A good brother sent me a tract on the above subject, written by Evangelist W.W. White, who preached in and around Nashville for some time. While he is known as an Adventist, he has, it seems, lost sight of that fact and is more of a “Sabbath Keeper.” He does not seem to care but little, if anything, about their original theory of Adventism, but is now giving all of his time as a teacher of Adventism to the one question of the old Jewish Sabbath.
Adventism originally sprang from the teachings of William Miller of New York. Miller began preaching on the second coming of Christ in the year 1831. He set the time for Christ to come in October, 1843. A big to-do was made of his teaching that Christ was coming in 1843 to set up an earthly reign here upon the earth for 1,000 years. Many people, dressed in white and went out to meet the Lord on that day; but, of course, they were disappointed.
Miller figured on it again, and set the time for 1844; but there was not so much enthusiasm over the matter at that time. In 1845 the Millerites, or Adventists, met in New York and decided that Christ would come soon, but they did not set the exact day. They left it then upon our Adventist friends to prove that His second coming is imminent. The Adventists went down very fast until Mrs. Ellen G. White, who was a Seventh-Day Baptist, joined herself to the dwindling movement and added the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath.
Mr. White seems to be more of a Seventh-Day Baptist than he is a Millerite, or an Adventist. If he claims to be a Christian, I have never heard him make the claim. He spends his time trying to teach the Jewish Sabbath and opposing the legal Sunday laws. I grant that some of our lawmakers may not know the difference between the Lord’s day and the Sabbath. I believe, however, that most of these laws are called, “Sunday Laws,” and if I am right about this, our lawmakers know more about it than Mr. White, for he seems to think that Christians keep the first day of the week as a Sabbath. Christians observe it as the Lord’s day, when we are to keep in memory the resurrection of Christ.
Mr. White says in his tract, “God has forever settled the matter of what day we should keep (Ex. 20:1, 8-11).” The first verse of Exodus 20 reads, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” God did not lead W.W. White out of Egypt. He never was in bondage in Egypt. Can he not see, then, that the Sabbath was given to the Jews, and the Jews only?
That is a plain perversion of that Scripture to apply it to any except the Jews. But White would say that the Ten Commandments immediately followed this introduction. It is true that nine of the ten are found in substance in the New Testament, but he cannot find where the fourth command is repeated as a law in the New Testament, for the reason that it was not repeated there as a law to be observed by Christians.
But the Jews observed this fourth commandment until it was taken out of the way at the cross. I quote from the Revision: “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” (Col. 2:16 ASV). But what went with the Sabbath day? “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” (Col. 2:14).
“But these were the sabbaths that the Jews had added to the law.” Who said that? Mr. White. Why? Because he needed it. But again, he says, “The Sabbath was the Lord’s day.” John said, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). Mr. White assumes that was the Sabbath. John did not say that it was, but he said it was the Lord’s day.
But what day is the Lord’s day? I quote, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Matt. 21:42). This is the day the Lord hath made. I would think that the day the Lord made was the Lord’s day. The Lord Jesus Christ made one day, and that was a significant day. It was the day He arose from the dead, the day that He brought life and immortality to light. It was the day immediately followed by the establishment of the church, when He became the Chief Cornerstone of the church. No wonder David said, “It is marvellous in our eyes” (Psa. 118:23). Jesus slept in Joseph’s new tomb on the last Sabbath He kept on earth, and awoke on the first day of the week, not to establish a new Sabbath, but to make the Lord’s day.
This day is not a Sabbath, but it is the day of the week for the disciples to remember the resurrection of Christ. Now, the Sabbath that Christians enjoy is not a day, but a condition of rest from our sins, which were forgiven when we became Christians. In Hebrews, Paul said that there remaineth a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:9). The word sabbath means rest, but the rest for the Christian is not a rest for one day only, but a rest from sins, both here and eternally.
“Come unto me,” said Jesus, “and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28ff)—not for one day or for one year, but one’s sins are washed away, forgiven, forgotten, never to appear against him. Here is rest for the weary in this life and eternal rest is promised to those who remain faithful. That is the Sabbath for the Christian.
The old Jewish Sabbath had an end. The record of this is found in Amos 8:5: “When will the new moon be gone that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?” This question was asked by these trading Jews. The prophet answers their question in verse 9, in these words: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.”
Such a thing as this never happened but once. That was the day Jesus died on the cross. There was darkness on a clear day from the 6th to the 9th hour—from noon until the middle of the afternoon. That was when the law of Moses was “blotted out,” “nailed to the cross,” “abolished, taken out of the way.” These are the words the New Testament uses concerning the removal of the law. That was the day the Sabbath had an end.