Words of Hope…
Isaiah predicted Sabbath reform in the last days: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the
man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who
keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any
evil…. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the
Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His
servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds
fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and
make them joyful in My house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:1, 2, 6, 7).
These words apply in the Christian age, as the context shows: “The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, ‘Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him’” (verse 8). This passage foreshadows the gospel’s gathering in of the Gentiles, when His servants preach the good news to all nations.
The Lord commands, “Seal the law among my disciples” (Isaiah 8:16). The fourth commandment contains the seal of God’s law. Only this commandment, of all the ten, includes both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. When the papal power tried to change the Sabbath,* this seal was removed from the law. God calls for the disciples of Jesus to restore it by exalting the Sabbath as the Creator’s memorial and sign of His authority.
Protestants now claim that Christ’s resurrection on Sunday made it the Christian Sabbath. But neither Christ nor His apostles gave any such honor to the day. Sunday observance had its origin in that “mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) that had begun its work even in Paul’s day. What reason can anyone give for a change that the Scriptures do not authorize?
Protestants admit that “the New Testament is completely silent about any explicit command for the Sabbath [referring here to Sunday, the first day of the week] or definite rules for its observance.”1 “Up to the time of Christ’s death, there had been no change in the day”; and, “so far as the record shows, they [the apostles] did not … give any explicit command to abandon the seventh day Sabbath, and observe it on the first day of the week.”2
Roman Catholics acknowledge that their church made the change of the Sabbath, and they declare that Protestants recognize her power by observing Sunday. They claim, “During the old law, Saturday was the day sanctified; but the Church, instructed by Jesus Christ and directed by the Spirit of God, has substituted Sunday for Saturday; so now we sanctify the first day, not the seventh day. Sunday means, and now is, the day of the Lord.”3
God commands, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression” (Isaiah 58:1). Those whom the Lord calls “My people” need to be told that they are breaking His law, even though they think that they are doing what is right in the service of God. But the solemn rebuke of the One who searches hearts shows that they are trampling on the divine commandments.
Here is how the prophet points out the law they have forsaken: “You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called The Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:12-14). The “breach” in the law of God was made when the Roman power changed the Sabbath. But the time has come to repair the breach.
Adam kept the Sabbath in his innocence in Eden; he still kept it when, fallen yet repentant, he was driven from the Garden. All the patriarchs from Abel to Noah, to Abraham, to Jacob kept the Sabbath. When the Lord delivered Israel from Egypt, He proclaimed His law to the emerging nation.
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Source: Ellen G. White, The Great Hope, pp. 59-61.
*This change is described in chapter 3 of The Great Controversy.
1 George Elliott, The Abiding Sabbath, p. 184.
2 A. E. Waffle, The Lord’s Day, pp. 186-188.
3 Catholic Catechism of Christian Religion.