commandments. All will see that they belong to God (Isaiah 8:16).
God’s identifying seal of ownership is the fourth commandment—the Sabbath commandment. An official government seal must have three essential elements. It must include; 1. The name of the person issuing the seal; 2. The official title of the person; 3. The jurisdiction, or dominion, over which the official rules. All this is found in the Fourth Commandment—the Sabbath Commandment: the “Maker,” or “Creator;” the dominion—“heaven and earth” Exodus (Exodus 20: 8-11). The Sabbath is a perpetual sign of His Creatorship and Lordship (Exodus 31:17, 13; Ezekiel 20:20). God’s Seal, instituted at the close of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11). Will remain in effect throughout eternity) Isaiah 66:22-23).
There are many, many, false gods today. Who is the true God? How can we identify Him? The Bible tells us how—through His Seal. This is why it is so important. It is His special Mark.
The True God is the Creator—the One who made us (Jeremiah 10:10-25). We worship Him on the seventh day because God has given it to us as the memorial of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and because it is Creation that gives God the right to rule and receive our worship (Jeremiah 10:10-13; Revelation 4:11; Isaiah 45:15-18). The Sabbath is the special Bible sign, or seal, for God’s people that “the Lord is God: It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3; Psalm 95:6-11).
The Sabbath is the identifying sign that the Lord is God. It forbids and eliminates idolatry in those who keep it, for it is the memorial of the Creator (read Ezekiel 20:20; Exodus 31:16-17).
And, in addition, the Sabbath is also the sign, or seal, of redemption and recreation from sin (read Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20: 12). It is the special symbol, or seal, of righteousness by faith (Hebrews 3 and 4).
The weekly rest from our secular labor, in accordance with God’s commandment, symbolizes this ceasing from our own plans and efforts to attain righteousness and our quiet and full submission to Jesus’ righteousness.
God’s seal, instituted at the close of Creation (Genesis 1:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11) and based upon the unchangeable facts of Creation (Exodus 31:17;20:8-11), will remain in effect throughout eternity (Isaiah 66:22-23).
Properly kept, in worship and communion with God (especially and whenever possible, out-of-doors among the things of nature), the Sabbath is a continual witness of the Creator and a weekly deepening of our bond of union with Him. It becomes the hallowed time wherein is treasured our deepest joys and our fondest memories. It becomes the special time when the seal of His character—His moral law—is placed in our lives (Isaiah 8:16). For it is on this day, above all others, that we come the closest to our Creator. We think His thoughts after Him—and these thoughts become our own (Isaiah 58:13-14).
THE MARK OF THE BEAST
What is the mark of the beast? Revelation 13 tells us. It is the mark, or sign, of opposition to God and His seal. It is instituted by the beast and its image. The beast is the power that “speaks blasphemies” (Revelation 13:5-6), was worshiped “by all the world” (Revelation 13:3-4, 7-8), was persecuted and “made war with the saints: (Daniel 7:25) for 42 prophetic months, or 1260 years, during the Dark Ages. One head was wounded, or taken captive, at the close of this period, A.D. 1798 (Revelation 13: 3, 10), and it has since been shorn of its previous power; but prophecy declares that this power will be revived (Revelation 13:3).
The number of the beast, “for it is the number of a man,” is found in his official title: VICARIUS FILII DEI, Vicegerent of the Son of God. This name is blasphemy (Revelation 13:5-6); for the One now upon earth and second in command to Christ, is the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:13; cf. Acts 10:19-20;13:2). Jesus calls sin against the Holy Spirit blasphemy (Matthew 12:31-32). This name is found in the papal tiara, or crown, of the pope in the Vatican at Rome, and is one of his titles.
The beast, or Papacy, is a combining of church and state—a religious power obtaining the aid of civil law to enforce its doctrinal beliefs, upon pain of criminal punishment.
God predicted the papal change of His law (Daniel 7:25). Dos the Papacy deny the change?—She not only does not deny the change, but she claims the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as her “mark.”
First, she proves her power by this act:
“Ques. Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“Ans. “Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her—she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority” (priest Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism [Roman Catholic], 174).
“Ques. How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
“Ans. “Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin” (priest Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine [Roman Catholic], 58).
Second, she claims the act and its significance as a MARK of her power:
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act…and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power” (from the office of Cardinal Gibbons, through Chancellor H.F. Thomas [Roman Catholic].
JESUS IS WAITING FOR YOU TO DECIDE
Two verses before the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 14:14-15) is the third angel’s call—a worldwide message to shun the mark of the beast and to seek the religion of the saints: “Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” Revelation 14:12).
God is calling us back to the pure Christianity of the saints of old. He is calling us back to true Bible religion. He is calling us to obey the Father’s laws, by faith in the Son’s righteousness. He is calling us to righteousness (right doing) by faith.
The President of Redemptorist College (Roman Catholic), in Kansas City, Missouri, the Jesuit priest, Thomas Enright, C.S.S.R., repeatedly offered $1,000 for one Bible text that would prove Sunday to be the true Sabbath.
The news of the offer traveled across the nation and made quite a stir, but the money was never claimed. No one could find such a text. The present author has a photo static copy of a letter in Enright’s own handwriting, dated June 16, 1899: “I hereby offer $1,000, to anyone who can prove to me, from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin, to keep Sunday holy” (Thomas Enright, C.S.S.R.).”
The real issue behind the matter is brought out in the Hartford (Kansas) Weekly Call, of February 22, 1884, where Enright wrote: “I will give one thousand dollars to any man who will prove by the Bible alone that Sunday is the day we are bound to keep…the observance of Sunday is solely a law of the Catholic Church. The Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday and all the world bows down and worships upon that day in silent obedience to the mandates of the Catholic Church.”
God loved Adam and Eve. He gave them a world of wonderful things—all of it the out flowing of a deep, unutterable, love. But the fruit of one tree He asked them not to partake of. This was to be a test of their love for Him. Tests are needed in life, for it is by the tests that we grow. Each of us knows this fact, but God who made us knows it better than we. God loves us today, with the same deep love. His plans for us have not changed. Deeper than we can imagine is His desire to take sin out of our hearts. He has given us His holy Ten Commandment Law to reveal His purpose for our lives—holiness, Godlikeness—to be obtained alone through the blood (the obedient life) of Jesus.
He has placed a test in the law—the test of faith—that by it we might grow. As by faith we come and worship Him on His day, He intends to give us power to overcome sin in our lives. The Bible speaks much of the “Sabbath blessing.” This blessing is real, and it is for those only who worship God on the day He gives for worship. Come to God this very week, next Sabbath, and begin a new life, a new walk, a new experience—with your Creator.