A LARGE majority of those who observe the first day of the week instead of the seventh day, attempt to use the fourth commandment to justify their practice. However, this use of the fourth commandment is a modern invention. Fifteen hundred years of Christian history and ecclesiastical controversy passed before any church became so reckless as to attempt to steal the livery of the fourth commandment with which to clothe the Sunday-Sabbath.
To show how the commandment is wrested in the attempt to furnish scriptural authority for the unscriptural dogma of Sunday-sacredness, we will quote the commandment, with the juggling necessary to make it applicable:—
“Remember the Sabbath day [formerly the seventh, but now the first day] to keep it holy. Six days [which formerly excluded the seventh, but now includes it] shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the first day [formerly the seventh day] is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed” one day in seven, but no day in particular, and hallowed one day in seven, but no day in particular; and then authorized the clergy from the sixteenth century and onward to determine which day of the seven is holy, and to force that decision on all other men with the aid of the civil authority.
Although this rendering of the commandment is ridiculous, it is the rendering absolutely necessary to cover the position taken by ninety-nine out of every one hundred Sunday-keeping Protestants. Is it any wonder that thinking men should become disgusted with this jugglery with words and retort in the language of the Chicago Inter-Ocean editorial, of April 23, thus: “Once for all this clerical juggling with words should cease: Sunday is not the Sabbath, and every preacher knows it is not”?
Every Protestant who wrests the scripture in this manner vitiates the divine Word and silences his voice against papal perversions of scripture. If the Sunday-keeping Protestant can do violence to the fourth commandment as illustrated above, then the Roman Catholic can wrest the following precious text, thus:—
“If we confess our sin [to the priest], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” [in the flames of purgatory].
The Sunday-keeping Protestant protests against this rendering of the text, but his protest if nullified by the fact that he is guilty of doing equal violence to another text to justify his practice. Thus it is seen that the Sabbath controversy involves the integrity of the Scriptures, and with it the simplicity and purity of the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. And in contending for the integrity of the Sabbath command, Seventh-day Adventists are contending for the integrity of scriptures which contain the good news of salvation through faith in Christ, instead of through faith in priests, popes and purgatory.