Davis W. Huckabee

Sometimes "Seventh Day Baptist Churches," which have been around only since the 1700’s, and "Seventh Day Adventist Churches," which are of even more recent vintage, and other sabbatarians, will advertise themselves as "the church that observes the scriptural sabbath," which brings up several weighty questions. The law of the Ten Commandments contains three verses enjoining a sabbath-keeping, and this causes us to ask, Is the Decalog or Ten Commandments for Israel only, or is it also binding upon all nations, Gentiles as well as Jews?

By asking the following questions about this matter we may arrive at the truth. (1) Is there any group of persons anywhere, in any age, for whom it is not sin to kill, commit adultery, worship idols, etc? (2) Does not James 2:10 obligate believers to keep the Decalog when it says, "For whomsoever shall keep the whole law [the Decalog], and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (3) Does not Paul show that the Decalog was given to manifest the guilt of the whole world, and its subsequent need of Christ when he was inspired to write Rom. 3:19? "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." And again, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith," Gal. 3:24. He verily shows that the scope of the Decalog is universal. (4) Are we not compelled therefore to see that the Decalog is a Moral Law that contains eternal principles that are always binding upon all mankind.

"These ten commandments are right in themselves, and contain what every intelligent creature ought to do, what he is morally bound to do, and all men must say amen to the curse of any and every transgression. If all men are morally bound to do right, and this is the right rule, then all men naturally are under this law, and all are guilty because of innumerable and inexcusable transgressions; so guilty ‘that every mouth is stopped and all the world guilty before God.’"—J. B. Moody, The Exceeding Riches of the Manifold Grace of God, pp. 108-109. There are two primary kinds of laws in the Bible. (1) Positive precepts, that receive their authority from the lawgiver Himself. (2) Moral precepts, that receive their authority from their constitution and application. The Decalog belongs in the second category, for it needs not the positive authority of the Lord to make it right. It is right because of the very intrinsic morality of each law. A moral law is in force any time and any place regardless of any other factors but its intrinsic morality. But a positive law is in force only when, where, and to whom it is specifically commanded by proper authority.

This necessarily involves having a proper view of the will of God, for while the Decalog reveals what God’s will is, it does not compel obedience to it, but only tests one as to his willingness to be subject to God’s will. On the other hand, some things are God’s decreed will that He will without fail bring to pass in due time, irrespective of the will of Satan or sinners to the contrary. The fact that God does not compel obedience to the Decalog in no ways indicates that He approves the many and flagrant violations of it. Regarding this absolute sovereignty of God, it is well said—

"It ought, however, to be carefully noted here, that all who soundly hold this doctrine, maintain that there is a difference always to be kept up between what have been denominated the efficacious decrees and the permissive decrees of God. His efficacious decrees relate to whatever is morally good; his permissive decrees to whatever is morally evil. In other words, his immediate agency, according to his decree, is concerned in whatever is morally good,—his immediate agency is never concerned in what is morally evil. Evil he permits to take place, and efficaciously overrules it for good,—for the promotion of his glory."—Green, Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, Vol. I, pp. 180-181. There must also be a distinction made between the Moral Law as contained in the Decalog, and the ceremonial law. At least three primary differences are to be seen. The first is eternal, the second dispensational; the first is universal, the second is national; the first is the continuing standard for man in his relationship to his God, and to his fellow men, the second is ceremonial, to a degree typical, and was abrogated by Christ's fulfillment of it on the cross.

There is almost an unanimity among scholars that the Ten Commandments constitute Moral Law, and so, are of eternal duration. Reason itself tells us this. Indeed, if we repudiate the Decalog as not binding upon us, then we are left in a lawless condition, for no other system of morality, and no other standard of right and wrong is left unto us.

But if we recognize that the Decalog is binding upon us today, are we at liberty to pare away those portions of it that do not suit us? If so, is not the atheist then at liberty to reject the first commandment, the idolater the second, the murderer the sixth, the adulterer the seventh, etc?

But if we once admit that the Decalog is still in force for all mankind, then we are compelled to accept it in toto. The unity of the Law of God is declared in James 2:10, before referred to. Not only so, but the same thing is manifest from the internal order of the first four commandments. The Decalog has two divisions; the first four commandments relate to man’s responsibility to God, and the last six commandments relate to man’s responsibility to man. This first division breaks down as follows: (1) Who is to be worshipped—Jehovah alone, Exod. 20:1-3. (2) How He is to be worshipped—not mediately, through images, but immediately, directly, 20:4-6. (3) The manner of worship—not irreverently, or even with undue familiarity, but reverently and respectfully, 20:7. (4) When He is to be worshipped—not on the seventh day of the week, but on a seventh day after six days of labor; i. e., on a recurring cycle of one day out of each seven, 20:8-11.

From this it may be clearly seen that should the law relating to the time of worship be abrogated, a definite gap would be left in our knowledge of our responsibility to worship the Lord. We would know everything necessary about our responsibility except how often our stated times of public worship were to come about. Now it is obvious that many people have mistaken ideas about what the Sabbath is, and so, in consideration of the matter before us, we must first ask—


A great number of people assume without reason that the word "sabbath" means the seventh day of the week. This is a serious error that is brought about by association, for the Jews observed the seventh day of their week as the Sabbath. But in neither the Hebrew nor the Greek languages does the word mean the seventh day. In the Greek language the word sabbaton is simply a transliteration of the Hebrew word, and so there is no way of determining its meaning without reference to the original Hebrew word. The Hebrew word is shobat and is defined by the two following authorities.

"(1) TO REST, TO KEEP AS A DAY OF REST… The primary idea appears to be that of to sit down, to sit still… (2) to cease, to desist, leave off… (3) to celebrate the sabbath."—William Gesenius, Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, s. v.

"I. to rest from labor, with min; of land, to lie uncultivated.—II. to cease, desist… III. to cease, be interrupted… IV. To cease to be, have an end… V. to keep the sabbath."—B. Davidson, Analytical Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon, s. v.

These are two of the foremost authorities on the Hebrew language in our day, yet neither gives "seventh day" as the meaning of the word rendered "sabbath," but both show the basic meaning to be cessation, a day of rest. This being so, then from the root meaning of the word, we see a principle with which our worship day in this dispensation—Sunday, the first day of our week—is in harmony. It too is a day of rest, or at least it is intended to be by our Divine Lawgiver. Not only so, but from the words "to keep it holy," Exod. 20:8, we must gather that there is a religious significance, an inherently holy character, about this day of rest. And there are further parallels that will become apparent between the Sabbath of the Old Testament, and the Lord’s Day in this dispensation as we go further in this study. Thus we will be brought to realize that the principle is the same in both instances, and only the day of the week is different.

That the Sabbath was not bound arbitrarily to the seventh day of the week becomes more obvious when we realize that the word was not used alone of the weekly Sabbath. God commanded the observance of sabbaths of weeks, monthly sabbaths, annual sabbaths, the Jubilee year—the fiftieth year, which was after seven sabbaths of years—forty-nine years. It is a strange thing that sabbatarians, that are so scrupulous to observe (as they suppose) the seventh day of the week, completely ignore these other sabbaths that were also commanded by the same authority. Though most of these were on recurring cycles of seven, yet the Jubilee sabbath, falling as it did on the fiftieth year, is an exception to the rule, and proves that the sabbath is not tied to the number seven.

In connection with the question "What is the Sabbath?" we must also recognize that the Sabbath was not an end in itself. Being a part of the Moral Law, the sabbath law is also moral, and we can see the morality of it. In the words of our Lord, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath," Mark 2:27. The Sabbath was laid down in principle for man’s benefit, and he derives more from it than anyone else, although the observance of the sabbath principle certainly glorifies God. It has been well said that—

"The leading idea of the original announcement is that of Rest. God rested, and so man should rest… Constant physical toil will not accomplish so much in the long run as six days of toil and one of rest. Constant toil will also reduce the quantity even more than the quality of labor. A jaded horse never works up to his best. A worn-down farmer plans poorly, works feebly, and secures only a second or third rate crop—which he probably sells at a disadvantage."—A. D. Williams, The Christian Church and its Institutions, p. 123. This is found to be true in all realms of life, and even in the field of mechanics it is not proven false, that giving one seventh of the time to rest will prove more profitable in the long run than working constantly until the machinery is completely worn out.

In considering the Sabbath as involving a principle, it is not sufficient to ask only what the Sabbath is, we must also consider—


This is where so many people go astray in regard to the Sabbath, for they think that the word itself means the seventh day of the week. In actuality, there is only one instance in the whole of Scripture where it can be definitely proven that the Sabbath of rest occurred on the seventh day of the week, counting from the beginning of the creation. This was the first week of the world. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made," Gen. 2:2.

The principle involved in Exod. 20:8-11 does not say that man is to rest on the seventh day of the week; it says that man is to labor for six days, and then on a seventh day after those six days of labor he is to rest.

It must be carefully noted that the numbers here and elsewhere differ in that six is a cardinal number while seventh is an ordinal number. This cannot but be very significant. According to definition cardinal numbers are used in counting to show the amount of something, while ordinal numbers are always used in relationship to other numbers, thereby to show their relationship to the other numbers. As ordinals they cannot stand alone. Seventh, being an ordinal, cannot be isolated from others in a series, and consistently in Scripture when seventh is used in regard to the Sabbath, it emphasizes its relationship to the preceding six days of labor. That is what the Sabbath day is—a seventh day of rest after six previous days of labor, without regard to what day of the week it may fall upon. Those that make an idol of a particular day of the week, as supposedly being the only Scriptural Sabbath day assume a great deal that is entirely without proof.

"It [the Old Testament] neither tells us on what particular day the week began, either from the creation, or at the time of Moses, nor does it give us any information whatever as to whether the seventh day in the time of Christ was in uninterrupted succession from the original and first seventh day. The plain conclusion is that both are matters of no importance, or the Old Testament would have enlightened us concerning them. To assume that we know, or can know, either of these things, is to assume to be ‘wise above what is written.’ And yet, there are certain sabatizers and Judaizers, who assume as indisputably true these five things, concerning which they know nothing, and can know nothing, namely: 1. That the sabbath originally occurred on a specific day; 2. That we know what day it was; 3. That the sabbath was kept up on that day until the time of Moses; 4. That Moses put the Jewish sabbath on the same day; and, 5. That the Jews kept that day in uninterrupted succession until the time of Christ—and then proceed to arraign everybody who does not believe all these unproven and unprovable things, as such flagrant transgressors against God as to be in danger of hellfire. Can human conceit and arrogance go very much beyond that?"—A. D. Williams, The Christian Church and its Institutions, pp. 121-122. The Scripture is clear that Israel’s Sabbath while in the wilderness involved this same principle, for Exod 16:26 says, "Six days ye shall gather it [the manna]; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none." But was this the same day of the week as the seventh day of the creation week, Gen. 2:1-2? There is no way of proving it, and there is much reason to think that it was not the same day of the week, counting from the creation. If eternal life hangs on observing the correct day, why has not God revealed that day? All that is required is the principle of six days of labor followed by a seventh day of rest, as is the common requirement. The sabbatarian assumes mistakenly that the phrase "the seventh day" always means the seventh day of the week, which it almost never does. In most instances, using the ordinal "seventh" as it does, it only means the seventh day in relation to six previous days of labor as in Exod. 20 and elsewhere.

The day of the week is not so important as is the principle itself. And this principle is what is continually set forth in the Decalog and elsewhere. Six is man’s number, and is constantly associated with man, while seven is God’s number, and generally has some spiritual significance. This sabbath principle therefore sets forth the fact that six days are given to man, but God has set apart one out of every seven days for Himself, so that man will be constantly kept mindful of his responsibility to God.

"Man is related to God; he is God created, and after redemption he is God’s redeemed one. Now it is essential that the man should always be sensible of that highest relation, that permanent relation. But if there be no particular time when that relation is to be considered, that man is a wreck. Whenever you find a man that has no sabbath, you find a man that has no sensibility to God."—B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, Vo. II, p. 152. If the principle is what is of primary importance, then every man is able to obey this commandment and fulfill this principle. But if the day of the week is the all-important issue, as sabbatarians claim, then every man is in danger of disobedience. And no one can be sure that he is observing the right day of the week unless, as a safety precaution, he observes every day of the week as the sabbath. In proof of this we cite the following things.

First, God changed Israel’s calendar at the first passover when He was about to lead them out of Egypt. "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you," Exod. 12:2. Now, how can we be sure that according to the new calendar the Sabbath still fell on the same day of the week as before? God has not revealed it, and so we cannot be sure that the day of the week that was the Sabbath before this change was the same day of the week afterward. If the month of the calendar was changed, it is probable that the days of the week were also changed.

Second, we must consider the fact that God allowed Israel to be led captive into Babylon for seventy years because she had failed to keep the land sabbaths for four hundred and ninety years, II Chr. 36:20-21. If she neglected to keep the land sabbaths, what reason do we have to believe that she kept the weekly sabbaths? And during those seventy years of captivity when the Israelites so forgot God's commands as to mingle with the heathen, intermarry, and even adopt their gods, did she not also violate, and even perhaps forget her weekly sabbaths as well? Can we reasonably think that she kept her weekly sabbaths inviolate during those seventy years, when scriptural evidence so clearly shows that most other things relating to the worship of Jehovah were corrupted?

Jeremiah shows that the weekly sabbaths ceased to be reckoned in Israel during those seventy years, Lam. 2:6, and unless those in captivity kept them, and this was not done, then the day of the week originally kept by Israel as a sabbath has been lost. The unconcern that the Israelites came to feel toward the Sabbath is manifest from Amos 8:4-5. "Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? And the sabbath that we may set forth wheat making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?" The weekly sabbath had become such a burden in Amos’ day that many longed for it to be over so that they could get back to their business of cheating people. This state of affairs was but one step from forgetting the Sabbath entirely, and all other evidence considered, we are sure that this was the case. Neh. 13:15-17 reveals that the Sabbath had come to be as common as other days of the week.

Third, The Jewish manner of reckoning time has always been a very complicated one, and has been changed several times. According to one system, the Jewish year had only 354 days, with provision made to periodically correct the calendar to correspond to the solar revolutions. According to the calendar of Hillel the Sanhedrin annually determined whether that year was to be a leap year or not, and thus corrected the calendar in that way. The Jewish months were based upon the moon, while the year was based, as much as possible upon the sun, so that all in all it was complicated to the point of confusion. Later, the calendar came to be juggled in order that the Day of Atonement should not fall on the sixth or first day of the week, and so that the seventh day of the feast of Tabernacles should not fall on the weekly sabbath. So much confusion has been brought into this matter that no scholar today, either Jewish or Gentile is able to compute the time backward with any degree of accuracy. To hold that there was not the mistake of so much as one day in six thousand years is to advocate the greatest human miracle of all time. But false worship always runs into absurdity sooner or later.

Fourth, even in reckoning time since the beginning of the Christian era men are brought face to face with mass confusion, and the best scholars can only estimate the year of the birth of Christ. Yet sabbatarians tell us that they know the exact day of the week on which the original sabbath fell. There is now a general agreement among scholars that our present method of reckoning time is at least four years off. That is, that Archbishop Usher’s chronology that is in most Bibles, is at least four years later than it should be. It is now known that Herod’s death took place in 4 B. C. according to Usher’s chronology, yet this took place after Jesus’ birth, Matt. 2:11-15. From this and other time-marks it is likely that Jesus was born four or five years before the present calendar date of A. D. 1. Indeed, at least one scholar holds that we have lost some thirty-three years in the last two millenniums. The ancient calendar had years of only 355 days with intercalary months periodically added to correct the calendar to the solar revolution. In 46 B. C. the Julian calendar was introduced which had years of 365 days length each, and every fourth year a leap year of 366 days long. But even this did not totally eliminate error, for the length of each solar year was not 365 and a fourth days long, but 365 days five hours forty-seven minutes and fifty-one and a half seconds. This seemingly minute error however amounted to the calendar being off by a full day every 128 years, and this calendar was not changed until 1582 when the Gregorian calendar was introduced. And this method of reckoning time was not accepted by Protestants and many others until another hundred years had elapsed.

With all this confusion and error that has certainly existed in the calendars of the past six thousand years, we can place no confidence in the dogmatic assertions of some that they know and observe the same day of the week on which the original seventh day of the creation week fell.

If anyone once removes the pride and prejudice from his mind, and will let Scripture speak simply and plainly, he will see that the Sabbath is a rest day, and as such may fall on almost any day of the week. In fact, we learn from the Old Testament that this was the case oftentimes. In Lev. 23 the seven great annual feasts of the Jews are set forth. These were the annual sabbaths, and are called "sabbaths." But this means that these sabbath days, together with regular weekly sabbaths, could add up to as many as nine sabbaths in a single month, or an average of almost two per week, and these must add up to at least six in a month.

To detail this out minutely: the first day of the seventh month was the feast of trumpets, and was a sabbath, Lev. 23:24. From the evening of the ninth day of the month to the evening of the tenth day was the Day of Atonement, another sabbath, Lev. 23:27, 32. On the fifteenth day of the month was the feast of Tabernacles, which was seven days long. On the first of these seven days, or, in other words, on the fifteenth day of the month was a sabbath, and the day following the seventh day of the feast, or, the twenty-second day of the month, was also a sabbath, Lev. 23:34-39. The regular weekly sabbaths, because of the thirty day months, would fall on different days of the month from year to year. And even in the years when the first weekly sabbath fell on the first day of the month, there would be some of the feast sabbaths which were not on the seventh day of the week. In other years, there would be an even greater number. There is no possible way in which one can make this harmonize with the view that only the seventh day of the week is, or can be, a sabbath.

These feast days being also considered "sabbaths" enters into the confusion over the day of the week on which the Lord was crucified. "Good Friday" as the supposed day that this took place is a glaring contradiction of Jesus’ words in Matt. 12:40 that He would spend three days and three nights in the grave. This would require seventy-two hours, and backing up from His resurrection early on the first day of the week, would make for a Wednesday crucifixion. But the argument is, that according to Jewish reckoning, even a small part of a day was considered one day. Thus if there was but one whole day plus one hour of a preceding day and one hour of a following day, that would be considered three days by the Jews. This reasoning works only on subsequent general statements that refer only to three days. It will not work on this first, and most definitive reference to Jesus’ time in the grave that requires not only three days, but also three nights. In Scripture days were reckoned "morning and evening"—in that order. Thus according to "Jewish reckoning" on the crucifixion day only one hour was required, but then followed a whole night of twelve hours = thirteen hours total. The second day would be a total of twenty-four hours for a total now of thirty-seven hours. Plus Jesus lay in the grave for the Sabbath day "morning and evening" so that there would be twelve hours of the day, and at least one hour of the night for a total of thirteen hours. This, added to the preceding thirty-seven hours makes for a total of fifty hours. But wait a minute! Jesus did not rise at night, but early in the morning, so that there must have been a full night spent in the grave on the Sabbath, so instead of the third day consisting of only thirteen hours, it had to have been a full twenty four. This, added to the thirty seven preceding hours makes for a total of at least sixty-one hours. Now back that up from early Sunday morning and see if you can have a Friday crucifixion! It would have had to be at least Thursday evening.

How did this "Good Friday" error come about? From failure to recognize that every feast day was a Sabbath, and there could be as many as three Sabbaths in one week. It is objected that, The "preparation day" was the day before the Sabbath, and so was Friday, and it was this day on which Jesus was crucified, Mark 15:42. Right, and Wrong! Fridays were called "the preparation" in relation to the weekly Sabbath but not every "preparation day" was on Friday. There was also a "preparation day" before each of the feast Sabbaths, and the preparation day so often emphasized at the crucifixion was "the preparation of the Passover," John 19:14, not of the weekly sabbath. "That Sabbath" on which Jesus was crucified was "an high day," John 19:31, because it was not the common weekly Sabbath, but the Passover Sabbath, a special Sabbath. The Passover Sabbath in that year when the Lord Jesus was crucified was on a Wednesday, thus giving full time for the "three days and three nights" to elapse during which Jesus was in the tomb. All subsequent references to "the third day," or "after three days," are general statements and not specific because they refer back to that first and most definitive statement in Matt. 12:40.

When we realize that the Sabbath is simply a day of rest, a "holy convocation" in which "no servile work" is to be done, Lev. 23, all difficulty is removed. So far as the word "sabbath" is concerned, it could be on any day of the week. The whole principle involved in the Sabbath is that one day in every seven belongs to the Lord, and is to be observed in obedience to His command. And this day is to be rendered up to Him in a regularly recurring cycle of seven days.

"The fallacy has perhaps grown out of the use of the word ‘seventh.’ But, the conclusion does not follow. It only follows that after six days of labor there shall be one of rest. It does not at all identify the starting point of the six days… Nor does the fourth commandment fix the day of beginning. It says, ‘Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God,’ etc. This is precisely what both Jews and Christians alike do, notwithstanding they keep different days of the week. ‘Six days’ alike both work, and then keep the ‘seventh’ as ‘the sabbath of the Lord.’ There is absolutely nothing in the scriptures commanding the six days to begin at any particular day, or stating as a fact when the original week did begin."—A. D. Williams, The Christian Church And Its Institution, pp. 119-120. We would not be mistaken in our stand. We acknowledge that the Jews, when they did observe the weekly Sabbath, observed it on what was the seventh day of their calendar. But neither they nor we have any way of being certain that this was the seventh day of the week as counted from the creation. The principle involved in the Sabbath observance does not necessitate that it was. Believers today when they worship the Lord on the first day (presumably) of the week in honor of Christ’s resurrection fulfill all that is demanded in the principle of the Sabbath. One day out of every seven in regularly recurring cycles is the Sabbath principle, and any person that so observes it will be on safe ground. As to the observance of the first day of the week (according to our present calendar) instead of on the seventh, we will have somewhat to say later in this discussion. We would now consider—


A great many people assume that the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai was the origin of the Sabbath law, but this is erroneous, for just as the other Moral Principles of the Decalog were in force prior to this, so also was the Sabbath obligation. It is true that this sabbatic principle was not so prominent before this, as afterward. But even the word "Sabbath" appears before the giving of the Law and it is used in such a way as to show that the principle of the Sabbath was observed before the Law was ever given.

Turning to the Scriptures for proof of this, we observe in Gen. 2:2-3 that the Lord first set the example of observing a day of rest. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from his work which God created and made." The question arises from this, Was God tired? To which we must certainly answer in the negative. Why then did He rest? To teach man by way of example that He had decreed a heptary division of time, a portion of which was set apart for sacred purposes. This is implied in the statement that God "blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it."

"It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection."—E. W. Bullinger, Number In Scripture, p. 168. That Adam and his descendents knew of this seems all but certain, for in Gen. 4:3 the statement "In the process of time" is literally "at the end of days," and the "end of days" was a time of cessation of labor and stated worship as the context shows. There is evidence here of what we have stated in our comments upon Exod. 20:3-11, that God has revealed, not only man’s obligation to worship Him, but also the how and when of that worship. Man has never been left in ignorance of duty, though he has often willfully blinded himself to his duty.

Beyond this, we learn from history that all of the sons of Adam must have known of this sabbatic principle, for the earliest records of many nations show that they practiced this form of time division. The further back one goes, and the nearer the fountainhead of the human race he comes, the more universal is the practice of a sabbath to be found. Surely this is significant!

"Moreover, the old Assyrians, from whom the Jews descended, gave great prominence to the number seven, especially as applied to days. The same custom obtained among most of the nations of antiquity, as is universally admitted, and we are now digging up evidences of it in the cuneiform inscriptions of the cities of Mesopotamia, in the valley of the Euphrates, near where our race was born.

Other nations have a similar record. Homer, the great Greek, says ‘Afterwards came the seventh, the sacred day.’ Hesiod, another Greek, says, ‘The seventh day is holy." Lucian says, ‘The seventh day is given to schoolboys, as a holiday.’ Callimachus speaks of the seventh day as holy. Porphyry says, ‘The Phenicians consecrated one day in seven as holy.’ Josephus says, ‘There is no city, either of Greeks or barbarians, or any other nation, where the religion of the sabbath is not known.’ Grotius says, ‘The memory of the creation being formed in seven days was preserved not only among the Greeks and Italians, but among the Celts and [east] Indians, all of whom divided their time into weeks.’ Eusebius says, ‘Almost all the philosophers and poets acknowledge the seventh day as holy.’

Now, whence came this almost universal prominence of the number seven, especially seven days? It corresponds to no natural period of time, nor with any known historical fact, outside the idea of the sabbath. It did not come from the Jews, for it existed long before their time. If a sabbath was instituted at the creation, and was more or less generally observed by the ante-Mosaic nations, that will account for it. But there is nothing else, either known or supposed to exist, among the nations anterior to Moses, that will account for it. If that is not the explanation, it is an accepted fact without even a proposed explanation."—A. D. Williams, The Christian Church And Its institutions, pp. 117-118.

To suppose that all the ancient nations accidentally hit upon the same method of computing time is out of the question. And for one to suppose that some natural phenomena is responsible for the form of time division is to theorize without a single fact to substantiate that theory. Whence then is the sabbatic principle derived? Without question it is God’s ordinance, and Gen. 2:2-3 is undoubtedly the basis of Jesus’ statement in Mark 2:27-28, to which we will refer in greater detail later in this study. "We see that in this Dispensation God made a Sabbath for man… We learn from the record of this, the Adamic dispensation, that the heptary division of time is God’s ordinance, and that he has required of all the race a seventh part of time for sacred rest from ordinary labor, and for worship—for God hallowed it, and man should observe it hallowed to God… The proofs that this heptary division of time was observed by the Jews and all the nations, before the appointment of the Jewish Sabbath, are constantly turning up. I think the proof is quite clear that the old Jewish Sabbath with its rigid observances antedated the Edenic Sabbath one day, and that Christ therefore rose from the dead on the original day Adam had observed; so that it could be said of it: This is the day the Lord had made—appointed—let us be glad and rejoice in it."—J. R. Graves, The Seven Dispensations, p. 176. Even the Jews practiced the Sabbath before the giving of the Law, so that we are compelled to recognize its anteSinaitic existence, Exod. 16:5, 22-30. Even Exod. 20:8 seems to acknowledge this in the injunction to "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." For one cannot remember something unless it has had a prior existence. The sabbatic principle, therefore, did not originate with the Mosaic Law, but was simply incorporated into it. This principle, like that of the rest of the Moral Law, is a principle that dates from the beginning, and which shall endure unto the end of human history.


It is often assumed that Moses first gave the command for the observance of the Sabbath, and that he did this arbitrarily, i. e., without Divine authority for doing so. But such is not the case at all, for though the Scripture states that "The law was given by Moses," John 1:17, it clearly means that he was only the instrument by which it was transmitted to man, and not that he was the original authority for it. In truth the prologue to the Ten Commandments states, "And God spake all these words," Exod. 20:1. Not only so, but more express is Exod. 32:15-16. "And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables."

But this only shows us the authority and authorship of the Ten Commandments. It does not manifest the origin of the sabbatic principle. This commandment did not originate with the recording of the Decalog, but like it, was binding upon man from the very beginning of human history. This becomes obvious from a consideration of Gen. 2:2-3 where we have God Himself setting the example of observing a Sabbath Day, and then blessing it to man’s good.

Thus, the first Sabbath day was observed by God Himself, and that for an example to His creatures. This was the only Sabbath that God ever observed, for He has been constantly at work in providence and redemption ever moment since, as is evident from Jesus’ words in John 5:17. "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." This answer was given concerning this very matter. The Jews had accused Jesus of profaning the Sabbath, and He answers by showing that both He and His Father had been constantly working since that first and original Sabbath. But the very fact that God did observe that first and original Sabbath is proof positive that the sabbathic principle is not Mosaic in origin, but antedates the Decalog by some twenty-five hundred years.

As has already been mentioned, this is the only place in all the Bible where it can be definitely proven that the Sabbath day was on the seventh day of the week. This was the seventh day of the first week in the world’s history. Hereafter in Scripture, when the word "sabbath" appears there is no possible way of knowing on what day of the week, reckoned from the creation, that particular Sabbath day would fall. In Exod 20:11 when this passage is quoted, as if to guard against the mistake that sabbatarians make, the Lord changes the wording slightly, so that instead of saying "God blessed the seventh day," He says "the Lord blessed the sabbath day." This shows plainly that it is the sabbatic principle of one day out of each seven set apart as a day of rest and worship that is the important thing, and not what day of the week is observed.

When we examine New Testament passages in connection with the creation, we learn that the agent in the creation was none other than Jesus Christ Himself. "God, who at sundry times and in diverse 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," Heb. 1:1-2. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made," John 1:3. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him, and for him," Col. 1:16.

Fully in accord with the above is the statement of Jesus Himself in Mark 2:27-28. "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath; Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." Being the "Lord of the sabbath" He has the authority to perpetuate, change, or even abrogate the Sabbath as He liked. The Scriptures show that He perpetuated the Sabbath in principle, but changed, as was His right, the day of the week on which it was to be observed.

Sabbatarians accuse Christians that observe Sunday as the Christian Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, of turning a pagan holiday into the Christian Sabbath. They claim that the Emperor Constantine the Great is the sole authority for the observance of a Sunday Sabbath, to which we answer in the words of A. D. Williams.

"Some suppose that the first-day sabbath owed its universal observance to the decree of Constantine. It is true that Constantine decreed the partial observance of the Christian sabbath. But it is also true that at the same time he decreed Christianity to be the religion of the Roman empire. As well, therefore, say that Christianity itself owes its existence to Constantine’s decree, as to say that its sabbath does. As a matter of well-established history, the first-day sabbath prevailed everywhere in the Roman empire, long before the time of the decree. Indeed, the new sabbath prevailed in the church before Christianity did in the empire. And Constantine proclaimed his vision of the cross-sign in the heavens, with its ‘in hoc sign vines,’ and issued his decree making Christianity the religion of the empire, only after Christianity had itself conquered the empire, and made it politic for him to profess conversion and issue his decree. Constantine, in respect to both points, only recognized what was already in existence, and prevalent and powerful enough to live without his decree. In fact, his decree only hindered Christianity, instead of helping it, as all confess. Both Christianity and its sabbath were the weaker, not the stronger for it.

The Christian sabbath therefore owes its existence, not to the Jewish law, but to the example of Christ, of apostles, and of the church. That they rested and worshipped on the first day of the week, from the first until now, is beyond all question. It rests therefore upon substantially the same authority as baptism and the Lord’s supper."—The Christian Church and its Institutions, pp. 139-140.

When therefore any person declares that the observance of Sunday as the Christian Sabbath does not antedate A. D. 324 when Constantine recognized it, he betrays an abysmal ignorance of both history and Scripture. Such a person has no right to set himself up as an infallible judge over another person’s conscience when he manifests that he himself cannot rightly judge of either Scripture or history. The Scripture injunction is, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holiday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ," Col. 2:16-17. Certainly the plural "sabbaths" here include the monthly, annual and Jubilee sabbaths, but does this not also include the weekly Sabbaths since no exceptions are made to this rule? In the absence of any disclaimer to the contrary we must judge it so, and see that the Scripture forbids one person judging another in the matter of the observance of the Sabbath. How then can this be a matter so serious that one’s eternal destiny turns upon it? The same thing is true of Gal. 4:10, of which we will have more to say at a later time.

The authority of the sabbatic principle being such as it is—not of men, but of God in both the Old and the New Testaments—we may pass on to consider yet another thing. This will reveal to us that the principle is the same in both dispensations even though the day of its observance may be different. Therefore we must note—


Negatively, the observance of the Sabbath has never been a means of salvation, which is the chief point around which this issue centers as far as sabbatarians are concerned. For almost universally, the advocates of a seventh day of the week observance make this the determination of a person’s eternal felicity or woe. Paul’s charge against the legalistic Galatians was, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain," Gal. 4:9-11. These Galatians had become ensnared in the legalism of that Pharisaic party of Christians from the Jerusalem church, who seemed to make a point of following Paul on his missionary trips and trying to counteract his teachings on salvation by grace alone. Their two main points of emphasis were submission to the rite of circumcision, Acts 15:1, and the observance of the Jewish Sabbath, Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:16-17, both of which they made necessary to salvation. The spiritual descendents of these abound today with the slight difference that baptism has now taken the place of circumcision. It has always characterized the natural man to look for salvation by human works of some kind and degree.

People are wrong in both these things, as well as in any other human works, for never are human works ever proposed as a means of salvation. The ordinance of baptism is a symbol (or "likeness") of a spiritual truth, Rom. 6:3-5 (note that V3 is explained by V5: "baptized into his death" by a "likeness" or picture as presented in baptism. See the likeness drawn in V4 in the words "like as" and "even so." A symbol or picture never saved anyone.) Likewise the Sabbaths "are a shadow (or forecast) of things to come," Col. 2:17. Neither has a shadow ever saved anyone. It takes the substance that casts the shadow to save, and that substance is Christ.

The whole matter resolves itself thusly. Human deeds, observances or works, if presented in the hopes of attaining salvation thereby, would make salvation to be a matter of merit on man’s part. Yet the Scriptures universally disclaim this. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any one should glory," Eph. 2:8, literal rendering. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration (and this cannot be baptism, for it is literally ‘the washing of the new birth,’ not a washing in water. If this were baptism, this verse would not only antagonize with itself, but with many other Scriptures. Baptism is a work of righteousness to be observed by those already God’s people, Matt. 3:15, but this says that we are not saved by such.), and the renewing of the Holy Ghost," Tit. 3:5. "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work," Rom. 11:6.

If therefore the purpose of the Sabbath is not that man may attain eternal life by keeping it, then what is the purpose of it? We conceive from Scripture at least five important purposes for the Sabbath principle of one day out of each seven being set apart for non-secular purposes.

First, It is for Rest From Labor. This is for human welfare, and is that which is declared in Mark 2:27. "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." Man is constituted of flesh, and so, is not indestructible. He needs a recurring day of rest to recharge his batteries, as it were, and the man that does not do so soon finds himself taking an enforced and extended rest upon a sick bed. This purpose is inherent in the word itself, for the word translated "sabbath" means "rest." It was to be, according to Exod. 20:10 a day of rest for: (1) The individual. This would doubtless include the wife as well, since they two are "one flesh," Gen. 2:24. (2) His children. (3) His servants. (4) His cattle, and even, (5) The stranger within his gates. Surely this last category is evidence that this was not binding solely upon the Jews, but even the traveling Gentile when he came under Jewish roofs was encouraged to rest for the Sabbath.

Second, It Is For Reverence Of The Lord. This was also declared in the Decalog, for Exod. 20:8 declares that one is to "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." The holy character of the Sabbath is evidence that the Lord has His part in the day, and the person that refuses to set aside one day out of seven is practically denying either God’s existence, or else God’s claim upon him. The Sabbath day, beginning as early as the days of Cain and Abel, was a day of worship as well as of rest, and no person can rightly worship the Lord without having a regular Sabbath day.

Third, It is For Religious Instruction. Unless there is a definite, regularly recurring day of the week for religious instruction, man generally neglects or puts this off until it finally ends up not being done at all. But if a definite day of the week is set aside each week, in which both worship and religious study are integral parts, there is no danger of this. Long before the end of the Old Testament dispensation the Sabbath had come to be a day of instruction for the masses. And in New Testament times Jesus and His disciples made this a regular part of the weekly day of worship, Luke 4:16. Without a definite day, and religious instruction upon that day, how can man be kept aware of his responsibilities to his God?

Fourth, It Is For The Reviving Of The Saint. Just as man’s physical nature needs a time of rest and revitalization, so man’s spiritual nature also needs a definite and recurring time of recharging. And unless the Sabbath principle is observed, this will not be done. Every believer that has stopped to consider this matter knows that unless he regularly attends weekly religious services he has a tendency to become cold and indifferent and backslidden concerning the things of the Lord. Thus, practicality alone teaches the need of a regularly recurring Sabbath.

Fifth, It is For Recognition Of God’s Bounty. The Sabbath days are also times of offering, for hereby man recognizes and acknowledges that all that he has comes from the Lord. When man brings his tithes and offerings to the Lord, he is, in effect, paying rent to his Heavenly Landlord, for "The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein," Ps. 24:1. All that any person has of this world’s goods, he has from God’s bounty. "For it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth," Deut. 8:18. The Sabbath day is the logical time to bring any and all offerings to the Lord. Concerning a special benevolence offering for needy saints Paul was inspired to write, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come," I Cor. 16:1-2. He that observes no Sabbath will probably not "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase," Prov. 3:9 either.

Thus, man’s physical, spiritual and material welfare, as well as the worship of God, all make a Sabbath day necessary. But all these purposes are fulfilled in the Lord’s Day—the first day of the week—as well as on the Old Testament Sabbath—the seventh day of the Jews’ week. If the purposes for which a thing are designed are equally adaptable to a different time, and if the authoritative agent see fit to change the time element then who can or should find fault?


As we have already stated the sabbath principle is still in force, and will continue to be until the end of the world, but the Jewish sabbath has been abrogated, together with all those typical sacrifices that were shadows of Christ. This was prophesied of in Hosea 2:11. "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." Attention should be called to the fact that it was "her" sabbaths—Israel’s—that were to be made to cease, and not "the sabbath." A comparison of Exod. 20 with Deut. 5 will reveal that while the Decalog in Exod 20 is so stated as to be applicable to all of God’s human creation, that repetition of it in Deut. 5 is narrowed down to the "seventh" day, which was Israel’s sabbath. Deut. 5 records the narrower, nationalized form of the Decalog, and so it speaks of the seventh day sabbath instead of simply a sabbath of one day out of seven. These "sabbaths" (plural) that were abrogated were the feast sabbaths of Lev. 23, which typified Christ and His work, the seventh year land sabbath, Lev. 25:1-7, the fiftieth year Jubilee sabbath, Lev. 25:8-12, and the weekly seventh day sabbath.

Inspiration speaks of these in Col. 2:14-17, and shows that they are done away with in Christ, and the Christian is not to let anyone judge him in reference to them. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." If no man is to be allowed to judge me in regard to the sabbath, then how can it be so vital an issue—one upon which one’s eternal destiny rests—as sabbatarians make it?

"When Paul wrote his epistle to the Colossians there was in that section a Judeo-Hellenistic movement which sought to pervert Christianity with an ascetic form of philosophy, fashioned out of Stoicism and Jewish legalism. In repudiating the claims of this heretic movement, Paul says in Col. 2:16, ‘Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day.’

"In the first place we would observe that there could have been no occasion for mentioning the sabbath day in this connection had there not been some one contending for a Christian observance of it. And those so contending were looked upon by Paul as an heretical party in the church. In the second place, Paul’s language here cannot be interpreted otherwise than as a plain repudiation of the contention that Christians be required to observe the Jewish sabbath—and this was the only application of the word ‘sabbath’ which Paul knew, for the Christian day of worship was to him simply the ‘first day.’"—H. E. Dana, a Tract, "Why We Keep Sunday," pp. 6-7.

As stated in Col. 2:14, Christ nailed these ordinances to His Cross, and it is remarkably significant that before His death He scrupulously observed the seventh day Sabbath, as all Jews were required to do. Yet from the time of His resurrection, He never henceforth met with His disciples upon the seventh day, but consistently met with them upon the day after the Jewish Sabbath—the first day of the week. He that claimed to be the authority for the Sabbath, Mark 2:28, surely must have known what effect His example would have upon His followers. Could it be that this is precisely the effect that He intended should come to pass? Dr. Dana again says: "When we examine this period of the New Testament with reference to the seventh-day sabbath, we find some striking facts. There are only ten references to the sabbath after Pentecost. Of these the word is used eight times in reference to a strictly Jewish service, and not to a Christian service (cf. Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). Once it is used simply to designate the length of a journey (Acts 1:12). Once it is used in declaring the Christian’s liberty from the sabbath law (Col. 2:16)… Thus we find from an actual study of the New Testament Scriptures that the seventh day was never endorsed by the authority of Jesus as a day for Christian worship. The practice of his earthly life as recorded in the Four Gospels was only to conform to religious requirements as a Jew."—Tract entitled "Why We Keep Sunday," pp. 3-4. The tendency to make form more important than faith has always existed and probably will as long as man continues in his natural state, and this is doubtless why there has not been left the least suggestion of an obligatory Sabbath observance in the New Testament. Had there been left any foothold for formalists on this score they would have idolized the seventh day even more than they already have. But throughout the New Testament the seventh day is only a Jewish worship day, nor is the Lord’s day ever called a Sabbath. It is sabbatic in principle and in purpose, yet for obvious reasons it is never so called.

That this sabbatic principle spans all of time seems certain from the facts already noted, namely, that it existed from the very fountainhead of the human race. And from the fact that even during the millennial reign of Christ there will be Sabbath days observed, Isa. 66:23. If, in this present dispensation the sabbatic principle of one day out of seven belonging to the Lord did not apply, it would be the exception to all the rest of time, and we cannot conceive of this being so.

Some might answer that even the Sabbath principle has been abrogated because all the Ten Commandments are expressly restated in the New Testament with the sole exception of the one in reference to the Sabbath. But a truth can be, and often is, taught by example as well as by precept, and this is the case here. True, the fourth commandment is nowhere expressly restated in the New Testament. But it is exampled by our Lord Himself, John 20:19, 26, by the Jerusalem church, Acts 2:1 (Pentecost came on the day following the seventh Jewish Sabbath after the Passover—on a Sunday), and by Paul, I Cor. 16:1-2, Acts 20:7. Paul’s practice of going into the synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath was nothing more than a means to an end. In every instance where Scripture speaks of him in connection with a Jewish Sabbath the very context shows that this was only that he might reach the Jews with the Gospel. "And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures," Acts 17:2. It is to be observed that this had nothing to do whatsoever with a Christian service beyond the fact that Paul was a Christian and was preaching Christ to a ready-made congregation of unbelieving Jews. Paul himself explained his action thusly: And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law," I Cor. 9:20. Though Paul was a Jew after the flesh, he was a Christian in spirit, and only met with the Jews on their Sabbath in order to bring some of them to faith in Christ. But never did he leave the converts to worship on the Jewish Sabbath, but all those converted under Paul’s preaching are thereafter found to be observing the Christian day of worship.

The evidence in the New Testament is all one way. After the resurrection of Jesus, there is not a single instance of any Christian observing the seventh day as a day of worship. Conversely, there are numerous examples of not only the Christians, but Christ Himself observing the first day of the week as the day of worship.

Not only so, but James testifies to the indivisible unity of the Decalog, James 2:10, which would be false if so be that one of the ten had been abrogated. Not the Sabbath, but the seventh day observance of it, has been abrogated. Why is this? Because the seventh day commemorated that which is natural, while the first day commemorates that which is spiritual. "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual," I Cor. 15:46. The seventh day commemorated a physical creation, Gen. 1, and a physical deliverance, Exod. chapters 1-14. The first day commemorates a new creation, and a spiritual deliverance.

"Jehovah says—Jehovah of the Old Testament—that he is Lord of the sabbath; that the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. The sabbath was made for man as man and not for the Jew alone. The sabbath given on Mount Sinai was part of the national covenant with the Israelite nation, to one people, but long before Moses was the sabbath of the creation and rest; not long before Sinai the manna fell; long before Abraham was called, the fall came. God gave man, the first man, a sabbaton; the seventh day commemorated that; the seventh day commemorated the manna; the seventh day commemorated the deliverance from Egypt. Now Jesus is Lord of the sabbath, which is substantially: Jesus is the antitype. Joshua was to give them rest; Joshua did not give them rest. Jesus gives them the rest. God created the world; the seventh day sabbath commemorated that. Jesus redeemed the world; the first day of the week commemorates that. As we learn from Hebrews 4, Jesus also rested from his work, as God did from his. Therefore there remaineth a keeping of the sabbath to the child of God. Secondly, when Jesus had abrogated, nailed to his cross, the Mosaic sabbath, and rested, from that day instantly they began to observe another day." —B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, Vol. II, p. 159. That there is still a day for sabbath-keeping for the people of God is clearly declared by the writer to the Hebrews, for he says, "For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works… For if Jesus [i. e. Joshua, for "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God," Heb. 4:4, 8-9.

From this it must be observed: (1) He speaks of the Jewish Sabbath as "the seventh day," V4. (2) But "another day" is spoken of, V8, which contrasts with the "seventh day." (3) This other day is spoken of because Joshua did not give rest to the people. He was a type of Jesus, but the type failed where it concerned the giving of rest. (4) The conclusion therefore is that there "remains"—continues to the present time—a rest to the people of God. (5) But the Greek word for "rest" appears only in V9, and is radically different from the other Greek words rendered "rest." It means literally "the keeping of a sabbath." (6) Jesus gave a rest to His people that Joshua could not give to his. Jesus gives salvation rest, Matt. 11:28-29. (7) God’s people today keep a first day Sabbath in token of the fact that they have entered into this "rest of soul" in Jesus. And the professing Christian that does not keep holy the Lord’s day in essence denies in his actions that he has entered into this rest.


The Decalog is an abiding code of law. It is also an indivisible unity. Therefore all the laws are in force as a standard by which man will be judged. We are to recognize the Sabbath principle and honor it by our lives as Christians. The Lord’s Day—Sunday—corresponds in all essentials to the sabbatic principle set forth in Exod. 20:8-11. We ought to remember the Lord’s Day to keep it holy, and not make it a day of selfish indulgence. The Sabbath was indeed made for man, but not for him to desecrate nor use selfishly.

"It is evident that in being ‘made for man,’ it contemplates the highest interests of the race. It is to be observed for the promotion of human welfare, and that is always to be kept in mind, rather than punctilious ceremonials; so that whatever subserves these highest interests is lawful on that day, while other, and especially selfish and worldly things, are not."—A. D. Williams, The Christian Church And Its Institutions, p. 142. Israel was commanded to keep the Sabbath the year around, and not just when it was convenient. "Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest," Exod. 34:21. If the Lord’s Day means anything at all to us, we ought to consistently honor it also. Being under grace instead of under law does not free us to do as we may please: it frees us and enables us to do as the Lord pleases. Grace is never a license to do evil; but it gives obligation and opportunity to do right.

The sabbatic principle of one day out of each seven on a regularly recurring cycle is a scriptural principle that spans all time from the beginning of creation until eternity dawns. It is incumbent upon man, not as a Jew, nor as a Christian, but simply as man, and it becomes every son of Adam to recognize and honor this principle. Any person that honors the Lord’s Sabbath will find that he has brought himself into an area where there are mighty forces working to his blessedness. "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it," Isa. 58:13-14.

"There remaineth therefore a sabbath-keeping to the people of God," Heb. 4:9, literal rendering.