The Sabbath in History
When and by what acts was the Sabbath made? "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 all His work which God created and made." Gen. 2:2, 3.
What important division of time is marked off by the Sabbath? The week.
Two thousand five hundred years after creation, the Sabbath was proclaimed, with the other moral commands, from Mount Sinai. Why did God say He had put His blessing upon that day? " For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Ex. 20:11.
What befell the city of Jerusalem when it was captured by the king of Babylon? "And all the vessels of the house of God... he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire." 2 Chron. 36:18, 19.
Of what prophecy was this a fulfillment? "But if ye will not hearken unto Me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then I will kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched." Jer. 17:27.
After the restoration of Israel from the Babylonian captivity, what was said to have been the reason of their punishment? "Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath." Neh. 13:17, 18.
How did Christ regard the Sabbath during His earthly ministry? "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.
How did He wish to have it regarded by His disciples at the siege of Jerusalem, nearly forty years after His death? "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." Matt. 24:20.
What was the first effort of the Roman Church in behalf of the recognition of Sunday? "In A.D. 196, Victor, Bishop of Rome, attempted to impose on all the churches the Roman custom of having Easter fall every year on Sunday." Bower's History of the Popes, vol.2, page 18.
What was one of the principal reasons for convoking the Council of Nice?
"The question relating to the observance of Easter, which was agitated in the time of Anicetus and Polycarp, and afterward in that of Victor, was still undecided. It was one of the principal reasons for convoking the Council of Nice, being the most important subject to be considered after the Arian Controversy." Boyle's Historical View of the Council of Nice, page 22, ed. of 1839.
How was the matter finally decided?" Easter day was fixed on the Sunday immediately following the new moon which was nearest after the vernal equinox." Idem. page 23.
In urging the observance of this decree on the churches, what reason did Constantine assign for it? "Let us then have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews." Idem, page 52.
What had Constantine already done, in A.D. 321, to help forward Sunday to a place of prominence? He issued an edict forcing "the judges and town people and the occupation of all trades" to rest on the "venerable day of the sun." See Encyclopedia Britannica, art. Sunday.
Eusebius was bishop of Caesarea, and one of Constantine's most trusty supporters. Who did he say had changed the obligations of the Sabbath to Sunday?
"All things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these WE have transferred to the Lord's day." Eusebius's Commentary on the Psalms, quoted in Cox's "Sabbath Literature," Vol. 1, page 361.
What did the Council of Laodicea decree in A.D. 364? "The Council of Laodicea... first settled the observation of the Lord's day, and prohibited the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath under an anathema." Dissertation on the Lord's Day Sabbath, pages 33, 34, 44.
But did the Christians of the early church keep the Sabbath? "Down even to the fifth century, the observances of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church." Coleman's Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap. 26, sec. 2.
What day was observed in the Dark Ages by some of the Waldenses? "They kept the Sabbath day, observed the ordinance of baptism according to the primitive church, instructed their children in the articles of the Christian faith and the commandments of God." Jones's Church History, vol. 2, chap. 5, sec. 4.
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