After beating the Sabbath topic to death, I was planning to move on to the 5th Word of God today.
But it was not to be.
There is just one more thing I had to do.
I just had to provide these few choice historical excerpts that establish without a doubt the early church did indeed keep the true Biblical Sabbath (Saturday).
“The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the apostles themselves, as appears by several Scriptures to that purpose.” Dialogue on the Lord’s Day, p. 189. London: 1701. By Dr. T.H. Morer (Church of England).
“The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of Saturday, or the seventh day. It is plain that all the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival. Athanasius tells us that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. Epiphanius says the same.” Antiquities of the Christian Church, Vol. II. Book XX, chap 3, Sec. 1 66.1137, 1138.
“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 at Rome or at Alexandria.” Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, Book 7, chap. 19.
I could go on and on but I think you’ve got the point.
The observance of God’s true Biblical Sabbath did NOT end with the apostles and the early church.
It was practiced and continues to be practiced by those believers who recognize and understand the importance of OBEDIENCE to God’s commandments.
And here are some choice excerpts substantiating that punishment was meted out to those who refused to change their practice of Sabbath observance or to recognize the “Sunday law” being promoted in the majority of the gentile Christian world.
“Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s Day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.” Catholic Church Council in Laodicea, 364AD, Canon 29.
“The inquisitors. . . [declare] that the sign of a Vaudois, deemed worthy of death, was that he followed Christ and sought to obey the commandments of God.” History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, H.C. Lea, Vol. 1.
“We are informed that some people in different districts of the kingdom, have adopted and observed Saturday-keeping. It is severely forbidden – in holy church canon – one and all to observe days excepting those which the holy Pope, archbishop, or the bishops command. Saturday-keeping must under no circumstances be permitted hereafter further than the church canon commands. Therefore, we counsel all the friends of God throughout all Norway who want to be obedient towards the holy church to let this evil of Saturday-keeping alone; and the rest we forbid under penalty of severe church punishment to keep Saturday holy.” Catholic Provincial Council at Bergen. 1435 Dip. Norveg., 7, 397.
Holland and Germany: Babara of Thiers, who was executed in 1529, declared: “God has commanded us to rest on the seventh day.” Martyrology of the Churches of Christ, commonly called Baptists, during the era of the Reformation, from the Dutch of T.J. Van Braght, London 1850, 1, pp. 113-114.
Russia: “The accused (Sabbath-keepers) were summoned; they openly acknowledged the new faith, and defended the same. The most eminent of them, the secretary of state, Kuritzyn, Ivan Maximow, Kassian, archimandrite of the Jury Monastery of Novgorod, were condemned to death, and burned publicly in cages, at Moscow, Dec. 27, 1503.”( Council, Moscow, 1503). H. Sternberf, Geschichte der Juden (Leipzig, 1873), pp. 117-122.
Sweden: “This zeal for Saturday-keeping continued for a long time; even little things which might strengthen the practice of keeping Saturday were punished.” Bishop Anjou, Svenska Kirkans Historia efter Motet i Upsala.
Europe: About the year 1520, many of these Sabbath-keepers found shelter on the estate of Lord Leonhardt of Lichtensein, “as the princes of Lichtenstein held to the observance of the true Sabbath.” History of the Sabbath, J.N. Andrews, p. 649, ed.
Rumania (1760): “Joseph II’s edict of tolerance did not apply to the Sabbatarians, some of whom again lost all of their possessions.” Jahrgang 2, 254.
Bohemia and Moravia: “The condition of the Sabbatarians (from 1635 to 1867) was dreadful. Their books and writings had to be delivered to the Karlsburg Consistory to become the spoil of flames.” Adolf Dux, Aus Ungarn, pp. 289-291. Leipzig, 1880.
After typing up all these quotes, I wonder if all of this persecution for wanting to honor God’s Holy Sabbath was somehow a partial fulfillment of what John told us in the Book of Revelations.
“The dragon was infuriated over the woman and went off to fight the rest of her children, those who obey God’s commands and bear witness to Yeshua.”-Revelations 12:17
One interesting question I think we need to ask ourselves is why would the devil be so against Sabbath-keeping?
I don’t know about you, but whatever practice makes the devil angry is something I want to wholeheartedly participate in.
So next time we’ll move on to God’s 5th Word (I hope).
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’
will enter the Kingdom of Heaven,
only those who do what my Father in heaven wants.
On that Day, many will say to me,
‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name?
Didn’t we expel demons in your name?
Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’
Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you!
Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’