August 10, 1893
SEEING that the churches, through the Congress of the United States, have gone as far as it is possible for human power to go toward changing the law of the Most High, it is well to inquire what this means.
SEEING that they have taken up the fourth commandment, and have taken out of it what the Lord distinctly and intentionally put there, and have put into it what the Lord never intended to be there, and which never could by any honest purpose be put there, it is proper to inquire what this amounts to.
THE Lord of heaven and earth, spake to men the fourth commandment with a voice that shook the earth; and afterward wrote it twice with his own finger on tables of stone. When he spoke it, and when he wrote it, he said plainly and distinctly: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” For forty years by three special acts each week he kept before the people in a way in which it was impossible to mistake, his own meaning of the statement that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Besides this, through the whole course of his revelation in the written word, and in the living Word in the life of Jesus Christ on earth, he always set before all people the great importance of this statement.
NOW all this being true, when the churches of the United States, through the Congress of the United States, deliberately declare and fix in the legislation of the Nation that “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” is, and for the people of the United States and the world shall be, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, it is important to study this high-handed procedure and see what its nature is. When the directory of the World’s Fair acted contrary to the strict and literal letter of the act of Congress in this matter, these churches denounced it as “anarchy,” “rebellion,” “nullification,” “treason,” ect., etc. This too when there had been no official construction of the act of Congress which the United States courts plainly declared was exceedingly ambiguous. According to their own judgment then, what is this action of the churches and Congress, not only in disregarding, but in deliberately changing, the plain word of the statute of the Most High, when in every possible way he himself had given the authoritative construction of it? what is this then, according to their own showing, but anarchy, rebellion, nullification, treason, etc., etc.?
IF this is what the action of the directory was with respect to the law and Government of the United States, then what but this same, is this action of the churches and Congress with respect to the law and government of the Most High? Shall the law and government of man be more sacred than that of God? Shall men tampering with the laws of man, be more guilty than their tampering with the law of God? Nay, shall they not in tampering with the divine law be as much more guilty as God is greater than man, and as his law is more sacred than that of man?
THERE is an instance in history which, with the comment of an eminent thinker, serves well as an illustration in this connection: Two hundred years ago the English colony of Ireland had a parliament of their own, subordinate however to the supreme authority of the Parliament of Great Britain. But, says the historian:—
The Irish Lords and Commons had presumed not only to re-enact an English act passed expressly for the purpose of binding them, but to re-enact it with alterations. The alterations were indeed small; but the alteration even of a letter was tantamount to a declaration of independence.”—Macaulay, History of England, middle of chapter XXIII.
As the alteration “even of a letter” the supreme law, by a subordinate power, is “tantamount to a declaration of independence;” then what but a complete and defiant declaration of independence, is this action of the churches and Congress of the United States in altering by a presumptuous “interpretation,” not merely a letter but the whole intent and purpose of one-tenth of the supreme law of the universe? Are the churches and Congress of the United States indeed independent of the Lord Almighty? Are they sovereign, and not subject with respect to the law of the Most High? Nay, nay. However sovereign and independent their action may declare them to be, they will yet find that in all these things wherein they have dealt so exceeding proudly, the Lord God is yet above them. Macaulay’s further comment on the Irish incident is most fitting to this present case:—
The colony in Ireland was emphatically a dependency; a dependency, not merely by the common laws of the realm, but by the nature of things. It was absurd to claim independence for a community which could not cease to be dependent without ceasing to exist.
EVERYBODY can see the force of this parallel. Nor is it in any sense overdrawn. It is fitting in every sense and in every degree. There never was on this earth a more high-handed proceeding than this action of the churches and Congress of the United States in changing so far as is in human power to change, the law and the Sabbath of the Lord God. The Sabbath of the Lord is not a matter merely of one day or another as such. It is a day it is true, and it is much more. The Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh day as he made it, is an institution bearing the impress, the nature, of Divinity. It bears ineradicably stamped upon it the image and superscription of the Creator of all things as such. And to substitute another day for the Sabbath which God established, as the churches and Congress of the United States have done, is to counterfeit the spiritual coin of the realm of Jehovah and force men to accept it as the genuine. We do not say that these people know what they have done, or what they are still doing. Neither did the Church managers and Pontius Pilate, eighteen hundred and sixty years ago, know what they were doing when they rejected and crucified the Lord and demanded a murderer in his stead. They did not know what they were doing, but they did it. These do not know what they have done, but they have done it. 
IT is written: “Hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:20. Notice, he does not say, It is a sign that I am the Lord, but “a sign that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” There is that in the Sabbath of the Lord which makes it to man the means of finding the true knowledge of the true God. For men know God truly only when they know, not only that he is, but that he is what he is. “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. In answer to the question, “What is his name?” he said, “I AM THAT I AM.” Exodus 3:14. Not only “I am” but “I am what I am.” Not merely “I am,” in point of existence, but “I am what I am,” in point of character. For when he proclaimed his name more fully he proclaimed it: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:5-7. This is the Lord, the true God; and the Sabbath of the Lord is the sign by which, when it is hallowed, men may know that he is such. Therefore the Sabbath of the Lord, which he says is the seventh day, being the sign by which men may know that the Lord is God, it follows as plainly as can be that the churches and Congress of the United States, in putting this, as far as lies in their power, away from men have done all they can to shut away from men the knowledge of the true God.
AGAIN, God is known, as he is, only in Jesus Christ, for “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Matthew 11:27. “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23. He is the Word—the expression of the thought—of God. So that practically and really he is God to us, as well as God with us. Therefore as God is known, as he is, only in and through Jesus Christ; and the Sabbath of the Lord being the sign by which men may know that the Lord is God; it is plain that the Sabbath of the Lord is the sign of what Jesus Christ is to men, and by which men may know what Jesus Christ is to them. Therefore again, when the churches and Congress of the United States, as far as lies in their power, have put away from men the Sabbath of the Lord and its observance, they have in reality done what they can to put away from men the knowledge of what Jesus Christ is to men. Again we freely admit that they know not what they are doing, any more than did the priests and Pharisees and politicians when they did all they could before to put away Christ from men, but they have done it as certainly as those did before. And in both instances they could not have done it any more certainly if they had known it. And these now will find, as did those eighteen hundred years ago, that their determined effort to put Him away from the knowledge of men only the more powerfully brings him to the knowledge of men.
IT is a sign, says he, “that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” Wherein is it s sign? The first of all things that God is to anything or any person in the universe is Creator. Therefore, of the Sabbath it is written: “It is a sign…. for [because] in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed—[took delight].” Exodus 31:17. It is a sign, therefore, by which men may know the Creator of all things, and that the Lord Jehovah is he. And in these days when “science” is taking the place of God, and evolution the place of creation, it is time that men should know God and his creative power for themselves. And now is the time as never before, when the sign—the Sabbath of the Lord—by which men may know him shall be exalted that men may find him and know him for themselves. It is not strange, therefore, that the enemy of all righteousness should take supreme measures to shut away from the world the sign by which men may know the creative power of God in Jesus Christ.
FOR it was through Jesus Christ that the power of God was manifested in the creation of the heavens and the earth and all that in them is. For “God who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” Hebrews 1:1, 2. “God … created all things by Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:2. And this is why he challenges all false gods upon the point that they have not made the heavens and earth. Jeremiah 10:12-15. It was Jesus Christ who spoke, when, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth…. For he [Jesus Christ] spake, and it was; he commanded and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9. It was Jesus Christ who rested the seventh day at the close of creation. It was he who blessed the seventh day; it was he who hallowed it and sanctified it. It was he, Jesus Christ, who thus made the Sabbath—the rest—of the Lord on the seventh day. And the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord Jesus Christ thy God. It was he who made the Sabbath for man. It was he who set it to be to man the sign by which he might know what he, Jesus Christ, the Creator, is to man. And this is why it is so emphatically true that they who repudiate and put away the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord, do in effect repudiate and put away Jesus Christ. This is what the Sabbath was to man before he sinned. This is what it would have still been to him if he never had sinned.
BUT man sinned. He did not remain faithfully a part of the Lord’s original creation. Through sin, man gave over to the enemy of God, himself and all his dominion. All was wholly lost. But though man and all was lost, yet God in Jesus Christ freely and willingly became his Saviour. The Creator became the Redeemer. He by whom God created all things, is He by whom God would save all. He through whom the power of God was manifested in creation, He is the same one through whom the power of God is manifested in salvation. And the power of God, whenever, or wherever, or unto whatever purpose it may be manifested, is the same power; for he is the same yesterday and to-day and forever, he changeth not, with him is no variableness nor shadow of turning—it is ever the same power, the power of God, creative power. And the power of God manifested through Jesus Christ unto salvation is only the same power that was manifested through Jesus Christ unto creation. Therefore salvation is only creation over again. “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” 2 Corinthians 5:11, R.V. It is yet further evident that salvation is nothing more nor less than creation over again, because the work of salvation, of redemption, when completed is only the accomplishment, in spite of sin, of the original creation as it would have been and remained had there been no sin. Therefore, salvation, redemption, being creation, it follows inevitably that in the nature of things, the sign of creation is the sign of salvation. Redemption being the same power—the power of God manifested through the same one—Jesus Christ, unto the accomplishment of the original purpose, in the nature of things the same sign, the sign of the power of God manifested in the beginning of the original purpose, is still the sign of that same power in the final accomplishment of the original purpose. Therefore it is the everlasting truth that the Sabbath of the Lord which he set to be the sign of his power manifested in creation, is also the sign of his power manifested in redemption. The Sabbath of the Lord, which he set to be the sign by which men may know that he is the Lord, is that indeed; and it is the sign by which men may know him in redemption as in creation; for redemption is creation, the Creator is the Redeemer. See John 1:1-3, 14. Colossians 1:12-15. Hebrews 1:1-3. Ephesians 3:8-12. Isaiah 40:25-29.
As salvation is creation, as the Creator is the Saviour, so likewise he challenges all false gods upon the point that they cannot save, as well as upon the point that they cannot create. Thus: “They have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: Who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:20-22. Thus it more and more appears from every consideration of Scripture that he who created is he who saves, and that therefore that which is the sign of him who created is also the sign of him who saves; that the sign which he has given that men may know that he is the Lord our God, is also the sign by which men may know that he is the Lord our Saviour; for he is Saviour because he is God—“a just God and a Saviour and there is none else.” And the Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh day, is this sign. The Lord made is so, and he says so, and it is so. For again, it is written: “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.”—Ezekiel 20:12. And as certainly as there is no other true God, no other true Saviour, no other true Creator, and no other true Sanctifier—as there is no other and can be  no other, so certainly there can be no other sign by which men may know as he is, the true God and Saviour, the true Creator and Sanctifier, than the sign which he has named—the seventh day the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
THEREFORE, this Sabbath question is not a question merely of days as such; it is not a question merely as to whether we shall have one day or another as such; it is a question as to whether we shall worship the one true God or another, and whether we shall have him the one true Saviour or another. It is a question as to whether we shall honor the one true Creator, and have him for our Sanctifier, or another. It is a question as to whether we shall wear the sign of the true God and of His power to save, or whether we shall wear the sign of another and of his powerlessness to save. Which sign do you wear? That other sign and that other proposed saviour we shall examine next week.
A. T. J.