SABBATH, OR SUNDAY.
The Sabbath and the Family are coeval with creation. These two divine institutions are therefore equally of a moral nature and of permanent obligation. They are explicitly recognized and assigned a central position in the fourth and fifth commandments of the moral law, when republished—and published objectively for the first time by the ministry of Moses at Sinai.
In creating the worlds, God occupied six days. But since the countless millions of the dead are to be raised to life at the last day, (1 Cor. 15:52) "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;" can any one suppose that the Almighty Architect could not have finished the work of creation on the first day? To any rational, but especially to a pious mind these facts will be suggestive. The question will spontaneously arise in the sober mind of one who humbly searches the Scriptures:—can any reason be discovered why six days were spent in effecting a work which might have been done in a moment? Among other reasons of minor import will naturally occur to a reflecting mind the two following, which we think are pregnant with significance. 1. That our feeble intellects might thus be aided in apprehending the stupendous operation, and our hearts more deeply impressed by the daily and successive development of the chaotic mass, and each part taking its assigned place in the cosmic, completed organism. 2. A second reason, which a mere philosopher might consider a needless waste of time, why the work covered a whole week, is of deeper significance than the former—that all mankind might have before them their Creator's own example till the end of the world. And indeed amid the ruins of our fall that example is not wholly obliterated from our moral nature, for universal history attests that all nations have practiced the dividing of time by hebdomadal sections; that is, by periods of seven days. But heathen nations could not discover this method of measuring time, by their knowledge of astronomy, none of the motions of the universe affording the means for such computation, diurnal, lunar or solar. This historical fact can be accounted for only on the ground that the Sabbath is of a moral nature, being part of that law connate [i.e., inborn] with man, and coming down through the ages by tradition. Rom. 2:15. Through the same historical medium may be traced the universal custom of sacrifice, up to the primitive institution in the first family of the human race. Heb. 11:4.
When the work of creation was completed, the six working days were distinguished only by their successive numbers. So reads the Hebrew when literally translated. "And there was evening and there was morning, day one." And thus it is with the five days which follow. Adam was deputed and directed to give names to all inferior creatures, and doubtless he distinguished them by names descriptive of their diverse natures, as he did in naming his wife, whom he called Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. But Adam, even in his state of innocence, was not capable of devising a name comprising the full meaning of the seventh day. Only the omniscient Creator himself could devise the name, Sabbath—a name of the same significance to which day soever he may be pleased to attach it.
Now there are certain words which often occur in the Bible, words familiar and pleasant to the Christian’s ear; such as peace, rest, home, &c. They are pleasant because they suggest enjoyment. By these the happiness of the heavenly state is indicated. "He shall enter into peace," Isa. 57:2. "They rest from their labors," Rev. 14:13. "Man goeth to his long home," Eccl. 12:5. Oh! how desirable to the weary pilgrim to enter into peace, into rest, into his everlasting home, to go no more out!
Every intelligent person knows that Sunday is of Pagan origin and of idolatrous import, coming down to us through Popery and Prelacy, associated with Christmas, Easter and other idolatrous and superstitious ceremonies of antichristian origin. The infidel editor knows the pecuniary value of this idolatrous term prefixed to his secular journal, as the Sunday Mercury, Herald, &c. Were he to prefix the word Sabbath, or Lord’s day to his caption, the number of his patrons would be quickly reduced. From ignorance of the true meaning of the Sabbath and from hereditary superstition, such a person hates the very word; as on the other hand the enlightened Christian, from reverence to divine authority, must dislike a profane substitute.
The Sabbath is the Lord’s day, of which no person or nation can rob him with impunity. 2 Chron. 36:21; Neh. 13:18. It has ever been a sign between the Lord and his people. Ex. 31:13. Since its first institution the Sabbath has been the Lord’s (katapausis) rest, before it can be that of a believer. Heb. 4:1. To the people of God there still remains, after the abrogation of the Mosaic economy (Sabbatismos) the keeping of a Sabbath—to be a weekly memorial of the works of creation and redemption as taught in Heb. 4:9,10. This Sabbatismos is to them a lively emblem, a sure pledge, and real antepast of their (katapausis) everlasting rest.—David Steele, (1882