THE LAW AND THE SABBATH
Purpose of Exodus. Exodus 4:22, 23; 9:1
The Israelites could no longer serve God and remain in Egypt. Obedience to God made it imperative that they leave Egypt. While in bondage they were serving man instead of God and were therefore guilty of idolatry. Exodus 1:13, 14; 14:5, 12. In serving the Egyptians they were actually serving and worshiping the beast or dragon. Ezekiel 29:2, 3. Not "a" but "the great dragon" and there is but one. Egypt was the first of the seven heads of the great red dragon and the beast of Revelation 12, 13 and 17, which represents Satan’s earthly kingdom in all its phases since the deluge. The purpose of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage is again stated in Psalm 105:43, 45; Deuteronomy 6:21-25.
God is calling His people out of modern Egypt or Babylon for the same purpose. Revelation 14:6, 7; 18:1-5. We give glory to God and serve Him by obeying Him, and obedience is worship. Romans 6:16. The language of the last message indicates that the people of God in Babylon are giving glory to another besides the Creator. They are serving and thus worshiping man and are therefore guilty of idolatry. Revelation 13:4, 8, 18. "For it indicates a certain man." —Wey. In serving the man at the head of the beast power they are worshiping the beast and the dragon, which primarily represents Satan and secondarily his kingdom. Satan is called a "man" because he is a created being with no right to receive worship. He is primarily "the man of sin" who sits in the temple of God to receive worship as God and the whole world does him homage. He is the "god of this world."
Satan’s Throne. Revelation 2:13
"Satan’s throne is there." —Wey. "Where the throne of the adversary is." —Emphatic Diaglott. "Where God’s throne should have been, Satan placed his throne. The world laid its homage, as a willing offering, at the feet of the enemy." Vol. 6:236. Satan’s throne and headquarters in this world over which he rules is in Babylon and he is the king of Babylon. Revelation 18:2,3. God’s people cannot serve Him and remain in Babylon and so the call is given, "Come out of her, My people." They are God’s people and are called out to obey His law. Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14. This exodus from modern Babylon will include all of the honest in heart, for they are the people of God. "Every truly honest soul will come to the light of the truth." —G.C. 522.
Majority in Babylon
"And in what religious bodies are the great part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith." "Not withstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. … Revelation 18 points to the time when the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. … Then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call, 'Come our of her, My people.'"—G.C. 383, 390.
Sign of Allegiance
Moses and Aaron tried to teach the Israelites to observe the Sabbath in Egypt. Exodus 5:4-14. Resting on the Sabbath made Pharaoh angry and he issued a decree that made Sabbath keeping impossible in Egypt. The other commands of the law of God could be more easily observed. The test came on the Sabbath commandment, and Sabbath-keeping brought oppressive legislation and persecution. Israel was called out of Egypt that they might observe the Sabbath and obey God’s whole law. To Israel the Sabbath became the test of obedience and the sign of allegiance. Exodus 16:4, 22, 23. This happened a month before the law was given at Sinai. When the law was proclaimed from the mount, the Sabbath was placed in the very center, there being 146 words on each side of the statement, "Seventh day is the Sabbath." Dr. Adam Clarke said that the law was first spoken from Sinai on the Sabbath and that Pentecost was a memorial of that event. The law was placed in the center of the ark, the ark in the center of the holy of holies of the sanctuary, which was in the midst of the priestly tribe, which was in the midst of the camp of Israel, and the Lord placed Israel in the center of the world.
Memorial of Creation
To Israel the Sabbath was the memorial of creation and its observance the celebration of the birthday of the world. See Exodus 20:8-11. It is a part of the everlasting covenant and a sign between the Creator and His people forever. Exodus 31:15-17. It was also the sign that they had been delivered from the idolatry of Egypt and that they were worshiping the true God who was distinguished from all false gods because of His power to create. Ezekiel 20:20. Since only the Creator can redeem, and it requires creative power to recreate, the Sabbath is also the sign of holiness or redemption from sin. Ezekiel 29:11, 12; Isaiah 56:2.
Sabbath in Advent Movement. Isaiah 56:1
When does this text apply? Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:4, 5. In Isaiah 56:2-8 is described the gathering of Sabbath-keepers just before the coming of Christ. This gathering under the advent movement includes every "man" who "keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil." It also includes the "sons of the stranger" and the "eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths." Not only does this call include the "outcasts of Israel" but "others" which embraces "all people" for the Lord declares that His house "shall be called an house of prayer for all people." In the advent movement the Sabbath must be the outward sign of a godly character and separation from all evil. It is the outward sign of the character of God.
Seal of the Law. Isaiah 8:16, 17, 20; Revelation 7:1-4; 14:1, 5
The Sabbath command makes authentic the whole law since it is the only one of the ten that identifies the Lawgiver. Its observance therefore is the test of obedience to the whole law. James 2:10-12. True Sabbath-keeping shows that the law of God is written in the heart and that we are under the New Covenant. Heb. 8:10. Because the Sabbath is the sign of loyalty to the Creator, and a sign of holiness in those who keep it, its observance stirs up the wrath of the dragon and he persecutes. See 2 Timothy 3:12; Revelation 12:17; 13:15-17, 18. Religious laws will eventually become so oppressive that the sentence of death will be visited upon the violators. It isn’t so difficult to observe the other nine commandments in modern Babylon but it is impossible to keep the Sabbath and remain where the opposition is so bitter and the persecution so great. "As God called the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they might keep His Sabbath, so He calls His people out of Babylon, that they may not worship the beast nor his image."—An Appeal to our Ministers and Conference Committees, p. 16, Written Feb. 18, 1892.
A Separate People. Nehemiah 10:28
The Sabbath has always made its observers a separate and distinct people from the world. "He that observes the Sabbath aright holds the history of that which it celebrates to be authentic. He therefore believes in the creation of the first man; in the creation of a fair abode for man in the space of six days; in the primeval and absolute creation of the heavens and the earth, and as a necessary antecedent to all this, in the Creator, who at the close of His latest creative effort, rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath thus becomes a sign by which the believers in a historical revelation are distinguished from those who have allowed these great facts to fade from their remembrance." —James G. Murphy. Quoted from an editorial in The Moody Bible Institute Monthly, November 1930.
Why God Chose Israel. Deuteronomy 7:6-9
Israel was not selected from among the nations of the world because of their numbers, for they were "the fewest of all people." Yet there were several millions of them. They were chosen because their hearts were more inclined toward the law of God than any other people. Their obedience made them a holy nation, a peculiar people, separate and distinct from all the world. Likewise the advent people are a "little flock" compared to the other religious movements and are therefore called "the remnant," but because of their obedience to their Creator and His laws, they also are a "peculiar people" and a "holy nation." 1 Peter 2:9. Because they are different from the world they will be hated and persecuted. John 16:18-20.
While the children of Israel had the true Sabbath they were often unfaithful and lax in its observance. Ezekiel 20:12-20. "During the entire forty years in the wilderness, the people were every week reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath, by the miracle of the manna. Yet even this did not lead them to obedience. Though they did not venture upon so open and bold transgression as had received such signal punishment (as the man who defied God by gathering sticks on the Sabbath) yet, there was great laxness in the observance of the fourth commandment." —P.P. 409. The disastrous results of laxness in Sabbath keeping in the later history of Israel are related in Jeremiah 17:24-27, and Nehemiah 13:17, 18.
Since we are following in the footsteps of ancient Israel we are in danger of the same laxness in Sabbath observance, and of this danger we are warned. "We must be guarded lest the lax practices that prevail among Sunday-keepers shall be followed by those who profess to observe God’s holy rest-day. The line of demarcation is to be made clear and distinct between those who bear the mark of God’s kingdom and those who bear the sign of the kingdom of rebellion. Far more sacredness is attached to the Sabbath than is given it by many professed Sabbath-keepers. The Lord has been greatly dishonored by those who have not kept the Sabbath according to the commandment, either in the letter or in the spirit. He calls for a reform in the observance of the Sabbath. … We are to understand its spiritual bearing upon all the transactions of life. All who regard the Sabbath as a sign between them and God, showing that He is the God who sanctifies them, will represent the principles of His government. They will bring into daily practice the laws of His kingdom. Daily it will be their prayer that the sanctification of the Sabbath will rest upon them. Every day they will have the companionship of Christ, and will exemplify the perfection of His character." "We should each Sabbath reckon with our souls to see whether the week that has ended has brought spiritual gain or loss. It means eternal life to keep the Sabbath holy unto the Lord." —Vol. 6:353, 356.
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