Dwelling Place of the Father's Seal by Pete Kovacs

Chapter 7:

The Mark of Apostasy

"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Daniel 7:25.

As it has been shown, the keeping of the true Sabbath represents the "seal of God", then the "mark of the beast" must be some commandment established by the beast that is in complete opposition to keeping the Sabbath. Daniel clearly presents to us in the above verse that the little horn power (the Papacy) would think to change Godís law. Notice that Daniel is specific in that there is a change pertaining to time. Only one of Godís commandments pertains to time, and that is His Sabbath. Has such a change come about? Has the little horn, that is to say the beast, which is the Roman Catholic Church changed the laws of God? Once again, we will let them answer for themselves:

"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles...from beginning to end of scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, Aug. 1900.

"Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, has no good reasons for its Sunday theory, and ought logically to keep Saturday as the Sabbath." John Gilmary Shea, in the "American Catholic Quarterly Review," Jan. 1883

"It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Church." Priests Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, "News" of March 18, 1903.

"Question -- Have you any other way of proving that the Catholic Church has power to institute festivals of precept to command holy days?"

"Answer -- Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her: she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority." Stephen Keenan, "A Doctrinal Catechism," page 176

"Reason and common sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday, or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible." "The Catholic Mirror," December 23, 1893

"God simply gave his (Catholic) Church the power to set aside whatever day or days, she would deem suitable as Holy days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days, as holy days." Vincent J. Kelly, "Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations," page 2.

"Protestants...accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the date for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change...But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that...in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope." "Our Sunday Visitor," Feb. 5, 1950.

"If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church." Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal, in a letter dated February 10, 1920

"The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Catholic Church." Monsignor Louis Segur, "Plain Talk about the Protestantism of Today," Page 213.

"We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." Peter Geiermann, CSSR, "A Doctrinal Catechism," 1957 edition, p. 50

"We Catholics, then, have precisely the same authority for keeping Sunday holy instead of Saturday as we have for every other article of our creed, namely, the authority of the church (tradition)...whereas you who are Protestants have really no authority for it whatever; for there is no authority for it in the Bible, and you will not allow that there can be authority for it anywhere else. Both you and we do, in fact, follow tradition in this matter; but we follow it, believing it to be a part of God's word, and the Catholic Church to be its divinely appointed guardian and interpreter; you follow the Catholic Church, denouncing it all the time as a fallible and treacherous guide, which often 'makes the commandments of God of none effect' quoting Matthew 15:6." The Brotherhood of St. Paul, "The Clifton Tracts," Vol. 4, tract 4, p. 15.

"1. Is Saturday the 7th day according to the Bible & the 10 Commandments.

"I answer yes.

"2. Is Sunday the first day of the week & did the church change the 7th day -- Saturday -- for Sunday, the 1st day:

"I answer yes.

"3. Did Christ change the day?

"I answer no!

Faithfully yours, J. Cardinal Gibbons

[Gibbons' Autographed letter.]

By their own words they admit to changing God's law. But the Sabbath is not the only law that they have tampered with. In Butler's Catechism, p. 28 we find that the Catholic Church has removed the second commandment forbidding idols, however, this now changed the 10 Commandments into 9, so to keep the original number the 10th commandment was split into two, thus making a mockery of God's law. (See appendix G: Confessions on the Law)

Eight References to Sunday

Though Protestants have rejected the other changes to God's law they still accept and keep the man-made sabbath instituted by the papacy, yet by their own words they can find no scriptural reason to keep it. In fact, there are only 8 references in the New Testament which mention the first day of the week. If there is a command to keep Sunday holy it should be found in one of these Bible passages.

Below are five New Testament first day texts. Do any of these texts suggest Sunday, the first day of the week, is to be considered holy?

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Matthew 28:1

"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." Mark 16:1,2

"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." Mark 16:9

"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them." Luke 24: 1

"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre." John 20:1

Note: These Bible texts imply that the women closest to Jesus desired to anoint His body for burial after the Sabbath had ended. They did this because they did not have sufficient time to do a proper burial before the Sabbath had begun. They could not have come to worship Jesus on the first day of the week because at this point they had no clue that He had risen.

This sixth first day text involves the gathering of the disciples on the evening of the resurrection day. According to the passage, why were they assembled?

"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." John 20: 19

Note: Some claim the disciples had gathered to keep holy the first day of the week in honor of the resurrection. However, Mark explains that the disciples did not even believe Jesus had been raised from the dead until he appeared in their midst that evening! "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen." Mark 16:14

The seventh first day text involves contributions requested by Paul for the poor:

"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." 1 Corinthians 16: 1,2

Note: Paul was not suggesting changing the Sabbath in order to receive public collection at a Sunday service. Rather Paul's desire was that the collections be done during the week so that he could devote more time to teaching and preaching on Sabbath "as his manner was" Acts 17:2!

The eighth, and final first day text, deals with a farewell meeting Paul held on the first day the week:

"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together." Acts 20: 7,8

Note: The fact that the disciples broke bread at this meeting does not indicate that the day was holy. The early believers broke bread every day of the week: "And they, continuing daily...breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness." Acts 2:46. Notice also that the meeting took place at night since verse 8 says, "There were many lights in the upper chamber." According to the Bible the day begins at sunset. The dark part of the day, or evening, comes first in the Bible, then comes the light part, (Genesis 1:5,8,13). Paul called this meeting for the dark part of Sunday, which is what we now call Saturday night. The following morning Paul sets out on a journey to Assos. Now, if Paul had intended that this meeting should set the precedence of Sunday worship, why would he set out first thing Sunday morning to travel when he should be in church? If the Sabbath had been changed to Sunday then Paul would clearly be breaking the law. The fact of the matter is that Paul considered that Sunday morning as any other workday.

So, as you can see, there is no Scriptural basis for Sunday observance. Many Protestants have pondered this dilemma, yet have not found the answer to this perplexing question. Below are some confessions made by Protestants concerning this issue.

Baptist: "There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on the subject, which I have studied for many years, I asked where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament -- absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week." Dr. E. T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual

Congregationalist: "It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath...The Sabbath was founded on specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday...There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday." Dr. R.W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, p. 106-107.

Lutheran Free Church: "For when there could not be produced one solitary place in the Holy Scriptures which testify that either the Lord Himself or the apostles had ordered such a transfer of the Sabbath to Sunday, then it was not easy to answer the question: Who has transferred the Sabbath, and who has had the right to do it?" George Sverdrup, A New Day

Protestant Episcopal: "The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day...but as we meet with no Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by the authority of the church." Explanation of Catechism.

Baptist: "The Scriptures nowhere call the first day of the week the Sabbath...There is no Scriptural authority for so doing, nor of course, any Scriptural obligation." The Watchman

Presbyterian: "There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Ash Wednesday, or Lent, stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday. Into the rest of Sunday no Divine Law enters." Canon Eyton, in The Ten Commandments

Anglican: "And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day." Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, pp. 334, 336

Disciples of Christ: "There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day Ďthe Lordís Day.í" Dr. D.H. Lucas, Christian Oracle, January, 1890

Methodist: "It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose. (Matt. 4:17,18) Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath base it only on supposition." Amos Binney, Theological Compendium, pp.180-181

Episcopalian: "We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, catholic, apostolic church of Christ." Bishop Symor, Why We Keep Sunday

Southern Baptist: "The sacred name of the Seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to require argument (Exodus 20:10 quoted)...On this point the plain teaching of the Word has been admitted in all ages...Not once did the disciples apply the Sabbath to the first day of the week - that folly was left for a later age, nor did they pretend that the first day supplanted the seventh." Joseph Judson Taylor, The Sabbath Question, pp. 14-17,41

American Congregationalist: "The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament." Dr. Layman Abbot, in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890

Christian Church: "Now there is no testimony in all the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath is changed, or that the Lordís Day came in the room of it." Alexander Campbell, in The Reporter, October 8, 1921

Baptist: "To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three yearsí discussion with His disciples, often conversing with them on the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false (Jewish traditional) glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during the forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches, counseling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach the subject.

"Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and christened with the name of the sun-god, then adopted and sanctified by Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism." Dr. E.T. Hiscox, report of his sermon at the Baptist Ministerís Convention, in the New York Examiner, November 16, 1893.

 

So there you have it! Both Catholics and Protestants agree. The day of worship appointed by God has been changed against His authority and nearly every Christian has been snookered into keeping the man-made sabbath in its place. One would have to ask, how is this all possible? How could mankind be so gullible as to let this happen in the first place? The answer is quite simple, actually. This did not all happen over night. It happened slowly and almost imperceptively. Let us briefly examine the circumstances that resulted in this great deception.

 

A Short History of the Sabbath and Its Attempted Change

Sabbath in the Old Testament Age

 

That the Sabbath was kept not only by the Jews, but by other nations as well, long before Moses was given the Law on Mount Sinai, is proof that its institution has existed since the beginning of creation. See Gen 2:1-3.

Confucius wrote of the ancient history of China possibly as far back as the dispersing of the people at the tower of Babel:

"The ancient kings on this culminating day (speaking of the seventh day) closed their gates, the merchants did not travel and the princes did not inspect their domains." MíClatchie, "A Translation of the Confucian Classic of Change," page 118

 

Ancient Chinese characters that date back five thousand years or more tell the same story. The ancient Chinese character word for godliness (chien) depicts people in clean dress on the seventh day inside a tent, and the word for humble (su) depicts two people in a tent with hands uplifted in prayer on the seventh day. The fact that another character from the same time period, the word for boat (chuan), depicts eight people in an ark tells us that these ancient characters must have come from as far back as the days of Noah and the flood. These people were worshiping on the seventh day, the Sabbath; a custom that could only have been handed down to them by faithful Noah and his family.

 

Certainly if the Chinese had knowledge of and were keeping the Sabbath shortly after the great flood, then father Abraham must have also been aware of it, as well as his descendants. Abraham passed it on to Isaac and Isaac on to Jacob and Jacob on to his sons, but when the descendants of Jacob became slaves of Egypt and were forced by oppression to give up many of their religious practices the knowledge of the Sabbath for the most part was temporarily lost. God, not willing that His eternal Law be forgotten, raised up Moses to deliver His people and re-establish His moral law.

After Moses met with God on Mount Sinai at the burning bush, he was commissioned by God to return to Egypt to free the children of Israel. The very first thing we find Moses doing upon his return to Egypt was to give the people back their Sabbath rest (it was common practice for slaves to work seven days a week). Because Moses gave rest back to his people, Pharaoh became very angry, and he made the peopleís work more difficult by expecting the same amount of bricks after cutting off their supply of straw. "And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof...." Exodus 5:4-8. Notice that the word rest found in this verse is shaw-bathí in Hebrew and means - to repose from work; to keep the Sabbath. Clearly Moses must have learned of the Sabbath while living in the land of Midian with Jethro his father-in-law, who worshiped the same God as Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After the children of Israel had been rescued out of Egypt they had to learn the lesson of the Sabbath once again in the wilderness. Moses was instructed by GOD to tell the people that HE would supply them with food from heaven. A flaky substance, called manna, would be on the ground every morning for six days, but on the seventh day there would be none. The people were instructed to gather only a certain amount and to eat all of it for if there was any left the next morning it would rot and breed worms. They were also instructed to gather twice as much on Friday, the sixth day, to supply their needs for the Sabbath, and every Sabbath GOD would perform a miracle. You see, the left over manna from Friday did not rot nor stink nor breed worms. ( Exodus 16 ) For over forty years, week after week, the children of Israel witnessed this miracle of the Sabbath.

After the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan, the history of the Sabbath would be a shaky one. Many times the people would forget the Sabbath and forsake the Lord for other gods, but the Lord would send judgments until the people returned to keeping His commandments. One time, while in the land of Shittim, the Israelites began to worship Baalpeor, the sun god of the Moabites. The nation of Israel was vexed with a plague until the idolatry was removed from the camp. (Numbers 25). During the time of the kings many of the kings of Israel, such as Jeraboam, Omri and Ahab, and the priests as well, forsook God and "did evil in the sight of the Lord" by worshiping Baal the sun god (on Sunday) thus leading the people into idolatry.(Ezekiel 8) God sent the Assyrian and Babylonian armies against Israel as judgments to correct HIS people. During their captivity Godís people would learn that the sun god could not protect them. The books of Nehemiah and Ezra record the re-establishment of the Sabbath and the temple by the Israelites after their punishment was complete. These judgments also allowed their Gentile captors to become acquainted with the true God and His commandments.

The swift judgments concerning the worship of the sun god have been recorded for us in the Old Testament as a witness that God will not be trifled with concerning HIS Sabbath. The times of prosperity when the people kept the Sabbath and obeyed HIS commandments are also on record as a witness for us that we may know God is faithful to keep HIS promises (Isaiah 58:13,14).

The Sabbath in the New Testament Age

Philo, a teacher of ancient Alexandria, talks about the time just before Christís advent and declares:

"....the seventh day to be a festival, not only of this or that city, but of the universe." MíClatchie, "Notes and Queries on China and Japan," Vol. 4, p.99

In the Bible, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us that Jesus kept the Sabbath no less than 1700 times during His life here on earth. He even kept it in death as He rested on the Sabbath in His tomb.

Josephus, a Jewish historian, spoke of the time just after Christís first advent:

"There is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any other nation whatsoever, wither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come." Ibid, (Edited by Dennys) Vol. 4, Nos. 7,8, p.100 Derived from "Antiquity of the Jews"

As you can see, the Sabbath was well known and kept from creation until the advent of Christ. So, where and how did the attempted change come about?

The Road to Compromise

History bears out that the Jewish nation caused Rome many serious problems by their uprisings in the first and second centuries. Three of these uprisings are the most prominent, the first of which occurred in 66 AD when Cestius was sent to Jerusalem to stop it. The Jews, however, rallied and fought off the Romans and chased them away. At this time the Christians within the city took advantage of the situation and fled as they had been told to do by Jesus (see Mat. 24:15-20. Notice how Jesus told them to pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath. Why would He do that if they had stopped keeping the Sabbath?) Three years later the Romans sent Titus who destroyed Jerusalem, the temple and slaughtered over one million Jews. You can read all about it in Josephusí book, The Antiquity of the Jews.

Note what Eusebius, another great historian, had to write about the Christians that escaped the destruction:

"When the spiritual seed of Abraham fled to Pella, on the other side of Jordan, there they found a safe place of refuge, and could serve their master and keep his Sabbath." Eusebius, "Ecclesiastical History," Bk. 3, Ch. 5

Isnít it amazing how the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled to the letter? The Christians, the spiritual seed of Abraham (see Gal. 3:29,) fled from Jerusalem between attacks and left Judea to find refuge in Pella where they founded a church and kept the Sabbath. It is important that we note the part about keeping the Sabbath. You see, after this uprising, anyone who looked or acted like a Jew was under great persecution. Many Christians received persecution and death because they kept the Sabbath and read the Jewish writings (what we now call the Old Testament).

The next uprising was actually a continuation of the first and ended in 73 AD at Masada. The Zealots, survivors of the first uprising, had been holding out in the fortified city, but finally committed suicide to escape capture. As a result of this revolt, though, thousands if not millions of Jews were sold into slavery, along with many Sabbath-keeping Christians. Again, anything that looked Jewish became very unpopular, and because of fear many Christians were changing their customs so as not to be confused with the Jews. This was the beginning of many compromises in the Christian faith. (See Revelation 2:1-5)

The third uprising caused such a stir with the Roman authorities that "for a time thereafter observance of basic Jewish practices was made a capital crime, and Jews were banned from Jerusalem." Groliers Electronic Encyclopedia. That included the observance of the Sabbath! This uprising was led by a self appointed messiah by the name of Bar Kochba and ended in 135 AD after much blood shed. Anti-Semitism was so strong that it caused many so called Christians to shrug off any remaining vestiges of Jewry. The so called Christian Fathers with their pagan and Platonic philosophical backgrounds, for they were taught in the schools of Rome and Alexandria, were more than willing to usher in the pagan Sunday in place of the Sabbath.

Commencing about this time many Christians began keeping both Sabbath and Sunday. This, however, this was only another compromise to appease the increasing pressure from Rome. It helped to distinguish themselves from the Jews and provided a common point of interest with the pagans in hopes of appearing more favorable to them.

"From the Apostleís time until the council of Laodicea, which was about 364 AD, the Holy observation of the Jewís sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many authors, yea, not withstanding the decree of the council against it." John Ley, "Sunday a Sabbath," p.163, London 1640

"The Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath." Gieslerís "Church History," Vol.1, Chp.2, par.30, p.93

It can be seen that the observance of Sunday from the earliest time did not in the least replace the observance of the Sabbath. The doing away with the sanctity of the Sabbath originated in Rome and Alexandria as history points out. It was because of their hatred for the Jews that the Sabbath was so evil spoken of. From the earliest history of Christianity it can be seen that the Sabbath was indeed kept as the day of rest and worship and that Sunday came into use through a series of compromises. Writers such as Clement, Justin Martyr, Irenaus, and Tertulian, with their pagan beginnings, anti-Semitic views, and Alexandrian (humanistic philosophical) schooling were most responsible for bringing forth the popularity of Sunday and diminishing the sanctity of the Sabbath, and when quoting from these writers their ties to Pagan Rome and Alexandria have to be taken into consideration.

"The people of Constantinople and almost everywhere assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed in Rome nor Alexandria." Socrates Scholasticus, "Ecclesiastical History," Bk. 7, Chp.19

The Emperor Seeks Peace

In the first few centuries the threat to Godís church was from without, but later, in the fourth century, a new danger presented itself to the church. Constantine was seeking the position of Emperor of Rome. The change of emphasis from Sabbath to Sunday was brought on by compromise to appease the two major religious groups at that time.

"...Civil laws requiring the observance of Sunday date back at least to Emperor Constantine the Great [Emperor of Rome], who designated Sunday as a legal day of rest and worship in 321AD. This law, however was not specifically Christian, since Sunday was the day of the sun-god for pagans as well as the Lord's day for [some] Christians...Constantine thus managed to please the two major religious groups in the Roman empire..."ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA, (Sunday, 1988, pg. 21)

Let it also be known that it was Constantine who in 313 AD legalized Christianity. How regretful and unfortunate for the church that this was done at such a high price, at the expense of compromise and corruption of purity. With the fire of persecution abated the purifying agent for the church was gone, and it was only a matter of time before the church would become filled with every sort of evil. It was at this time that idolatry, worship of the dead, pagan feast days and many other errors were introduced into professed Christianity. Satan was no longer working from the outside but was working directly from within the church. What a price to pay for a false sense of peace and unity.

St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan in 374 A.D., was a Sabbath keeper. When visiting Rome, out of respect, he would observed Sunday as well. This is significant proof of the compromising attitudes of the time. He was the one who coined the phrase; "When in Rome do as the Romanís do."

The Gospel Spreads

Let us now briefly look at the Christian churches of the world which at first did not feel the influences of Rome nor Alexandria.

Asian Churches

The Nestorian church will be our first study. Out of the persecution of the first century there arose in Persia a group of Sabbath-keeping Christians. They later became known as the Nestorians because in the 5th century they backed up Nestorius the bishop of Constantinople. They are officially known as the Holy Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East. They brought Christianity to China and taught the observance of the Sabbath.

"The hills of Persia and the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates re-echoed their songs of praise. They reaped their harvests and paid their tithes. They repaired to their churches on the Sabbath day for the worship of God." Reanlencyclopedia fŁr Protestantische and Kiche, Art. "Nestorianer"; also Yale "The book of Ser Marco Polo," Vol. 2, p.409

"The Nestorians eat no pork and keep the Sabbath. They believe in neither auricular confession nor purgatory." Schaff-Herzog, The New Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, art. "Nestorians"

The Nestorians brought the Sabbath back to China:

"Taipings (Chinese converts of the Nestorians), when asked why they observe the seventh-day Sabbath replied that is was, first, because the Bible taught it, and, second, because their ancestors observed it as a day of worship." A Critical History of the Sabbath and Sunday

Another church to look at is the St. Thomas or Malabar Christians of India. History shows that the Apostle Thomas went there to set up his church. He was martyred in India at Madras. They were Sabbath-keepers from the beginning until Roman Catholics arrived in the 17th century and used persecution to convert them into accepting Sunday and the mass.

"Widespread and enduring was the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath among the believers of the church of the East and the St. Thomas Christians of India. It was also maintained by the Abyssinians." James Aribito, History of the Sabbath

We now look at the Armenian church:

"The history of the Armenian church is very interesting. Of all the Christians in Central Asia, they have preserved themselves most free from Mahometan and papal corruptions. The pope assailed them for a time with great violence, but with little effect. The churches in lesser Armenia indeed consented to an union, which did not long continue; but those in Persian Armenia maintained their independence; and they retain their ancient Scriptures, doctrines, and worship, to this day. `It is marvelous,' says an intelligent traveler who was much among them, `how the Armenian Christians have preserved their faith, equally against the vexatious oppression of the Mahometans, their sovereigns, and against the persuasions of the Romish church which for more than two centuries has endeavored, by missionaries, priests and monks, to attach them to her communion. It is impossible to describe the artifices and expenses of the court of Rome to effect this object, but all in vain.'

"The Bible was translated into the Armenian language in the fifth century, under very auspicious circumstances, the history of which has come down to us. It has been allowed by competent judges of the language, to be a most faithful translation. La Cruze calls it the `Queen of Versions.' This Bible has ever remained in the possession of the Armenian people; and many illustrious instances of genuine and enlightened piety occur in their history. . . .

"The Armenians in Hindoostan are our own subjects. They acknowledge our government in India, as they do that of the Sophi in Persia; and they are entitled to our regard. They have preserved the Bible in its purity; and their doctrines are, as far as the author knows, the doctrines of the Bible. Besides, they maintain the solemn observance of Christian worship throughout our empire, ON THE SEVENTH DAY, and they have as many spires pointing to heaven among the Hindoos as we ourselves. Are such a people then entitled to no acknowledgment on our part, as fellow Christians? Are they forever to be ranked by us with Jews, Mahometans, and Hindoos?"Buchananís Christian Researches in Asia, pp.159,160

African Churches

The Ethiopian eunuch, after being Baptized by Philip, returned to Ethiopia to found the Abyssinian church of which many keep the Sabbath to this day.

"The Abyssinians do hold the Scriptures to be the perfect rule of the Christian faith; insomuch that they deny it to be in the power of a general council to oblige people to believe anything as an article of faith without an express warrant from thence." Church Hist. Of Ethiopia, p.31

"Transubstantiation and the adoration of the consecrated bread in the sacrament, were what the Abyssinians abhorred...They deny purgatory, and know nothing of confirmation and extreme unction; they condemn graven images; they keep both Saturday and Sunday." Ibid, pp.34,35; Purchasís Pilgrimage, book ii, chap.V

Their views on the Sabbath are stated by the ambassador of the king of Ethiopia at the court of Lisbon in the following words:

"Because God, after he had finished the creation of the world, rested thereon; which day, as God would have it called the holy of holies, so the not celebrating thereof with great honor and devotion, seems to be plainly contrary to Godís will and precept, who will suffer heaven and earth to pass away sooner than his word; and that especially, since Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. It is not therefore in the imitation of the Jews, but in obedience to Christ and his holy apostles, that we observe that day....We do observe the Lordís day after the manner of all other Christians in memory of Christís resurrection." Church Hist. Of Ethiopia, pp.87,88

*Notice the only reason given for keeping Sunday was tradition.

In Egypt we have the Coptic Church, founded by Matthew Levi on his way to Ethiopia where he was martyred.(Martyrs Mirror, Thieleman J. Van Braght). They kept the Sabbath until the 5th century when the Roman church persecuted them into submission. Sadly, today there is very little difference between their beliefs and the Church of Romeís.

The churches of Europe

There has probably not existed a class of Christians since the Apostles' time, who could more justly claim to be apostolic than the Waldenses. The Waldense church was founded in the Italian Alps, and historians believe it to have originated from the Christian exodus when Constantine made his Sunday laws in 321 AD. They were the first to be known as Anabaptists and were called Waldenses much later after one of their leaders, Peter Waldo. (See Story of the Waldenses, by J.A. Wylie.)

"Some have suffered torture because they would not rest when others kept Sunday, for they declared it to be the holiday and law of antichrist." Sebastain Frank, AD 1536

The Albigenses were the same as Waldenses but settled in France along the Albi River. They were nearly wiped out by Catholic persecutions and inquisitions. (See The New Groliers Encyclopedia, art. "Albigenses")

The Huguenots, many of whom were Sabbath keepers, were massacred on a large scale by the Roman Church as well. Starting on Aug. 24, 1572,  for a two month period, 70,000 of them were massacred in Paris France by order of Pope Gregory the XIII in what is known as the St. Bartholomewís massacre. In an attempt to escape this papal persecution many Huguenots came to the new world to settle here. One such place is in Florida at the place now known as St. Augustine. The Catholic church sent its mercenaries after them and as many as 1,500 Huguenots were slain for their faith right here on American soil. In celebration of the massacres the Catholic Church minted a coin with the likeness of Gregory XIII on one side and a scene of the massacre on the other. (See The New Groliers Encyclopedia, art. "Huguenots")

The Bulgarian Pasaginian church was persecuted by the Roman church for keeping Sabbath though the excuse given was that they circumcised their followers.

"Mosheim mentions a sect of Christians in the twelfth century, in Lombardy, called Pasaginians, charged with circumcising their followers, and keeping the Jewish Sabbath. Mr. Benedict considers the account of their practicing the bloody rite a slander charged on them on account of their keeping the Jewish Sabbath." The Bible Sabbath, James White, p.36

The Hussites were Sabbath keepers of Bohemiah after the order of John Huss, who acquired his education from the writings of John Wycliffe. According to Erasumus, they kept the Sabbath scrupulously until the 1500's. They also were severely attacked by the Roman Church. John Huss and his friend Jerome were martyred for their faith.

The Celtic church were Sabbath keepers of Scotland and Wales. St. Patrick, Columba and Columbanus, as well as the real King Arthur were champions of the Sabbath. (See the book entitled Truth Triumphant by Wilkinson). Missionary work of this church helped bring Europe out of the dark ages. The Catholic Church captured the European monasteries established by the Celts and placed her Benedictine monks in them, and then claimed it was her act that brought spiritual enlightenment to Europe.

St. Patrick, born in southern Scotland and raised in the ways of the Celtic Church, was captured in his youth and taken to Ireland as a slave. "Here, in slavery, he gave his heart to God and, after six years of servitude, escaped, returning to his home in Scotland...but he could not forget the spiritual need of these poor heathen, and after ten years he returned to Ireland as a missionary of the Celtic Church." Facts of Faith, Christian Edwardson, p.134,135. That St. Patrick was a Sabbath keeper can easily be affirmed by a study of the practices of the Celtic Church. 

"It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week." The Church in Scotland, Professor James C. Moffat, p.140.

Columba, a student of St. Patrickís schools in Ireland had these last words to say before his death: 

"Having continued his labours in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June, said to his disciple Diermit: ĎThis day is called the Sabbath, that is, the rest day, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labours." Butlerís Lives of the Saints, vol.1, 597 AD, art. "St. Columba," p.762

The early church in Wales: 

"There is much evidence that the Sabbath prevailed in Wales universally until 1115 AD, when the first Roman bishop was seated at St. Davidís. The old Welsh Sabbath-keeping churches did not even then altogether bow the knee to Rome, but fled to their hiding places." Lewis, Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, vol.1, p.29

 

Many Puritans were Sabbath keepers, including some of those that came to America.

Peter Chamberlyn, the personal physician to the King, had this epitaph written above his grave: "...a Christian keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, being baptized about the year 1648, and keeping the seventh day for the Sabbath above thirty-two years." Telegraph Print, Napier

"Here in England are about nine or ten churches that keep Sabbath, besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved." Stennetís Letters, 1668 and 1670, Cox Sabbath, vol. 1, p.268

The Sabbath was kept in Russia as well. The Muscovite Church was first evangelized by missionaries from Asia Minor. These Sabbath keeping Russians were known as Subotnik (Sabbath keepers). By the 10th century, under the ruler ship of Vladimir I, Russia had adopted the Eastern Orthodox religion, but the Muscovites continued to keep the Sabbath until the 15th century when they fled persecution to the Crimea and the Caucasus. There are remnants of the Muscovites still keeping the Sabbath today.

Of the Muscovite Church it is written, "They solemnize Saturday (the old Sabbath)." Samuel Purchase: His Pilgrims, Vol. 1, p. 350

The fact is that the Sabbath keeping churches throughout the history of Christianity have been the very ones that most reflect the character of Christ. It has been the Church of Rome and her daughters that have been the very persecutors Jesus warned His disciples about. Has she changed? Will persecution again arise? It has been estimated that the Catholic Church has murdered more people than any other power in the history of the world. The estimate stands at 50 to 100 million people!! Can you trust an institution that claims infallibility, that she has never done wrong when so much bloodshed has been laid to her account? "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Rev 18:24 KJV)

Think about it.

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