Tonic for Sluggish Christians

Tonic for Sluggish Christians

by Kenneth Westby

“A good couch within easy reach of a low side table is a great way to enjoy TV. Remotes let you flit from channel to channel without moving your carcass out of reach of the chips and Coke, or pizza and beer. I’ve logged time—too much time—in that all-American position. When I see my grandkids assuming the same posture, I think those sluggish kids need some chores or to go outside and get some exercise.

You know a slug when you see one and words like apathetic, indolent, ambivalent, passive, unmotivated, ambitionless, slothful, tired, bored, and just plain lazy might be used to further describe a person in a near static state.

But are there sluggish Christians? Sure, I know plenty. I think I was one for a while. How might they be described?…”

(this article is an excerpt from the September-October 2008 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 4, click this link: http://biblesabbath.org/tss/533/tss_533.pdf

Roman Church Councils Between 506-796

Roman Church Councils Between 506-796

by Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Between the 200s and 400s AD, the Western Roman Empire was overrun by a number of Germanic tribes. They eventually settled within the confines of the Roman Empire. There were 10 main tribes by the 400s AD, and 8 of them converted to a form of Christianity called Arianism (which we have reviewed in previous articles). This form of Christianity had Sabbath-keeping tendencies.

As time passed, these Arian tribes were either conquered by the sword or through Catholic conversion. From 506 to 796, there were at least 22 pro-Roman Church councils that enforced Sunday keeping, condemned the seventh-day Sabbath, and/or restricted communication between Christian and Jewish people.

Among the councils of this time period, at least eight ban interactions between Christians and Jews in varying degrees. Three of them in particular ban Christians from participating in meals, festivals or banquets with Jewish people – which is likely a reference to the Sabbath and annual festivals of Leviticus 23 (Agatha or Agde [506 AD], Epaone [517], Macon [581]). Jewish people were expelled from Spain unless they converted to Catholicism (Toledo [638]).

At least 16 of these 22 Councils gave varying kinds of instruction about Sunday worship. 12 of these 16 councils either governed appropriate behaviors for Sunday (such as resting from work) or force Sunday church attendance. Some of the penalties for working on Sunday were fierce. One could be excommunicated from fellowship for violating them. The council of Narbonne in 589 imposed fines on people who worked on Sunday. Even worse, the council of Dingolvinga (also called Dengolfel) in 772 demanded that repeated Sunday violators be sold into slavery (Mansi, 12:851-856, lists this council is listed as Concilium Bavaricum). In some of these councils, the true Sabbath was denigrated. At least four of them condemned Sabbath keeping directly or indirectly (Agde in 506; Toledo in 589; Estinnes in 743; Friuli in 796).

These councils help us understand a few things. First of all, we learn that Sabbath keeping did not instantly die out during a previous time period. Secondly, the repetition of Sunday laws helps us understand that Sunday-keeping was not an established, entrenched custom hundreds of years after Christ. Lastly, the repetition of these laws indicates that Sunday worship did not easily take hold in these areas. They had to threaten people with severe punishment to force them to keep Sunday. Among these Arian Germanic tribes, Sunday keeping had to constantly be reinforced.

Some of these councils were held at a time that coincided with significant events in Gothic Arian history. Let’s look at an example.

In the 480s AD, Clovis I became the King of the Franks. In 496, he converted to Catholicism. By 506, he conquered most of the Visigoth holdings in southwestern France. About this same time, the council of Agatha (or Agde) was held. In it, people were banned from participating in the “meals of the Jews”. Fasting on the Sabbath during Lent was upheld. Those who did not celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost were not considered true Catholics. It also forced people to attend church every Sunday and to stay for the entire service or face punishment. Jewish people were forbidden from being baptized until they had proven themselves over an eight-month period (Landon, vol 1:12, Hefele, Vol. 4, 76-86).

This Roman Catholic Church Council promoted Sunday at a time that coincided with the conquest of former Arian domains. Any remnants of Sabbatarianism were suppressed; Sunday was enforced by threat of punishment. Furthermore, the repetition of pro-Sunday councils over an almost 300 year period is a reminder of the difficulty the Roman Church had in enforcing Sunday worship.

We will look at two specific Church Councils in our next blog on Sabbath history.

Kelly McDonald, Jr

BSA President, www.biblesabbath.org

The Abiding Sabbath and the Lord’s Day

The Abiding Sabbath
The Abiding Sabbath and the Lord’s Day

By Alonzo T. Jones
In 1883, a $500 prize was offered to whoever could write an essay on “The Perpetual Obligation on the Lord’s Day.” Rev. George Elliot won the essay with a work entitled The Abiding Sabbath. A second prize was offered, this time for $1,000, was awarded to Professor A.E. Waffle of Pennsylvania. His essay was entitled “The Lord’s Day; it’s Universal and Perpetual Obligation” was printed in 1885. Both of these works were written to defend keeping the first day of the week (Sunday).

Alonzo T. Jones wrote a work that strongly refuted both of these essays and proved the seventh day as the Scriptural day of rest. This book is a must have for anyone looking to defend their faith.

Click the link below to learn more:

https://biblesabbath.org/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=109&=SID

Sabbath Meditation #4 – Eternal Pleasures At His Right Hand

Sabbath Meditation #4 – Eternal Pleasures At His Right Hand

by Kelly McDonald, Jr.

“Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none” (Ex. 16:26).

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalms 16:11).

“And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full” (Psalm 78:24-25).

Meditate for a moment on the following: God gave the Israelites manna for six days. They were given one portion to gather the first five days of the week and twice as much to gather on the sixth day of the week. He did not give them any physical manna on the Sabbath. They had manna leftover from Friday morning to meet their physical needs during the Sabbath. This was the food of angels; this bread came from heaven! Apparently, Heaven does not pour out manna on Sabbath. Why?

Trying to gather manna on the Sabbath would prevent the Israelites from receiving something greater. God has something greater than manna to offer humanity on the seventh day. It is still available to us today. In other words, there is a deep spiritual need satisfied on the Sabbath; physical matter cannot meet our deepest needs on this day. It is holy and something set apart must be available to fulfill us and meet our deepest needs.

When Jesus came to earth, He said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:32-35, KJV).

Jesus promised the church of Pergamum: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17b, KJV).

Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath; He is greater than the manna from Heaven because He meets our deepest spiritual longings. The cure for human unrest is to connect with Jesus on the day He blessed. It is a blessing that cannot be seen with the human eye; it is hidden spiritual manna. He has something special for us every Sabbath that quenches our deepest longings.

The rest we dedicate to God on the Sabbath by not working and laboring (physically, mentally, and emotionally) enables us to make that special connection to Christ that is only available on the Sabbath. Through the Holy Spirit within you, focus upward to Christ and receive eternal pleasures from His right hand.  The physical eye cannot see it, but the Spirit within us longs for it.

When we engage the earthly realm through work and labor on the Sabbath, then our inner man cannot receive the full effect of rest. What God has made available to us cannot be seen by the natural eye – it is not quantifiable by the natural realm.

“12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (I Cor. 2:12-13).

Lastly, consider this thought: the physical Tabernacle in the Old Testament was created as a representation of heavenly things (Hebrews 8:1-5). Among the special items created for the Tabernacle was the Table of Shewbread. It was overlaid with gold. Special bread was heated and placed on this table every Sabbath.

“And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway” (Exodus 25:30, KJV).

“And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant” (Lev. 24:7-8, KJV).

The Hebrew word translated as “shew” is paniym; it means the face or presence (by extension, the face of a person is in his/her presence). On the Sabbath, we have the bread of God’s presence. His face is turned towards us.

On the Sabbath, we graduate from physical manna to the hidden manna – the bread of His presence. In His presence is fullness of joy.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2, ESV).

We will continue this thought in our next Sabbath meditation.

Selah.

Kelly McDonald, Jr

BSA President, www.biblesabbath.org

 

The Pre-Existence of the Sabbath

Pre Existence of the Sabbath
The Pre-Existence of the Sabbath

By Maurice Caines

For whom is the Sabbath designed? What is the nature of the Sabbath? Is it enforced on this planet only, or does its influence have cosmic implications? Why does the Sabbath matter? What does the seventh-day Sabbath have to do with our relationship with God and others?

Whatever your views on the Sabbath, this little book will intrigue and inspire you and make you think in new ways about the day God set apart and sanctified. In Pre-existence of the Sabbath, Maurice Caines presents new perspectives from God about heaven, the Sabbath, and your place in His universe that he found while studying the Word of God. Looking at the nature of the Sabbath through Caines’ eyes might just change the way you view God’s gift of His holy day.

To this short, but informative book, click the link below!

https://biblesabbath.org/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=120&=SID

The Will to Do Good

The Will to Do Good

By Brian Knowles

 

“A number of years ago I noticed my small grandson sitting in a stairwell in his parents’ A-frame home, apparently in deep thought. I think he was about five at the time. I sat down beside him and asked, “Whatcha thinkin’ about?” His reply was instant and candid, “I’m thinking about how to do bad things.”

 

Well at least he was honest about it! We’ve all done that haven’t we? When we were children, we contemplated how to get revenge on our enemies, how to get even with a sibling, how to steal something and get away with it, how to whip the school bully, how to run away from home, or how to do something mean to someone….

 

As adults, we still think about how to do bad things, but we tend to be less than candid about admitting it. And, depending on our level of moral maturity, chances are we seldom actualize our nefarious plots.

 

When I was a young, ignorant, inexperienced parent, I thought the most important thing I could

teach my three sons was obedience…”



(this article is an excerpt from the January-February 2007 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

 

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 6, click this link: http://biblesabbath.org/tss/523/tss_523.pdf

The Sabbath and Children

The Sabbath and Children

I am often asked about children and the Sabbath. Children have all this energy – What do we do with it? One really important key to resolving this question is to make sure your children get plenty of physical activity during the week. Most children in America do not get enough physical activity. They are kept boxed in school, after school, or daycare programs. Children need to run off that excess energy. Make sure on Friday before sunset that you take them outside and run them around. Have them ride bicycles or do something really physical. Make it fun and exciting; make it a competition! Keep score with who wins. Be creative in this area. There are ways to siphon off that energy before sunset on Friday.

As for the Sabbath, keep in mind the main reason God set it apart is to honor and spend time with Him. A sub-reason for the Sabbath is to spend quality time with the family. So, we learn to spend time with the family to the extent we bond with them. We also want to honor God. During the week you might have to put on that Veggie Tales video to entertain and educate them. On the Sabbath, change it up and do some interactive things with them.

Picture books are great; children love pictures and illustrations. You can always take a family walk with them. Play “gettings” with the children where you tickle them. Kids also love arts and crafts. For example, you could build a small model of Noah’s Ark. Make puppets with them and do a puppet show based on Bible stories. Make them tell the story back to you to test their retention and track their learning curve. You can make finger puppets (even with popsicle sticks). This will help them to learn about the Bible and have fun at the same time.

Of course, you can pray with your children and read the Bible with them. As the old saying goes: “The family that prays together stays together.” You can always come up with Bible lessons tailored towards children. You could even have Sabbath school at home before church. Christian Education Ministries (CEM) is a great ministry to order children’s material from.

This will teach them to look forward to the Sabbath as a time when they get interactive, quality time with their family. This will further instill a greater lesson about spending interactive time with the Heavenly Father and the Family of God.

Many of the ideas in this article came from Bill and Lanice Shults, who raised two daughters in the Sabbath.

A Thousand Shall Fall

A Thousand Shall Fall
A Thousand Shall Fall

By Susi Hasel Mundy

This inspiring book recalls the story of a Seventh Day Adventist leader who was drafted in the German army during World War II. He refused to break the Sabbath and suffered because of it. His wife refused to give their children exams on the Sabbath and they resisted all pressure to join the Nazi party. He warned Jewish people to flee as the German army advanced. This book is not a Scriptural examination of the seventh-day Sabbath; it is a story of faith put into practice. Against all odds, he honored God’s Holy Day and survived the war.

To learn about this inspiring story, click the link below:

https://biblesabbath.org/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=22&=SID

Sunday Laws in the Later Roman Empire

Sunday Laws in the Later Roman Empire

By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Among the first attempts to divert people away from the True Sabbath was a series of Sunday laws in the later Roman Empire. Whether that was the intent of these laws or not is unknown, but we can know that these laws were used by the Roman Church to point people away from the True Sabbath.

As we have reviewed in previous articles, the first national Sunday law in history was passed by Constantine in 321 AD. Keep in mind that this law did not apply universally to all people in the Roman Empire. Farmers were exempted from it. After researching a little further, we find that Constantine relaxed this Sunday law for special Roman market days (Orelli, Inscriptionum Latinarum, p 140).

The second detail about this special law is that it had no connection to Jesus Christ, Christianity, or the Holy Bible. Constantine was a sun worshiper and his law to honor the sun was simply behavior consistent to this belief system. To learn more about this 321 AD decree, read here: https://sabbathsentinel.org/2016/10/13/constantine-march-321-ad/

One important development that did occur during the reign of Constantine is the interweaving of the Roman Empire and the Roman Church (which we also refer to as the Roman Catholic Church). Constantine used the Roman Church to bring more subjects into obedience to the state. He de facto made the Roman Church an institution of the state. In return for their support, he (and other Roman Emperors) would codify Roman Church practices into Roman law. We have some examples below.

In 326 AD, he passed a law that granted the Roman Church special privileges. All other Christian groups were not allowed these privileges and were bound to public service (CT: 16.5.1). He regulated the number of clergy in Christianity (CT: 16.2.6 [326 AD]). Secular judges were even required to enforce the decisions of Christian Bishops (CS: 1 [333 AD]).

In 379 AD, Theodosius became the Eastern Roman Emperor. After hearing the perspectives of different Christian groups, he sided with the Roman Catholic cause. All houses of prayer were taken away from other Christian groups and given over to the Roman Church. In 380 AD, he passed a law forcing that all peoples under his rule follow the Roman Catholic religion.

In 386, Theodosius instituted a Sunday law. This law was different than those enacted by Constantine. Theodosius was the first Emperor to implement a Sunday law and attach Christian meaning to it. Theodosius’ relationship with the Roman Church would pave the way for celebrations of the Roman Church, including Sunday, to be enshrined as established Roman law.

From 386 to 469, there were seven laws enacted that specifically regulated some aspect of Sunday rest or worship (386 by Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius; 389 by Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius; 392 by same rulers; 399 by Arcadius and Honorius; 409 by Emperors Honorius and Theodosius II; 425 by Theodosius II and Valentinian III [see CT title 2, section 8 for these laws]; 469 by Emperor Leo I [Codex Justinius: 3.12.10]).

During these years of the later Roman Empire, Sunday was cemented as the day of rest in the Roman Empire. This affirmed the position of the Roman Church as the preferred religion of the Empire. It diverted people away from the True Sabbath, which is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

The laws passed from 386 to 469 would have a significant impact in the Eastern Empire and other parts of Europe for centuries to come (in some ways down to our present time).

______

Side note:

As a side note, I think it is worth mentioning that Jewish people were sometimes protected under Roman law. There was one particular law passed to this effect (CT: 2.8.26; either 412 or 409 AD). Jewish people were protected from being disturbed by business, public service, or courts on the Sabbath and Annual Holy Days. However, this law is not repeated. We are not completely sure if this same protection was granted to Christians who held these same practices in common with the Jewish people. However, history records a large number of Sabbatarians in the Roman Empire during this time. Many later kingdoms of Europe did not take a benevolent view towards Jewish people.

______

Kelly McDonald, Jr.

BSA President

www.biblesabbath.org

 

 

BSA Evangelism Tracts

 

BSA Pamphlets

BSA Evangelism Tracts

By the Bible Sabbath Association

The BSA has a variety of short, easy to understand pamphlets available. These can help educate new believers, but also evangelize others. We give discounts for bulk orders. We have a brief list below:

  • Roman Catholic and Protestant Confessions about Sunday – This pamphlet is a series of quotes by Roman Catholic and Protestant ministers confessing that the true Sabbath is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset
  • Whatever Happened to the Sabbath? – This small pamphlet gives a brief overview of the Sabbath. It cites scripture and insightful questions to cause others to consider the importance of the Sabbath.
  • Why Do You Observe Sunday? – This pamphlet is an overview explaining that Sunday is just a common day; it then transitions to show the Apostle’s example of keeping the Sabbath.
  • Other small tracts available:
  • Why the Seventh-Day Sabbath?
  • Why the Protestant Reformation Failed!
  • 100 Facts on the Sabbath Question
  • What Would Jesus Do on the Weekend

To overview these tracts, click the link below!

http://biblesabbath.org/index.php?pr=Leaflets_and_Tracts