Lifeʼs Purpose

Lifeʼs Purpose

By David Guerrero

“As a Life Coach and Christian counselor I often meet people, who are stuck not knowing the next direction or step to take in life. Often the counselee or client doesn’t realize that the reason why they are stuck is that they have lost a sense of life’s purpose.

The Apostle Paul made a most profound statement when he penned these words found in Philippians 3:10 and 1 Corinthians 2:2: “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

It is abundantly evident that Paul’s life’s purpose was to know Christ. He sought to know Christ personally and how He was at work in life’s circumstances. This pursuit of discovery was the objective of Paul’s life.

Paul just didn’t seek to simply know Christ for the first time, but to continually seek to know what Christ wanted from his life each and every day, as well as to experience Christ’s power in the course of daily living…”

(this article is an excerpt from the March-April 2011 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 13, click this link:

Our Top 10 Articles From 2022

Greetings Everyone!

In this post, we are sharing the 10 most read Sabbath Sentinel online articles from the calendar year 2022, with a link to each article. Just click on the name of the article to read more about that subject!

This will allow you to go back and review some of our finest content!

#1 – A False Doctrine Spreading Among Sabbatarians (Refuting the Lunar Sabbath)

#2 – Archaeological Evidence for the Life of Jesus

#3 – March 7, 321 AD – Constantine’s Sunday Law

#4 – Council of Laodicea – 364 AD

#5 – Did Constantine Change the Sabbath?

#6 – Why Was December 25th Chosen for the Birth of Christ?

#7 – Martin Luther and the Sabbath

#8 – July 3, 321 AD – Constantine’s Second Sunday Law

#9 The Quartodeciman Controversy

#10 – The Mystery of the Los Lunas Commandment Stone

Thanks for following our blog!

God Bless!

Kelly McDonald, Jr.

BSA President –

Forgery in Justin the Martyr

Forgery in Justin the Martyr
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

In the study of Church History, an interpolation is a type of forgery where a section of a work which was added by a later copyist. In other words, the added section was not part of the original work. There is a passage found in Justin the Martyr’s First Apology that is commonly used as evidence of weekly gatherings on Sunday in early Christianity.

In this article, we will examine if this section was found in the original writing or if it was added later. The text in question is listed below:

“And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday [Greek: heliou hamera], all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons…But Sunday [Greek: heliou hemiran] is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn [Greek: Kroniches]; and on the day after that of Saturn [Greek: Kronichen], which is the day of the Sun [Greek: Heliou Hamera], having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration…” (chapter 67)

At first glance, it appears that this passage describes gatherings on the first day of the week which involved a time of reading the Scriptures, prayer, and taking the Eucharist. There is then an apologetic, or defense, of why they met on Sunday. If genuine, then it would be the first reference to weekly Sunday gatherings in Church History (about 120 years after Jesus).

A deeper look at this passage reveals issues with its authenticity. The three main issues are the names used for the days of the week, inconsistencies with other writings of Justin, and the placement of section 67 in the text.

I. The Names for the Days of the Week
The first issue I noticed with this passage is the language used to describe the days of the week. The past few years, we have done research on the names for the days of the week used in Roman and Christian literature.

The earliest Christians referred to the days of the week by their Biblical names: first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, sixth day (or preparation day), and Sabbath (or seventh day). The Greco-Romans referred to the days of the week by their gods. Helios-day [Greek] or Sun-day [Latin] was dedicated to the sun and would correspond to the first day of the week. Kronos-day [Greek] or Saturn-day [Latin] was dedicated to Saturn and would correspond to the seventh day of the week.

In two previous works, Justin used the Biblical reckoning for the names of the week. In his work Dialogue with Trypho, Justin mentioned the Sabbath many times (sections 10, 12, 18, 19, 21, 26, 27, 29, 43, 47, 92). In chapter 41, he referred to the ‘first day of the week.’ He also called it the ‘eighth day’, which was a theological concept used by some Christian writers in reference to the first day of the week. In chapter 138, he mentioned the eighth day and the resurrection. In another work, Hortatory Address to the Greeks, Justin refers to the first day of the week (chapter 33).

Among his other works, Justin never referred to the seventh day using the term Kronos; he never addressed the first day by the term Helios (Justin wrote in Greek). The first Christian writer to indisputably use the planetary names for the days of the week was Clement of Alexandria in about 180 AD. Writings before Clement, such as the Didache, Barnabas, and Theophilus of Antioch, use the Biblical names for days of the week.

Thus, the exclusive use of planetary names for the days of the week is inconsistent with the language used in Justin’s other writings; this makes section 67 questionable.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Biblical week and Planetary week in early Christian history.

II. Inconsistencies and Contradictions with other writings
Section 67 has more inconsistencies with Justin’s other writings.  

The first issue is his defense of weekly services on Sunday.  In sections 21, 42, and 46 of the First Apology, he discussed the resurrection without regard to the day of the week. In section 67, the resurrection and the first day of the week are suddenly interjected with an apologetic. In Dialogue with Trypho, Justin’s reference to the resurrection and the day of the week involves the theology of the ‘eighth day.’ Section 67 omits this theological reference and thus makes it inconsistent with Dialogue.

Secondly, in section 67 Justin purportedly claimed that “all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place…” on Sunday. He goes on to describe these gatherings with much detail.

In Dialogue with Trypho, Trypho observed that Justin did not observe any festivals or Sabbaths. “…in that you observe no festivals or sabbaths, and do not have the rite of circumcision; and further…” (section 10).  Justin also claimed that Christians took the Eucharist “in every place” (section 41).

Dialogue with Trypho was written later than the First Apology. If a weekly festival were supposed to have been kept at the time of the First Apology, then why would someone later argue that Christians in Rome did not observe any festivals? (side note: we know for a fact that Christians in other places did observe the Biblical Sabbath and festivals). Also, it seems strange that no detailed description of first day gatherings would be found in any other work credited to him.

Another work titled The Martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs describes the trial and martyrdom of Justin and some other Christians. We have a section of this work below:

“Rusticus the prefect said, ‘Where do you assemble?’ Justin said, ‘Where each one chooses and can: for do you fancy that we all meet in the very same place? Not so; because the God of the Christians is not circumscribed by place; but being invisible, fills heaven and earth, and everywhere is worshipped and glorified by the faithful.’ Rusticus the prefect said, “Tell me where you assemble, or into what place do you collect your followers?” Justin said, “I live above one Martinus, at the Timiotinian Bath; and during the whole time (and I am now living in Rome for the second time) I am unaware of any other meeting than his…” (idem, 2; emphasis mine).

This text also contradicts section 67 of First Apology. In this testimony, Justin said that Christians gathered where they chose and not in the same place. This account seems more consistent with the size and scope of Rome.

It would be hard to gather people from such a large area into one place. Where would that many people gather and be unnoticed by Roman officials? Section 67 is thus inconsistent with pattern of Christian gatherings for that time.

III. Placement in the Text
When one views sections 65 and 66, it seems that Justin has already explained the Eucharist and described the order of service, but it was in reference to a newly baptized convert. Section 65 is quoted below:

“There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion…”

In section 66, Justin gives a further explanation and defense of the Eucharist – in reference to a newly baptized convert. No day of the week is mentioned in sections 65 or 66. Rehashing the subject in section 67 is then an unnecessary repetition that contributes to it being a later addition.

Based on the evidence presented, it appears that most of section 67 is a later interpolation. It was interjected by someone who did not mind the use of the planetary names for the days of the week. Justin avoided this practice, but the forger did not realize it. This individual also promoted the idea of all Christians in a large area gathering into a singular place, which is anachronistic for Justin’s time. The individual who added this content also sought to give an apologetic concerning Sunday gatherings and the resurrection.

The proper ending of Justin’s First Apology is likely the very first part section of 67, which reads more like a conclusion: “And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.”

If you would like to read another perspective of the problems with section 67, see William H. Shea’s article (CLICK HERE to read).

Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Bible Sabbath Association (


Justin the Martyr. First Apology, 21, 42, 46, 65-67. Dialogue with Trypho, 10, 41, 138, Hortatory Address to the Greeks, 33. English. Translated by Marcus Dods and George Reith. Roberts, Rev. Alexander and Donaldson, James, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Revised by A. Cleveland Coxe. Vol. 1. Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 1887. pp 170, 176-177, 178, 185-186, 199, 215, 268, 287.

Justin the Martyr. First Apology, 67. Greek. Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Graecae. Migne, JP. Vol. 6. Paris, 1857. pp 429-432.

The Martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs, 2. English. Translated by Marcus Dods and George Reith. Roberts, Rev. Alexander and Donaldson, James, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Revised by A. Cleveland Coxe. Vol. 1. Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 1887. p 305.

The History of January 1

The History of January 1 as the New Year

By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Have you ever wondered how January 1 became the New Year? Did you know that Jewish people and the earliest Christians did not observe January 1? Even the Roman Catholic Church resisted the urge to observe January 1 into the eighth century and possibly later.

In the Bible, we learn that the new year for festivals is in the spring just before Passover. This is first explained in Exodus chapter 12 and Leviticus chapter 23. The reckoning for Sabbath years and the Jubilee was observed from the fall feasts (Ex. 23:16, Ex. 34:22, Lev. chapter 25, Deut. 15:1, Deut. 31:10). There’s no mention of a yearly reckoning or count from the winter.

Ancient Roman History
To understand how January 1 became the New Year, we must look at ancient Roman history.

From the primary sources available to us, it appears that the ancient Romans observed a lunar month, which means that the beginning/end of the month was determined by the moon. The first day of each month was called the Kalends or Calends. It coincided with a new phase of the moon.

Their original year was composed of only ten months. The year began in March and ended with December (deci– means tenth). Ovid, who lived from 43 BC–17 AD, wrote about this development in his work titled Fasti (1.27-30, 3.99-138).

“When the founder of the City was setting the calendar in order, he ordained that there should be twice five months in his year…The month of Mars was the first, and that of Venus the second…” (1.27-31, 39)

“…Nor had the ancients as many Kalends as we have now: their year was short by two months…A year was counted when the moon had returned to the full for the tenth time: that number was then in great honour…” (3.99-100, 120-122)

The fact that we still have a month named December is a reminder of old Roman reckoning of time. However, the ten-month calendar had its problems. This reckoning of time is grossly out of sync with the earth’s orbit around the sun (about 365.25 days). Even Ovid identified that they were missing two months. Over the years, this caused the months to move throughout different seasons. This caused great confusion (see Plutarch, The Life of Julius Caesar, ch 59).

Depending on the source one reads, either Romulus (the first king of Rome) or a later king instituted two extra months after December. They were given the names January and February to honor the gods Janus and Februus. The ancient writer Macrobius did an excellent job of summarizing ancient sources on this subject (Saturnalia, 1.12.38-1.14.4). But the months were still reckoned by the moon, so the Roman year came to have 355 days. Intercalary months were still added every few years to keep the year it sync with the sun. March 1 remained the new year.

By the mid-second century BC, January 1 began to take on more importance. For instance, about the year 154 BC, it was determined that magistrates should start the duties of their office on January 1 (Smith’s Dictionary: Consuls). However, the date could still be moved by the Senate.

January 1 became established more firmly as the new year during the time of Julius Caesar. He held both spiritual authority as Pontifex Maximus and political authority as the Dictator of Rome. He abolished the strict lunar calendar in favor of a solar-based reckoning of time. This is described by the second century historian Appian:

“Caesar likewise interrogated the Egyptians while he was there restoring Cleopatra to the throne, by which means he made many improvements among the peaceful arts for the Romans. He changed the calendar, which was still in disorder by reason of the intercalary months till then in use, for the Romans reckoned the year by the moon. Caesar changed it to the sun’s course, as the Egyptians reckoned it” (The Civil Wars, 2.154).

He created a new Calendar of 365 1/4 days (Ovid, Fasti, 3.155; Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.14.3). This gave the sun a much more prominent role in determining important dates in the year. Thus, January 1, 45 BC began the first year of the Julian Calendar.

Macrobius put forth the idea that the new year may have been moved to this date to honor the god Janus, who had two faces. One face was said to look towards the past and the other towards the future (Saturnalia, 1.13.3). This god was thought by them to govern thresholds and doorways.

While the first of every month was important to the ancient Romans, January 1 became an especially festive time. We have an excerpt from Ovid below. In the first section, he describes some details about the day. He then transitions to a supposed conversation he had with Janus.

“See Janus comes, Germanicus, the herald of a lucky year to thee, and in my song takes precedence. Two-headed Janus, opener of the softly gliding year, thou who alone of the celestials dost behold thy back, O come propitious to the chiefs whose toil ensures peace to the fruitful earth, peace to the sea…Hail, happy day! and evermore return still happier, day worthy to be kept holy by a people the masters of the world…”

“Next I asked, ‘Why Janus, while I propitiate other divinities, do I bring incense and wine first of all to thee?’ Quoth he, ‘It is that through me, who guard the thresholds, you may have access to whatever gods you please’ ‘But why are glad words spoken on thy Calends? And why do we give and receive good wishes?’…

“…Then, leaning on the staff he bore in his right hand, the god replied: ‘Omens are wont,’ said he, ‘to wait upon beginnings. At the first word ye prick up anxious ears; from the first bird he sees the augur takes his cue. (On the first day) the temples and ears of the gods are open, the tongue utters no fruitless prayers, and words have weight.’ So Janus ended. I kept not silence long, but caught up his last words with my own: ‘What mean the gifts of dates and wrinkled figs.’ I said, ‘and honey glistering in the snow-white jar?’ ‘It is for the sake of the omen,’ said he, ‘that the event may answer to the flavor, and that the whole course of the year may be sweet, like its beginning.’  ‘I see’, said I ‘why sweets are given. But tell me, too, the reason for the gift of cash, that I may be sure of every point in thy festival.’ The god laughed, and ‘oh’, quoth he, ‘how little you know about the age you live in if you fancy that honey is sweeter than cash in hand! Why, even in Saturn’s reign I hardly saw a soul who did not in his heart find lucre sweet…’” (Fasti, 1.171-195).

Ovid explained that people exchanged good luck wishes, sweet foods were eaten, and gifts on the day. People gave careful thought to their activities because they wanted to have a good new year. They thought their behavior on that day set the tone for the rest of the year. Sacrifices and prayers were made to Janus.

The Kalends Continues
The Kalends of January continued to be an exciting celebration for polytheistic Romans for centuries into the future. As time went on, it appears that the New Year’s celebration garnered even greater attention in the Roman Empire. The celebration was quite riotous! Libanius, who lived from 314 to 394 AD, wrote about the widespread celebration of the Kalends of January in his day.

“The festival of the Kalends, is celebrated everywhere as far as the limits of the Roman Empire extend…Everywhere may be seen carousals and well-laden tables; luxurious abundance is found in the houses of the rich, but also in the houses of the poor better food than usual is put upon the table. The impulse to spend seizes everyone. He who the whole year through has taken pleasure in saving and piling up his pence, becomes suddenly extravagant. He who erstwhile was accustomed and preferred to live poorly, now at this feast enjoys himself as much as his means will allow…. People are not only generous towards themselves, but also towards their fellow-men. A stream of presents pours itself out on all sides … The highroads and footpaths are covered with whole processions of laden men and beasts … As the thousand flowers which burst forth everywhere are the adornment of Spring, so are the thousand presents poured out on all sides, the decorations of the Kalends feast. It may justly be said that it is the fairest time of the year…. The Kalends festival banishes all that is connected with toil, and allows men to give themselves up to undisturbed enjoyment. From the minds of young people it removes two kinds of dread: the dread of the schoolmaster and the dread of the stern pedagogue. The slave also it allows, as far as possible, to breathe the air of freedom … Another great quality of the festival is that it teaches men not to hold too fast to their money, but to part with it and let it pass into other hands” (quoted from Miles, 168–9).

389 AD – In this year, Theodosius I, Valentinian II, and Arcadius passed a law requiring the following dates to be holidays and rest days in the Roman Empire: Sundays (called dies solis), January 1, the birthdays of Rome (April 21) and Constantinople (May 11), the fifteen Paschal days (seven days before and after Pascha), the birthdays of the Emperors, and the anniversary of their respective reigns (CT: 2.8.19). This law protected a mix of Roman Church days and pagan Roman days. We have an excerpt from this law below:

“1. We also set aside the kalends of January 1 (January 1) as a customary rest day. 2. To the aforementioned days we add the natal days of the greatest cities, Rome and Constantinople, to which the law ought to defer, since it also was born of them….” (Pharr, p 44).

In the time of Ovid, January 1st was still a business day. By the end of the fourth century, its popularity and celebration earned it a recognized place as a rest day in the empire. This contributed to its observance, popularity, and continuity.

Syncretism and Christian Resistance
Starting in the second century, Christianity was influenced by outside influences. Among them were a pull to mix Christian teachings with cultural influences around them. One way that this manifested was the celebrations Christians accepted.

In about 200 AD, an important Christian figure named Tertullian lamented that many Christians participated in Roman celebrations. They thought that doing so would keep the name of Jesus from being blasphemed by unbelievers. He wrote the following:

“But, however, the majority (of Christians) have by this time induced the belief in their mind that it is pardonable if at any time they do what the heathen do, for fear ‘that the name be blasphemed’… the Saturnalia and New Year’s and Midwinter’s festivals and Matronalia are frequented – presents come and go – New year’s gifts – games join their noise – banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself!” (On Idolatry, 10, 14).

As Tertullian pointed out, the ‘heathens’ did not accept Christian celebrations, so why should Christians accept theirs? Among the celebrations he mentioned was the January 1 New Year’s with its gifts, games, and banquets. This description matches that of Ovid.

Tertullian described a phenomenon that started in the second century called syncretism. In general, syncretism is the mixing of two religions. Starting in the second century, many outside movements began to taint Christianity. Mixing with Roman culture was one of them.

The trend to resist this syncretism lasted for centuries into the future. Other Christian writers who pushed back against this trend included Augustine, a well-known writer of the fourth/fifth centuries. He composed some sermons against Christians who celebrated January 1. We have an excerpt from one below:

“The pagan celebration of the New Year…And now, if the festival of the Gentiles which is taking place today in the joys of the world and the flesh, with the din of silly and disgraceful songs, with disgraceful junketing and dances, with the celebration of this false feast day—if the things the Gentiles are doing today do not meet with your approval, you will be gathered from among the Gentiles…”

“So if you believe something else, hope for something else, love something else, you must prove it by your life, demonstrate it by your actions. Are you going to join in the celebrations of good luck presents like a pagan, going to play at dice—and get yourself drunk? How in that case can you really believe something else, hope for something else, love something else? How can you have the honest face to say Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles? You’re segregated from the Gentiles, you see, when you mix physically with the Gentiles, by a different style of life. And you can see how wide apart this segregation sets you, if only you act accordingly to prove it…”

 “Separate yourselves from the heathen, and at the change of the year do the opposite of what they do. They give each other gifts; give ye alms instead. They sing worldly songs; read ye the word of God. They throng the theatre; come ye to church. They drink themselves drunken; do ye fast…” (Sermon 198; quoted from Hill, 73-75 and Schaff, 399).

Augustine clearly opposed the celebration of January 1. However, in another sermon he connected the day with the circumcision of Jesus, though no formal recognition was formed at that time (Sermon 196A). He provides what is likely the first reference to this concept because December 25 had only recently been added as the birth of Jesus; January 1 is eight days later.

As time passed, a series of Church Councils and sermons by Roman Church writers opposed the New Year’s celebrations. The idea of honoring Jesus’ circumcision on the day gained traction in some areas, but it did not seem to gain a large following.

567 AD – The second Council of Tours (France) was held in this year. In canon 17, it was ruled that all of December up until the 25th day should be observed as a fast (this was likely done to counter pagan celebration of the month). December 25 through January 6 was to be treated as a festival except three days, January 1-3. We have an excerpt from canon 17 below:

English: “December up until the birth of Christ, is all fasting. From the birth of Christ (Dec. 25) until the Epiphany (January 6) all days were considered for festivity. The exception are the three days to trample down Gentile customs, our fathers established a statute of private litanies on the Calends of January…” (translation is author’s from Mansi, 6:796).

It goes on to say that mass should be held on the eighth hour of January 1 in honor of the circumcision of Jesus. In this way, January 1 was gradually adapted as an important day in the Roman Church in some region. In canon 22, people were condemned for observing January 1 and other heathen behaviors such as offering meat to the dead and worshipping creation (Mansi, 9:803; Hefele, 4:393).

572 AD – Martin was the bishop of Braga in Portugal. He wrote a work called On the Correction of Peasants to curb the tide of syncretism that was prevalent in his district. He bewailed the paganism found among baptized Christians. He condemned the Kalends of January (sec. 10, 16). In his message, he railed against the various decorations, including wreaths, that were prevalent in these festivals and called them the work of the devil (sec. 16).

He denied that January 1 was the new year and called such claims a ‘fabrication’ (section 10). He also recorded one of the first rituals involving what we would now call the Yule log, where wine and grain were poured over a log (sec. 16). This was another practice he decried.

578 or 585 AD – The Council of Auxerre (France) was held in either 578 or 585. In canon 1, people were rebuked for imitating behaviors of the heathens on January 1. Among the practices condemned were dressing like cows, stags, and giving new year’s gifts (strenae). These habits were denounced as diabolical (Hefele, 4:410; Mansi, 9:911-912).

650 AD – A council was held in Rouen, France. In canon 13, anyone who imitated paganism on January 1 was pronounced cursed (Hefele, 4:469).

692 AD – The Council of Trullo banned the practice of the Kalends celebration (canon 62). This may have curbed its practice in the East because the Eastern Emperor was involved in this meeting. Despite this council, the practice continued in some areas. In the West, it remained more popular.

742 AD – In this year, the bishop Boniface wrote a letter to the newly elected pope Zacharias to inform him of disgraces in the German church. Bishops and deacons were committing fornication and drunkenness with the full knowledge of Roman authorities. Up to that time, they faced no consequences for these behaviors. Even worse, these individuals were being promoted to new positions within the church.

Boniface preached against these abuses. He also preached against paganism among the Franks/Germans, but in Rome these same deeds were allowed. He gave one such example. Crowds of people near the Church of Peter in Rome paraded the streets on January 1. They shouted, feasted, and celebrated the day in the manner of pagans. Women wore pagan amulets and bracelets on legs and forearms; they also sold them. He then quoted Galatians 4:10-11 in response to this report.

Boniface encouraged Zachariah to end these activities. We have a quote from the letter below: “Because the sensual and ignorant Allemanians, Bavarians, and Franks see that some of these abuses which we condemn are rife in Rome, they think that the priests there allow them, and on that account they reproach us and take bad example. They say that in Rome, near the church of St. Peter, they have seen throngs of people parading the streets at the beginning of January of each year [Latin: Kalend Januarii; Giles, p 104], shouting and singing songs in pagan fashion, loading tables with food and drink from morning till night, and that during that time no man is willing to lend his neighbor fire or tools or anything useful from his own house. They recount also that they have seen women wearing pagan amulets and bracelets on their arms and legs and offering them for sale. All such abuses witnessed by sensual and ignorant people bring reproach upon us here and frustrate our work of preaching and teaching. Of such matters the Apostle says reprovingly, ‘You have begun to observe special days and months, special seasons and years. I am anxious over you; has all the labour I have spent on you been useless’ (Gal. 4:10-11)…” (Boniface, Letter 49 to Pope Zacharias; Talbot, 101).

Later in the letter, Boniface later quoted Augustine in support of his stance. In his response, Zacharias gave Boniface the authority to deal with disobedient clergy. He acknowledged the surge in ungodly festivities in Rome and that they were trying to quell them. He encouraged Boniface to do the same. 

743 AD – The Council of Rome, most likely in response to Boniface’s letter, issued canon 9 which forbade anyone from celebrating January 1 or brumalia, especially because of pagan rituals. (Mansi, 12:384; Landon, 2:96-97).

January 1 Becomes the New Year
Despite these councils, the kalends celebration continued in some areas. During the Dark Ages and Middle Ages, different countries and regions in Europe held different views of the new year. The continent was very fragmented during this time; this situation that probably contributed to varying views on this subject.

Among the days that were viewed as the new year: March 25, December 25, and Easter. It seems that from the sixteenth century onward many countries began to observe January 1 as the new year. Below, we have a chart displaying the year when some countries accepted this change (taken from Bond, pp 91-101).

England and Ireland – 1725 (previously March 25)
Denmark – 1559
France – The country we call France today was divided into various regions and thus views of the new year. They gradually accepted January 1 from the 11th through the sixteenth century.
Germany – 1544 (previously Dec. 25)
Italy – The country we call Italy today was divided into various regions and thus views of the new year. These regions mostly accepted Jan. 1 in the 1500s; Florence held out until 1751.
Portugal – 1556
Russia – 1725
Scotland – 1600 (previously March 25)
Spain – 1556
Sweden – 1559

As trade expanded globally, other regions around the world began to accept January 1 as the New Year. Some countries recognize January 1, but still have a separate new year due to their

Starting in at least the third century, Christians began to join in with January 1 celebrations. However, Christian writers opposed this practice for centuries. As time passed, it became widely accepted in Europe and other places.

Today many people still celebrate January 1 without this knowledge. There was certainly a time when I did not know it either. It has helped me to realize the traditions I once held versus that which is found in the Scripture. I pray for everyone’s eyes to be opened to these vital truths. “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).  “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21).

Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Bible Sabbath Association (

Appian. The Civil Wars, 2.154. The Roman History of Appian of Alexandria. Translated by Horace White. Vol 2. The Civil Wars. London, 1899, pp 207-208.

Augustine, Sermon 198. The Works of Saint Augustine. Sermons. Translated by Edmund Hill. Edited by John E. Rotelle. New City Press: New Rochelle Press, NY. 1993. pp 73-75.  

Bond, John J. Handy-Book of Rules and Tables for Verifying Dates within the Christian Era. 4th ed. London: George Bell & Sons. York Street. Covent Garden.

Boniface. Letters 50-51. Translated and edited by C.H. Talbot. The Anglo-Saxon Missionaries in Germany. London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1954. pp 101-106. Latin: Giles, J.A. ed. Sancti Bonifacii Archiepiscopi Et Martyris. Vol. 1. London, 1845, pp 104, 111.  

Codex Theodosianus. 2.8.19. Pharr, Clyde, Trans. The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions. Princeton University, 1952. p 44.


Council of Auxerre. 578 or 585 AD. Canon 1. Hefele, vol 4:410. Mansi, Joannes Dominicus. Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova Et Amplissima Collectio. Vol 9:535-590 AD. Florentiae, 1763, pp 911-912.

Council of Rome. 743 AD. Canon 9. Mansi, Joannes Dominicus. Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova Et Amplissima Collectio. Vol 12:687-787 AD. Florentiae, 1765, p 384 and Landon: 2:96-97.

Council of Rouen. 650 AD. Canon 13. Hefele, 4:469.

Council of Tours. 567 AD. Canons 17 and 22. Mansi, 9:796, 803; Hefele 4:393.

Council of Trullo (also called Quinisext). 692 AD. Canon 62. Hefele, 5:232.

Libanius. Quoted from: Miles, C. Christmas in ritual and tradition, Christian and Pagan. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1912. pp 168–9.

Macrobius. Saturnalia, 1.12.38-1.14.4. Translated and edited by Robert A Kaster. Macrobius. Saturnalia. Books 1-2. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2011, pp 155-169.

Martin of Braga. 520-580 AD. Bishop of Braga. On the Correction of Peasants, 9-18. Translated by David Herlihy. Medieval Culture and Society. New York, Harper Collins, 1968, pp 33-42.

Ovid. Fasti, 1.27-30, 63-195, 3.99-100, 120-122, 160-166. Translated by Sir James George Frazer. Ovid’s Fasti. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1959, pp 5, 7-15, 127-128, 133.

Plutarch. The Life of Julius Caesar, chapter 59. Translated by Aubrey Steward and George Long. Plutarch’s Lives of Alexander and Caesar. London, G Bell & Sons, LTD, 1913, pp 448-449.

Smith, William, Wayte, William, and Marindin, G.E. eds. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. 1890. Articles: Calendarium, Consuls, Hilaria, Feriae, Nundinae, Sacra, Saturnalia, Strenae. Vol 1: pp 336-346, 532-537, 836-839, 961-962. Vol 2: 251-252, 599-601, 578, 720.

Tertullian. On Idolatry, 10, 13-14. Translated by Rev. S. Thelwall. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 3. Edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. New York, 1918. pp 66-70.

How Were Early American Sabbatarians Viewed?

How Were Early American Sabbatarians Viewed?

by Joe Beliefeuille

“How were early American Sabbatarians viewed by their fellow Americans? Of course the full, complete answer would involve thousands of interviews with the early colonists/Americans who lived in various states/ colonies who were members of various religious denominations or diverse racial/ethnic groups, age groups, genders, or occupations. Since no one from the 1600s and 1700s is still alive today, we must rely on written accounts that have survived the ravages of time. Many historical records by (or about) early American Sabbatarians still exist. Some of them are even “hidden” in plain sight like the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. From the documents that I have come across, I have narrowed the choices dawn to five. They do not cover the entire gamut of all possible opinions but they do give five diverse—yet interesting and sometimes, unexpected—viewpoints.

The five opinions are offered by Thomas Mumford (who has the same last name as Stephen Mumford — the first known American Sabbatarian), Ben Franklin (one of the founding fathers of the U.S.), John Tobler, Morgan Edwards, and John Asplund. The format of the rest of this article will be: first, a brief introduction of who the writer was: then, second, their opinion(s) of the early Sabbatarian(s); and finally a bibliography…”

(this article is an excerpt from the Nov-Dec 2013 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 18, click this link:

Church of God History. Tending to the Past. Preserving for the Future

Church of God History. Tending to the Past. Preserving for the Future

By Craig M White

(Version 1.0 2022)

Over the years and decades of my dedication to understanding, promulgating and archiving Church of God history, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. There was one incident that a man in a position derided it all and would have liked it all dismantled. Another stated that no one would be interested in all of this. The Scriptures Matt 7:6; Prov 23:9 came to mind when I encountered these attitudes.

It is also disconcerting and even sometimes disheartening that some wish to alter history to suit themselves. To force a different slant on it. Or to so disdain it that they trample and stamp on it like some sort of spiritual savage, destroying the past and having a negative impact on the future. There is no redacting by this author in this or other articles or other information on various subject matter.

But that is not being truthful even though the promulgator of such may feel secure and it may fulfill his or her ambitions. But as posited by myself, the truth must out.

Jealousy has seen members and scholars cast out for this sort of research. Some areas of the world are culturally of that mold and this rubs off into the church, almost unrecognizable to most, but it has a negative impact.

Allow me to quote from Cicero who wrote the following of fifth column traitors within during 42 BC:

“A nation [read Church] can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not traitor! He speaks in the accent familiar to his victims and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation. He works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city [or church]; He infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared”

So, it is with those who wish to ‘white-ant’ the Church of God from within, starting with diminishing our history and trying to get us to disengage from it. It is a sort of spiritual culture wars – rather similar to where the radicals are successfully unhooking the West from its history, heroes and culture (art, dance, music) thereby dismantling the West. Their stated aims are now well on the way to eliminating Western civilisation.

The spiritual radicals within are practicing the same means to eliminate the history of the Church of God and therefore its roots.

Why we need to tend time
What can we do about all of this?

First of all, we need to tend time – that is the history of our spiritual lineage and related topics. But that means not just preserving and increasing the knowledge of our roots, but also fixing incorrect knowledge of the past by reviewing it and refreshing any output on the subject (i.e. books, articles or presentations).

Also, it is essential to preserve an accurate record for the future because in many cases, the record of our history is too shallow and too haphazard. There is much forgotten history and neglect of promoting information about church leaders and pioneers over the centuries. Further, do we not need to give a voice to the past and to those portions of our history overlooked?

Even highlighting problems with the past in governance and policy; or missing detail in doctrines?

In other words, tending to the past.

Tending time!

Lessons learned
Ask yourself this question about our history: “what do we need?”

Answer: “We need a Christian approach to history that provokes a cultural relevance to all today, including the youth.”

Because we need to know the story of our history (‘warts and all’ and not white-washed), we get to know our roots, the torch bearers over the centuries and become thereby part of a rich heritage.

Then we can pose questions as we proceed on this journey of why we have this or that belief; or why we do this or that. Should we know about our ideas and how our beliefs developed? Where did we come from over the centuries? How did various historical developments (e.g. religious persecutions, wars and culture) shape us?

Sure, this may prompt us to having difficult conversations, but is that not part of clarifying our thinking and improving what we have?

By discussing the legacy of the church, we will be able to articulate our roots; how we developed; and what we can do into the future to improve upon what we have built so far. In other words, ongoing quality improvements.

“When a Land [read Church] rejects its legends, Sees but falsehoods in the past, And its People [read some Church members] view their sires [read the pioneers] In the light of fools and liars, ‘Tis a sign of its decline, And its splendours cannot last. Branches that but blight their roots, Yield no sap for lasting fruits [ie growth or a happy environment].” [F.R.A. Glover of England, 1861]

And is that not what has occurred?

Many have lost interest in history and the past as it is presented to them as boring or not important. It is this attitude that affects our spiritual development. They have thereby contributed to an almost crisis in historical understanding of the Church of God.

What is important to many of these? Comfort, entertainment and leisure which makes us less spiritually productive as the Bible, related knowledge (such as Church history) and true Christianity – outgoing concern for others – becomes secondary. Resultingly, the duty of the Christian just becomes something to pull off the shelf after the natural needs of the flesh are met first.

Rather, are we not meant to live as children of God as a community daily, weekly, annually without selfishness? All which breed division and enhance the fruits of the flesh one of which is jealousy (Gal 5:20).

For instance, jealously toward those that try and be productive including by tending to the past to preserve for the future. Tripping up such people to cause them harm and thereby preventing the continuation of this tending to our history.

Instead let us be a new community in fellowship, supporting one another’s gifts and talents. After all, we are not private property or private time. We belong to God and these things belong to Him. We are merely the stewards.

So let us cultivate, tend and keep the past and that helps us with being anchored into the Truth.

If the reader is interested, there is a large amount of research into the history of the Church of God here (CLICK HERE to read more).

Craig M. White

History Research Projects

A Recent Supreme Court Decision

A Recent Supreme Court Decision

By Whaid G. Rose

“In case you haven’t already heard, I’m happy to report that the US Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of religious freedom in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Burwell is secretary of Health and Human Services. Hobby Lobby is one of the nation’s leading arts and crafts retailers, owned and operated by Christians (David and Barbara Green of Oklahoma) who said “no” to a Health and Human Services mandate that requires the provision of insurance coverage for life-terminating drugs and devices. The Greens took their case all the way to the nation’s highest court in defense of their right to operate their family-owned business on the basis of their deeply held religious convictions. And on June 30, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor in a 5–4 vote…”

(this article is an excerpt from the Sept-Oct 2014 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 20, click this link:

Daniel 7:25 and the Sabbath (Part 2 of 2)

Daniel 7:25 and the Sabbath (Part 2 of 2)
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

As discussed in the first part of this series (click here to view part 1), the little horn of the fourth beast in Daniel chapter 7 best identifies with the pope/Roman Catholic Church. Remember that this little horn arose out of the fourth beast. Said another way, the Roman Empire contributed to the Roman Catholic Church becoming this little horn.

Think to Change the Laws and Times
The first way that the Roman Church became one with fourth beast of Daniel 7 was to accept pagan Roman celebrations. These celebrations were re-labeled with Christian meaning, but the date and type of celebration remained Roman. They also promoted these days in the place of God’s celebrations.

In Daniel 7:25, the little horn was prophesied to “…speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws.”

One aspect of this verse that is often overlooked is that the little horn will “TRY to change the set times and the laws.” Some translations say that he will ‘think’ to change the set times and laws. He will try to affect these things, but he will not be successful. As reviewed in part one of this series, the Aramaic word translated as ‘law’ refers to the Law of God and the word translated as ‘set times’ refers to the mo’adim from Leviticus 23 (the first of which is the Sabbath).

Starting in the second century AD, the Bishops of Rome began to defect from the Ten Commandments and the appointed times. Below, I have a brief timeline of events showing where they gradually defected from truth.

150s AD – Quartodeciman Controversy – At this time, the bishops of Rome abandoned keeping Passover or Pascha in favor of a once-a-year service for the resurrection (CLICK HERE to learn more). They also started to develop their own liturgical Calendar, which led to an alternative Pentecost.
200s AD – By this time, the Church of Rome abandoned the Sabbath in favor of first day of the week services (they still did not keep Sunday as the Sabbath). The Quartodeciman Controversy contributed to this development.
305/306 AD – The Council of Elvira was the first which banned pictures on the walls of Christian buildings to prevent the worship of images (canon 36). This means that the practice occurred in some places.
330s AD – During this decade, Roman Church writers such as Eusebius started to argue that the Sabbath should be transferred from the seventh day to the first day of the week (Commentary on Psalms 92).
350s AD – By this time, the Roman Church adopted the observation of Jesus’ birth on December 25th, an ancient Roman day (click here to read more about December 25th).
400s AD – Augustine attests that many Christians worshiped images (On the Morals of the Catholic Church, 34). He attests that Jesus was conceived on March 25th (Letter 54) and that people celebrated John the Baptist’s birthday on June 24th (Sermon VIII: De Sancto Joanne Baptista, Sermon: On the Birth of the Lord).

By the fourth century, the Roman Church had developed a liturgical calendar with a focus that mirrored ancient Roman days of worship. Below, we have a list of ancient Roman days and then the corresponding Roman Catholic days.

Ancient Roman Days
December 25 – Originally the day of bruma or the winter solstice in ancient Rome. It was considered the beginning of the year for the sun and called the new sun or birth of the sun.
March 25 – This was the spring equinox. The mother of the gods was honored on this day and even the days around it. Her son was celebrated as resurrected.
June 24 – This was the summer solstice; the ancient festival of Fors Fortuna – the god of luck – was held on this day (Varro, 6.17). Feriae aestivae was honored starting at the summer solstice (Smith’s Dictionary: Feriae).
September 24 – Autumn Equinox – To my knowledge no observances occurred on this day.
Sunday – Starting with the reign of Constantine (321 AD), this became a rest day in honor of the sun.

Roman Church Celebrations:
December 25 – Christmas; at one time this was considered the first day of the liturgical year.
March 25 – Considered a possible date of Christ’s death. Later it became known as the conception of Mary by the Holy Spirit.
June 24 – The birthday of John the Baptist.
September 24 –To my knowledge, no early Christian celebrations were held on this day (but in later centuries it was).
Sunday – Starting in the 330s and onward, Roman Church writers promoted the idea that people should rest on the day because of the resurrection.

These new hybrid celebrations became the celebrations for the ‘Christian’ Roman Empire and its subsequent revivals. Special events, like the coronation of kings or gathering of nobles, were held on these Roman Church days for centuries. We may review this development in a future article.

Consider the following quotes from modern Roman Catholic writers:

John Gibbons, a Catholic Cardinal, wrote: “But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify” (Gibbons, pp 72-73).

Consider the 10 commandments of the Roman Catholic Church:”
“1. I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honor thy Father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”
(taken from Manual of Theology for the Laity by Geiermann [1906], pp 308-309).

Notice that the commandment against idols and images was removed and the tenth commandment against coveting was expanded into two separate commandments. This is one way in which they changed the laws.

Merger of Roman Church and Roman Empire
Starting with the reign of Constantine, the Roman Church gradually interwove itself with the Roman Empire. Below, we have a summary of events pertaining to this development. Below, the acronym CT is used below to refer to the Codex Theodosianus, which is a code of Roman law from this period.

At some point in his reign, Constantine started paying the expenses of Roman Church Councils (Eusebius, Church History, 10.6). In 321, he issued a law which allowed to leave property to the Roman Church at death (CT: 16.2.4). In 326, he decreed that the Roman Church special privileges. All other Christian groups were not allowed these privileges and were bound to public service (CT: 16.5.1).

The same year, he limited the number of clergy in Christianity (CT: 16.2.6). It appears that the wealthy were prevented from serving in the clergy class; only the poor could serve in those positions (ibid). During his reign or that of his sons, the first tax exempt laws were enacted for clergy and their families (CT: 16.2.10 [320, 346, or 353 AD]).

During the reign of Theodosius (379-395), this merger was made more complete. Laws from his reign forward gave more power to the Roman Church and further codified its practices. First, the ‘Catholic’ Church was defined as only those Christians who followed the bishop of Rome (CT: 16.1.2 [380 AD]). The next year, Theodosius enacted a law which banned non-Roman Catholic groups from owning church buildings (CT: 16.1.3 [381 AD]). There were laws which codified the office of deaconess and its qualifications (CT: 16.2.27 [390 AD]).

After the reign of Theodosius, more laws regulated the ordination of clergy (for an example, see CT: 16.2.33 [398 AD]). An entire section of Roman law was devoted to punishments for groups deemed heretical by the Roman Church (book 16, title 5).

The Roman Catholic Church admits that one source of their canon law (meaning church law) is Roman law. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia 1911, article “canon law”:

“The civil law of different nations, and especially the Roman law, may be numbered among the accessory sources of canon law.” The article goes on to state that the Roman Church for centuries did not have any system of law for itself. “Later when the canonists of the twelfth century began to systemize the ecclesiastical law, they found themselves in presence, on the one hand, of a fragmentary canon law, and on the other hand of the complete methodical Roman code; they had recourse to the latter to supply what was wanting in the former, whence the maxim was adopted by the canonists and inserted in the Corpus Juris (of Justinian), that the Church acts according to Roman law when canon is silent.”

These Roman laws created the environment by which the Roman Church could operate as its own Kingdom within the Roman Empire. Their practices were defined and protected by Roman Law. With this merger, they also had goals which coincided with the empire, but they also maintained their own goals.

Another way that the Pope’s authority grew out of the Roman Empire is through the ancient title Pontifex Maximus.

The Title ‘Pontifex Maximus’
In ancient Rome, there was a college of priests. Each priest was called a pontiff; the chief priest was called Pontifex Maximus.  They regulated divine law in ancient Rome. They had supreme authority of all matters of religion, including objects and people connected to public and private worship. They were also considered chief advisors to the king in religious matters. The Pontiffs were not subject to any court of law.

There were seven primary functions of the Pontiffs, but two of them were the regulation of the calendar and sacred law (Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition: Pontifex; online Encyclopedia Britannica: Pontifex). These are two of the items mentioned in Daniel 7:25. This further reinforces the identification of the little horn as the papacy.

Roman Emperors held this title starting with Octavian Augustus (about 12 BC). This practice lasted until 380 AD when the Emperor Theodosius bestowed the title upon the Bishop of Rome. As reviewed, this is the same period that Roman Law began to shape and define the Roman Catholic Church as its own kingdom. We have an excerpt from this law below:

“…It is our will that all the peoples whom the government of our clemency rules shall follow

that religion which a pious belief from Peter to the present declares the holy Peter delivered to the Romans, and which it is evident the Pontiff Damascus…”  (CT: 16.1.2; quoted from Ayers, pp 367-368]).

This law made the Roman Church the preferred religion of the Empire. It commanded people to follow the Roman Church; it made their belief system the chief religion of the empire. The bishop of Rome or pope at that time was Damascus. The title and functions of the Pontifex Maximus were transferred from the Roman Emperor to the bishop of Rome.

The little horn grows out of the beast
From Constantine’s time and for centuries into the future, the estates of the church increased greatly. As aforementioned, he allowed people to leave property to the Roman Church at death (CT: 16.2.4 [321 AD]). A document called the “Donation of Constantine”, now proved to be a forgery, was used by the Catholic Church for hundreds of years to justify their ownership of land. During the reign of Theodosius, all church buildings had to be given to the pro-Roman Church party (CT: 16.1.3 [381 AD]).

The pope became the single largest landowner in Italy. This allowed the Roman Church to gain influence over the populace by providing food, housing, and medical needs to others. Any ruler of Italy had to establish some degree of relationship with this leader. After the Western Roman Empire started to disintegrate between 476-534 AD, the Eastern Roman Empire became the main military protector for the Roman Church.

In the early 750s AD, the Lombards threatened Rome. Pope Stephen II appealed to the Eastern Roman Empire for help, but they did not respond. He then appealed to Pepin the Short, king of the Franks, for military assistance. In 754, Pepin agreed to rescue the city of Rome from the invaders and defeated the Lombards. He then donated land in Italy to the Roman Church, which is called the Donation of 754. In 756, Pepin defeated the Lombards again and donated more land to the Roman Church. This was called the Donation of 756.

The pope became the sole temporal and spiritual ruler of these lands in Italy. This explains why Pope Stephen II is called the first pope-king. Even though previous popes acted like kings in that they wielded authority over large amounts of land and people, it was formally recognized at that time. This occurred when the third Germanic tribe was overthrown (which we discussed in part 1 of this series).

From the eight century onwards, the Roman Church increased in political influence, which enabled them to direct political leaders to suppress those groups which did not agree with them, such as the Waldenses, Sabbatarians, Anabaptists, and Protestant groups. They used their authority to harass non-conformist groups.

From these few examples that the little horn is the papacy and it grew OUT OF the fourth beast, which is the Roman Empire. Their new calendar and laws were based upon the pagan Roman worship mixed with the Bible. They mixed themselves with the Roman Empire so that the Roman Church and Roman Empire became inseparable. Roman Law protected their spiritual practices and marginalized all others. The Bishop of Rome utilized the functions of the ancient pagan title Pontifex Maximus to try and change the times and laws of God.

The information in these articles helps us to better understand how the roots of the little horn from Daniel 7:25 were formed within the fourth beast of the Roman Empire. As time passed, this little horn emerged from the Roman Empire with its own authority – yet it was still connected to and part of the fourth beast.

We resist this little horn and the beast by observing the commandments of God. We will be rejected and hated for it. However, in Daniel 7 we learn that the persecuted saints inherit the Kingdom!

God bless!

Kelly McDonald, Jr.
BSA President –

Augustine. Letter 54 to Januarius. Translated by J.G. Cunningham. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff. New York, 1886, p 300. Latin: Migne, J.P. ed. Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Latina. Vol. 33. Paris: 1845. p 200. On the Morals of the Catholic Church, 34. Translated by Richard Stothert. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff. Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1887. pp 62. Sermon 190. Latin: Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Latina. Vol. 38. Paris: 1863, p 1008. Sermon VIII De Sancto Joanne Baptista. Section 3. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Latina. Vol. 46. Paris, 1845, p 996. On the Birth of the Lord. English quoted from: Guéranger, p 11.

Catholic Encyclopedia 1911: canon law, States of the Church, Stephen II (some list him as the III).

Codex Theodosianus. English. Translated by Clyde Pharr. The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions. Princeton University, 1952.

Codex Theodosianus. English. 16.1.2. Quoted from: Ayer, Joseph Cullen. A Source Book For Ancient Church History. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913. 367-368.

Council of Elvira. Hefele, Joseph. A History of the Councils of the Church from the

Original Documents. Translated by William R. Clark. Vol. 1. Edinburgh, 1871. p 151

Eusebius. Commentary on Psalms 92. Quoted from: Odom, Robert L. Sabbath and Sunday in Early Christianity. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. pp 292.

Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition: Pontifex.

Encyclopedia Britannica online: Pontifex.

Geiermann, Peter. A Manual of Theology for the Laity. Benziger Brothers, 1906. pp 308-309.

Gibbons, James Cardinal. The Faith of Our Fathers. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1917. pp 72-73.

Guéranger, Rev. Prosper. Translated by Rev. Dom Laurence Shepherd. The Liturgical Year. Vol. 2: Christmas. Third edition. 1904, Edmund Burke & Co: Dublin, pp 10-11.

Smith, William, Wayte, William, and Marindin, G.E. eds. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. 1890. Articles: Calendarium, Consuls, Hilaria, Feriae, Nundinae, Sacra, Saturnalia, Strenae. Vol 1: pp 336-346, 532-537, 836-839, 961-962. Vol 2: 251-252, 599-601, 578, 720.

Jesus and the Sabbath

Jesus and the Sabbath

By Desmond Ford

“Of whom would you like to inquire regarding your duty as to the Sabbath if given the privilege of choosing. Christ, of course, is the answer. To our joy, there is no dearth of material to find out His mind on this subject. Approximately one chapter in every eight of the Gospel record speaks of Christ’s attitude to the Sabbath.

Our Lord performed many miracles on the holy day and of these, seven are recorded – seven which are amazing in their scope. These miracles include blessings brought to those of varying age and sex and condition, and from each dominant sector of human life – the sacred (in church), the domestic (at home), and in public (along the way). Note the following:

Healing of the demoniac (man) in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28)

Healing of Simon’s mother-in-law at home (Mark 1:29-31)….”

(this article is an excerpt from the April 1989 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 4, click this link:

Daniel 7:25 and the Sabbath (Part 1 of 2)

Daniel 7:25 and the Sabbath (Part 1 of 2)
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)

Daniel received a night vision of four beasts that arose from the sea. Each of these beasts represents kingdoms that arose from the earth (Daniel 7:17). In particular, the fourth beast prophetically connects us to the Sabbath!

There is an entity – called the little horn – that arises out of this fourth beast which was prophesied to change the “set times and the laws.” The Aramaic word translated as ‘set times’ is zeman and it corresponds to the Hebrew word mo’adim. It refers to the feasts of Leviticus chapter 23, the first of which is the Sabbath. The Aramaic word translated as ‘laws’ refers to the Law of God.

Who is this little horn? How did it try to change the mo’adim and the Law of God?   

Let’s look deeper at this prophecy and dig into its meaning!

Daniel 7:7-8, 19, 23-25
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully…”

“…19 Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left…He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.”

Who or What is this little horn?
A major key to understanding Daniel chapter 7 is Daniel chapter 2. In that chapter, God showed Nebuchadnezzar a dream. The king saw a huge statue with a head made of gold, arms and chest of silver, thighs and belly of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partially with iron and partially made of clay. In the interpretation, God showed Daniel that the statue represented a succession of Kingdoms beginning with Nebuchadnezzar. They will end with the return of Christ.

These nations, in order of their appearance on the statue and in history are: Babylon (gold), Medes-Persia (silver), Greco-Macedonia (bronze), Rome (iron) and then the Revived Roman Empire (iron and clay).

In Daniel chapter 7, God gave Daniel a very similar dream to Daniel chapter 2. There are a few different details. In this dream, he is given the revelation of four beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a frightening and terrifying beast.

In the vision and interpretation, we learn that the fourth beast had iron teeth and bronze claws. This beast connects us to the Roman Empire (iron teeth) which retained Greek influence (bronze claws). Since ancient times, Greco-Roman culture, Greco-Roman thought, Greco-Roman architecture, Greco-Roman religion, etc. have existed in some form or fashion.

The fourth beast in Daniel chapter 7 had ten horns. Ten major Germanic tribes displaced the territory of the Western Roman Empire by 476 AD: Heruli, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Burgundians, Franks, Saxons, Visigoths, Vandals, Thuringians, and the Alemanni. These ten Germanic tribes represent the ten horns that grow out of the fourth beast.

They were kingdoms with independent rulers, but they sprang out of the Roman Empire. This means that they all in some way preserved Roman culture and government. In other words, the existence of the Roman Empire caused these Ten Kingdoms to rise to power (rise out of the fourth Beast). For some reason, these Germanic tribes had a desire to plant themselves on Roman-controlled soil and continue Roman ways. Many of them adopted codes of law in Latin that were patterned off Roman law.

In Daniel’s dream, another small horn appeared among these ten horns. Three of these horns were uprooted and this little horn replaced them. Of the ten tribes just referenced, three of them were uprooted from Italy: Heruli (493 AD), Ostrogoths (530s-550s), and Lombards (750s-770s).

During the time that these ten tribes gained prominence, the Roman Catholic Church gradually became a little kingdom among them. The pope gradually increased in influence and authority in Rome and Italy. In the 750s, the Lombards threatened to conquer Rome. The pope reached out to Pepin, king of the Franks, for help. He defeated the Lombards and gave some of their land to the pope for him to rule as both the spiritual and temporal leader.

In the midst of the third horn being uprooted, Pope Stephen (II) became the first “pope-king” in 755 AD (Catholic Encyclopedia: “Pope Stephen (II) III”). The Lombards attacked Rome one more time in the 770s, but Pepin’s son Charlemagne came to protect the papal kingdom.

Not long after this, the second council of Nicaea was held in 787. In it, idols and images were affirmed, which changed the commandments of God (that forbids idols and images). Also, the Sabbath and Holy Days were condemned (changing the Feasts of Leviticus 23).

Thus, all popes are the small horn of Daniel’s dream. It is a man ruling a different kind of kingdom – one that is chiefly religious in purpose.

In part two of this series, we will look at how this little horn grew out of the Roman Empire, how it became a kingdom, and how it started to change the times and the laws long before the 750s AD.

God Bless!

Kelly McDonald, Jr.

BSA President –


Catholic Encyclopedia 1911: (23) Anglo-Saxon Church, Bavaria, Bohemia, Burgundy, Canon Law, Flanders, The Franks, Lex, Lombardy, Mecklenburg, Ostrogoths, Pontiff, Pope Stephen II (some list him as the III), Pope Simplicitus, Romulus Augustulus, Roman Curia, Saxony, States of the Church, Switzerland, Theodoric the Great, Thuringia, Vandals, Visigoths

Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition: (25) Angli, ALAMANNI, Alani, Bavaria, Europe, Helvetii, Heruli, Franks, Frisians, Goths, Jutes, Lombards, Marcomanni, Medieval and Modern History, Moravia, Netherlands, Odoacer, Pavia, Pontiff, Saxons, Slavs, Suebi, Teutonic Peoples, Vandals, Vaud.