We had the pleasure one day last week of listening to a “Bible-reading” on the Sabbath question, given by Dr. L. Munhall, the evangelist who has been holding revival services in San Francisco for several weeks. The “reading” was more pointed and interesting than any other Sabbath study we ever heard from a first-day preacher.
Why is it that professed Christians speak with such contempt of the law of God? It is because they hate the fourth commandment, which enjoins the observance of the Sabbath.
They profess abhorrence of murder, adultery, and theft. But if it is a sin to keep the fourth commandment, it is also wrong to keep the sixth, seventh and eight. They teach that the law of God is not in force, that those who keep it have fallen from grace.
A more horrible doctrine could not be imagined.
God has rested upon the seventh day, and has blessed and sanctified it. He calls it His Sabbath, and tells us to keep it holy.
Can we obey Him by selecting some other day, and say that it makes no difference, provided we keep one whole day out of the seven?
Whoever reads the Bible with care will notice that there is never any suggestion of the possibility of doubt as to which day is the Sabbath. The whole burden of the Scripture is as to its nature, and the manner of its observance.
He is Redeemer because He is Creator, and redemption is creation. It is a complete and perfect work. Christ’s last words on the cross were, “It is finished!” The cross of Christ brings those who accept it into the condition in which man was at the close of the sixth day of creation, when God saw everything that He had made, “and behold it was very good.”
So it is that the Gospel has to do with eternal things, but eternal things in the present time. The trouble with people is that they regard eternity as only future, whereas eternity is past, present, and future. It has been, is, and is to be.
The beloved disciple had been banished to the isle of Patmos and while there he had wonderful visions, and this is how he begins the account of them. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice.” Revelation 1.10
God is calling the minds of men back to the beginning. He is calling for a return to the Sabbath of the Lord, which a church, spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, thought to do away with and replace by a day of its own appointment.
There is no reason to believe that the apostles required their converts to keep the first day of the week as a day of rest.
Of course there is not, since there is no hint of such a thing in the New Testament. Yet the Apostle Paul said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you,” and, “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Acts 20.20, 27
The terms of your question should be inverted; for it is not Sunday that is called the first day of the week, but the first day of the week that is called Sunday. The number was before the name.
Then when the question is inverted, and it is asked what Bible authority we have for calling the first day of the week Sunday, the reply must be that we have none.
The following questions, “When did they change the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day? Why did they do so?” were sent to the New York Tribune, by a reader of that journal. The brief answer, which follows, was given in that journal, and is very clear and explicit. We reprint it in hope that it may help others who have similar queries, and stimulate them to further investigation.