May 6, 1897
THE Bible is not difficult to understand when it is taken as it says.
Whoever will allow the Bible to mean what it says, will never have any difficulty in knowing what it means.
And whoever will allow that the Author of the Bible is capable of knowing what he wants to say, and that he has clearness of mind enough to say what he wants to say, just as he wants to say it, will have no difficulty in taking the Bible as it says, and consequently will have no difficulty in understanding it.
The Bible comes to us as the Word of God. In itself it claims to be the Word of God. It is the Word of God. And whoever will receive it as the Word of God, will find it to be that. Then to allow that the Author of the Bible had sense enough to know exactly what he wanted to say, and ability to say it just as he wanted to say it, is only to allow that God had sense enough to know what he wanted to say, and had sufficient clearness of mind to say it as he wanted to. In other words, it is only to allow that God in giving his Word knew what he meant, and meant what he said.
When the Bible is taken this way and treated thus, no one will have any difficulty whatever in understanding it. And for any man not to take it this way, and not to treat it thus: that is for any man to say that the Bible does not mean what it says, and that it is left for the man himself to say what it means—this is only to claim that he knows better than God just how it ought to have been said, and just what should have been meant. In other words, he puts himself in the place of God.
But when the Bible is taken just as it says, and is allowed to mean exactly what it says because the Author of it knew well enough what he wanted to say to be able to say just what he meant, it is all plain enough. Even a child can understand it then, for it is written, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no case enter therein.” Now the Word of God is the word of the kingdom. Through that Word we enter into the kingdom. And as whosoever does not receive that kingdom as a little child, cannot have it, it is perfectly plain that it is intended by the Word that a little child shall understand the Word, and that a little child can understand it. Even grown people must receive it as little children, and must become “as little children” in order to receive it.
Any system, therefore, any writing, any way that is taken, by any body, that has a tendency to mystify the sayings of the Bible, to turn them into hard problems or to make them difficult to understand, can never be the right way. And anything offered as an exposition of any doctrine that presents a problem difficult to be understood cannot be the truth. Therefore again, it is written, “I fear lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from simplicity that is in Christ.”
The Word of Christ is simple. His Word is plain. It is as simple as A, B, C. And anything that tends to  make it anything else than plain and simple, cannot be the right way. The simplicity that is in Christ is the perfection of simplicity. When he was on earth he taught all classes of people at once. The common people heard him gladly because he spoke with such simplicity of language, and such directness of meaning that they could understand him. And it was only the subtlety of the serpent in the Scribes and Pharisees that pretended not to be able to understand him.
It was so in the very beginning. When God placed in the Garden the first human pair, he said to them plainly, “Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Yet there came the serpent with his subtlety and proposed that the Lord did not mean what he said, that it was necessary that it should be explained, and that he was the one who was qualified to explain it and convey to them the true meaning. He therefore said, “Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”
Thus Satan proposed that God had not said exactly what he meant, and had kept back the real meaning, and had left his saying dark and problematical. That is the first explanation that was ever offered: the first comment that was ever made upon the Word of God. And everything since, that has ever tended to make problematical the Word of God, to make it mean otherwise than exactly as it says, is following the same lead. It is of the subtlety that beguiles from the simplicity that is in Christ.
It has been well written of Moses that “He gave God credit for wisdom to know what he meant, and firmness of purpose to mean what he said; and therefore Moses acted as seeing the Invisible.” And it was “By faith that Moses endured as seeing the invisible.” It is therefore faith to give God credit for wisdom to know what he means, and firmness of purpose to mean what he says. And “without faith it is impossible to please him.”
NOW it is a fact that there is much discussion of the Sabbath question. Many people seem to have great difficulty in knowing just what day is the Sabbath; yet the Word of God says plainly “the seventh day is the Sabbath.” Any person who will simply accept that statement as it stands, taking it simply as it says, will never have any difficulty at all in knowing exactly what day is the Sabbath. And the Bible throughout speaks just as plainly and is as easily understood in all its statements with reference to the Sabbath, as it speaks in this sentence quoted.
The people who accept the Bible statements exactly as they are on this subject, never do have any difficulty at all in knowing what day is the Sabbath. But those who will not accept it have endless confusion and difficulty: and in fact, never do get the question settled to their perfect satisfaction.
That “Great Discovery” lately made by the Christian Endeavorers is only another instance of the confusion, mystification and difficulty that people find by not taking the Word of God simply as it says. It is another instance of the subtlety that beguiles from the simplicity that is in Christ. It has taken years of subtle invention and contrivance, of cutting and trying, of intricate elaboration, to produce what is now lauded as a “Great Discovery.”
And now that it is presented to the world, instead of its being plain and simple as divine truth always is, it is so contradictory to the Scriptures that no man can believe both; and in itself is so intricate and involved that an examination of it forces the query as to whether the author of it himself understands it. If the subject of the Sabbath or any other subject in the Bible were set forth after any such order as this “Great Discovery” is, every man in the world would have just cause for saying that the Bible could not be understood: for it would then lack the essential element of a divine revelation—that is, simplicity.
He who knows most can always make plainest and simplest what he has to tell, however deep the subject he may be discussing. God, knowing all things, and being the embodiment of all wisdom, is capable of making subjects that are of eternal depth so plain that a little child can receive them and understand them. But when anybody, whether it be the devil or a man, not believing what the Lord says just as he says it, undertakes to interpret it and by subtle distinctions to tell what the Lord means, he produces only infinite and eternal confusion. And all who allow themselves to be so beguilded from the simplicity that is in Christ, inevitably find it to be so.
WHEN the Scripture is read that says plainly, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,” those who do not believe it and will not accept it as the truth of God, and will not allow that he knew what he wanted to say and then said just what he meant, put on an air of child-like innocense [sic.] and inquire “The seventh day of what?” or “What seventh day is the Sabbath?”
In the very first chapter of the Bible the Word of God is, that in six days the Lord created the heavens and the earth and all things that are in them. Then the same word follows with a statement that on the seventh day he rested, and that he blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested form the work which he had created and made. And that particular seventh day, that rest day is the Sabbath, for Sabbath is rest.
That six days of creative work followed by the seventh day of rest, formed the first week of time that this world knows anything about. And from that record just as it stands, without any interpretation or explanation whatever, it is perfectly plain that the seventh day, which is God’s rest day; the seventh day, which  is the Sabbath of the Lord, is the seventh day of the week.
Such is the record that the Lord himself has given of his own creative acts through the first six days of the world’s existence, and of his rest on the seventh day of the world’s existence. These together compose the original week of the world’s existence. And every one who will believe the record just as it stands and simply as it says, will know for himself and to his perfect satisfaction what seventh day it is that is meant in the Bible, when it says that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
THEN if any one wants to have another statement of the case, he needs only to turn to the 20th chapter of Exodus and read what the Lord himself said with his own voice, speaking from the top of Sinai. To his people there assembled and for all people for all time who will be his people, the Lord himself said, “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; … for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and allowed it.”
Here the Lord says that the people are to work six days and rest the seventh, because at creation he himself had worked six days and then rested the seventh day. Now any one who is willing to allow that the Lord tells the truth, and was able to remember at Sinai what he had done at creation, will have no difficulty whatever in understanding what seventh day it is that is referred to in this language. For it is the identical day of his rest at the close of the six days of creation, which cannot possibly be any other than the seventh day of the week; for there was no other existing period of which it could possibly be the seventh day.
The people who stood at the base of Sinai that day and heard that voice, have continued, through their descendants, unto this day; and are scattered over the whole earth, amongst all the nations. And the day that there God gave them, upon his own count, by his own voice, in connection with the facts in which he himself was the actor, they have never lost.
IF any one wants yet further evidence, come fifteen hundred years still further down. Then he who made the heavens and the earth, who rested that seventh day at the close of the work of creation, he who spoke form the top of Sinai the word which we have just quoted, stood upon the earth himself in the form of a man as a teacher sent from God. He observed this same seventh day as the Sabbath. He ever called it the Sabbath.
And it was the same day that the people of Israel had observed as the Sabbath, from the day that he himself had spoken from the top of Sinai. And though there was constant criticism of all his words and ways on the part of the Scribes, Pharisees, Lawyers and Rabbis, yet there was never any shadow of a question raised as to whether he observed the proper day as the Sabbath. There was always agreement between day as the Sabbath. There was always agreement between him and them as to that. Their objections against him were solely with reference to his manner of observing the day. And he in this as in everything else was the grand exemplar of the right way for all mankind forever.
THUS three separate times the Lord himself has stated the facts concerning the origin and basis of the Sabbath, and has made plain exactly what seventh day it is. First, in the record of the original creation in the first and second chapters of Genesis. Secondly, in repeating with his own voice the record of the original creation. Thirdly, when upon the earth he repeated with his own voice and manifested in his own life the living truth as the example for all mankind.
O that men would believe the word of the Lord which he has taken all this pains to make plain to their understanding. Why will men continue to allow the same serpent that beguiled Eve, and in the same way, through his subtlety, to corrupt their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ?