Sabbath Day 


     In his study of the scriptures, Captain Bates had learned that Jesus and His disciples did not change the Christian Sabbath from Saturday, the seventh day of the week, to Sunday the first day, but that the change had been made by church leaders many years after Christ’s ascension.  He wrote a pamphet giving his reasons for believing that all Christians should keep the Sabbath of the commandment, but he had no money to pay for having it published.

     When he retired from the sea, he sold his ship for $11,000.  He was considered a rich man for those day; but now he was poor, for he had spent his entire fortune in spreading the Advent message.  However the printer agreed to print the Sabbath tract and wait for his pay.  When the tract was off the press, the bill was paid by a friend who concealed his identity, and Elder Bates had the pamphlet to pass out freely.  He handed one copy to James White.  ( the retired sea Captain was often called “Elder Bates” because he spent so much time preaching and giving Bible studies.)

     James and Ellen read it very carefully.  Perhaps Elder Bates was right!  They must know exactly what the Bible said, for they certainly wanted to obey God in all things.

     The pamphlet was printed in such small type that Mrs. White could not read it.  It hurt her eyes and made her head ache.  James would read a paragraph aloud, and then they would look up the texts; for although the pamphlet was small, it was packed full of Bible verses.  Often while studying, James and Ellen would kneel and ask God to send His Holy Spirit, as He had promised to guide them into the truth.

     Their study convinced them that Jesus had never said anything about changing the rest day from the seventh to the first day of the week.  Neither Jesus nor His disciples ever kept Sunday or taught others to keep it. 

     Again and again they read how God, after creating the world, blessed the seventh day and made it holy and gave it to Adam and Eve and all the people who should live in the world to remind them of His creative power.  And they read texts stating that the Sabbath was to be a sign between God and His people forever.  When James and Ellen understood how important the Sabbath was, they began to observe it at once.

     The cold winter passed and spring came.  Often my grandparents met with their friends at Topsham.  Ellen has written about a vision she was given early that spring during a Bible study in the Howland home.

     “As we prayed the Holy Spirit fell upon us.  We were very happy.  Soon I was lost to earthly things, and was wrapped in a vision of God’s glory.”  Then she said an angel carried me from this earth to the Holy City.  With Jesus I entered the temple in Heaven.

     “I passed into the Most Holy Place.  There I saw the golden ark…..Jesus raise the corner of the ark, and I saw the table of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments.  I was surprised to see a soft halo of light encircling the fourth commandment, calling my special attention to it and making it shine brighter than any of the other nine.”

     Mrs. White studied carefully to see if the commandment had been changed.  Did it say, "Remember the first day of the week to keep it holy"?  She was sure that if God had changed the Sabbath He would have changed the writing on the tables of stone in the ark in heaven.  But it still read, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," the same as when God engraved it on tables of stone for Moses to place inside the sacred ark.

     James and Ellen and the other Adventist people had not started keeping the Sabbath because Joseph Bates was preaching it, but because they had learned it themselves by carefully studying the Bible.  And now God had given this vision to assure them that they understood the scriptures correctly, and that it was their duty to obey the fourth commantment and to teach others to obey it.  Mrs. white wrote out the vision and the angel's instruction.

     He told her that God has many children who keep the first day of the week because they believe that Jesus and His disciples changed the Sabbath.  In these last days when great troubles are coming upon the earth, the Sabbath truth is being taught more fully.  Many sincere Christians are giving up their man-made Sabbath and are beginning to keep God's holy day.

     Someday soon this will bring them great persecution   and suffering.  Sabbathkeepers will be accused of causing the world's troubles.  But Jesus will be with His loyal people, and before the final destruction of the world, He will come and save them.

Ella Robinson