IN Dr. Crafts’ work, “Practical Christian Sociology,” referred to in our issue of Dec. 19, 1895, he makes this argument(?) for the first day of the week, to which he applies the names “Sabbath” and “Lord’s Day”:—
That first gospel, the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, and it should bruise his heel, pictures the promised Christ as a bruised Conqueror, a Saviour-King. The later prophecies painted the Coming One sometimes as a sufferer, sometimes as a sovereign, which led some of the Jews that were unable to conceive of a king as a voluntary sufferer to expect two Messiahs. At the birth of Christ two cries rang out together: “Unto you is born a Saviour.” “Where is he that is born King?” On the Mount of Coronation Jesus “spake of his decease.” When we recall the cross at the Lord’s Supper that very name should prompt us to look above his wounded feet and hands and side and brow, to the words above his head, “This is the King;” to which also points the word sacrament, whose original meaning is a soldier’s oath of loyalty to his king. These double pictures of the Saviour-King culminate in Revelation in the throne on which was a Lamb “as it had been slain.” “The gospel of our salvation” is also “the gospel of the kingdom,” the good news including not only pardon through Jesus the Saviour, but also protection and direction through Christ the King.
At the portals of that same book of Revelation, which is preëminently the book of Christ’s Kingship, stands the most impressive sign of his present earthly authority, “the Lord’s Day,” the profound significance of which in this connection I have never seen developed. One day in every week an invisible Lord commands us to halt in the most absorbing pursuits of our earthly life; in the pursuit of money and business: in the pursuit of pleasure; in the pursuit of politics and fame; in the pursuit of education; and we halt as a sign that we believe in that invisible Lord and are loyal to his law. There is no other sign of our faith and loyalty so impressive to a selfish world as this twenty-four-hour halt in our work every week at Christ’s command. The Lord’s day is therefore the “sign,” the ensign of our Lord Jesus Christ; its field of blue spangled with stars and sun; its stripes the black and white of night and day, and the many colors of sunrise and sunset; and this flag of Christ is carried round the world every week and is saluted by some in every land by the laying aside of tools and toil, in token of their loyalty to a living Lord. Breaking the sabbath, therefore, is tearing the flag of the government of the universe, and so an offense kindred to treason. We have forgotten all the murderers of the Revolution, but not Benedict Arnold, because an offense against a good government the calm verdict of history adjudges to be a greater wrong than any that can be done to individuals. Desecrating the Lord’s day, in addition to any wrong to workers or to society that it involves, is high treason to the Lord himself. 457
With the first of these paragraphs we have no fault to find. The cross and the throne do indeed both appear in the Lord’s Supper. The words, “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come,” 458 point us not only back to the valley of humiliation, but forward to Mount Zion; and the eye of faith sees Christ not only as the Man of Calvary, the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” but beholds him coming again as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
But the second paragraph is as full of error as the first one is of truth. “The Lord’s day” truly stands “at the portals” of the book of Revelation “as the most impressive sign” of Christ’s authority, but that day is not Sunday, nor does it stand for civil authority exercised by self-appointed vicars of the Son of God.
The only Lord’s day known to the Scriptures of truth is the seventh day, “the Sabbath of the Lord,” kept by patriarchs, prophets, apostles, the holy women at the tomb, and by our Lord himself. That this day, honored alike by God and his people, is indeed the Lord’s day, is evident from Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58:13; and Matthew 12:8. The first of these texts says plainly: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;” in the second, the Lord calls the Sabbath “my holy day;” while in the third, that same Lord, as the Son of man, styles himself “Lord even of the Sabbath day.” The conclusion is irresistible that the seer of Patmos was in the Spirit upon the day divinely sanctified and blest for man,—“the Sabbath of the Lord.”
But the Lord’s day of Revelation 1:10 is none the less the badge of Christ’s authority. Dr. Crafts himself says:—
When the laws and law principles of the Old Testament have been added to those of the New, we have not yet before us the complete law of Christ, which includes also the so-called “laws of nature,” “the Oldest Testament,” of which Christ is divinely declared to be the author. “In the beginning was the Word. The world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” Nor does it yet know Christ as its Creator. Although John three times declares that “the world was made by him,” and although the book of Hebrews twice declares the same; and although Paul in Colossians, which presents Christ as King of the Cosmos as well as King of the Church, proclaims that in him were all things created, and that with him all creation is filled, and that by him all things “hold together,” yet how seldom to a child’s curious questions about the great world does anyone answer “Jesus made it”! He is known as the author of “the new creation,” only—as Redeemer, but not as Creator. If the so-called “Apostles’ Creed,” which is partly responsible for the exclusion of Christ from the work of creation, is to be made truly apostolic, in view of the foregoing words of apostles we must change a word and say, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, our Lord.” Natural science, by its evidences of design, order, and progress, proves mind in nature; Scripture proclaims that mind to be “the mind of Christ,’ whom we disobey whenever we disregard a law written in our bodies as surely as if it were written in our Bible. 459
Beyond all question Christ is the Creator. The Sabbath is therefore the Lord’s day because it is both the memorial of his work and of rest, the day he himself blest and sanctified, the day which he himself made for man before sin had doomed him to wearing toil,—and hence the day primarily designed not for physical rest but for spiritual rejoicing.
Nor is the Sabbath, the Lord’s day of the sacred Scriptures, simply the memorial of a finished creation and of divine rest. The Sabbath is a sign to every son of Adam,—separated from sin by redeeming grace,—of the divine power by which he is saved: “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.” 460 As “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” 461 to bring order out of confusion, to transform chaos into beauty, so the same divine Spirit changes the stony heart to a heart of flesh, and from the chaos of sin brings forth the beauty of holiness, the spiritual “man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 462 “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 463 The power that redeems, that re-creates, is the same that in the beginning created the world from nothing, and that from darkness made light. And in every age and in both Testaments the Sabbath of the Lord, the Lord’s day, stands as the symbol of that power.
But the author of “Practical Christian Sociology” scorns the Lord’s day of the Scriptures and insists that another day shall represent the Lord’s power! He tramples in the dust “the ensign of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the standard which our Lord himself as Cretor ordained, whose “field of blue” he himself “spangled with stars and sun,” and whose “stripes the black and white of night and day, and the many colors of sunrise and sunset,” his own fingers painted; and in its stead he unfurls the flag of antichrist and demands that it shall be acknowledged as the standard of “the King of kings, and Lord of lords!” Ignoring the only divine command ever given to “halt as a sign that we believe in that invisible Lord and are loyal to his law,” our author demands for the counterfeit Lord’s day the honor due alone to the Sabbath of the Lord, the true Lord’s day, and declares that breaking this false sabbath, this man-made Lord’s day, is tearing the flag of the Government of the universe, and so an offense kindred to treason”! How dare any man so write? and what shall such an one answer when the Lord of the true Sabbath shall demand, “Who hath required this at your hands?” Are not such well described in these words of Holy Writ: “Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken?” 464 “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” 465