THE COVENANTAL SABBATH
Seventh-day Adventism carefully documents traces of all (Saturday) sabbath-keeping groups down through the centuries (such as the Ebionites, the Early Ethiopian Church, possibly Columba of Iona, some of the Waldensians, tendencies in Carlstadt, and the Seventh-day Baptists of the seventeenth century) in its representative books such as Andrews and Conradi: op. cit.; Edwardson’s: "Facts of Faith" (Southern Pub. Assoc., Nashville Tenn. 1943); Wilkinson’s: "Truth Triumphant: the Church in the Wilderness" (Pacific Press Pub. Assoc., Mountain View, Calif., l944); Froom’s: "The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers" (4 Vols., Review and Herald Pub. Assoc., Wash., D.C., 1950); and Yost’s two works (opera citata).
However, it is extremely dangerous to maintain that Saturday has always been the true sabbath. There is no evidence that the sabbath held from Adam to Joseph, fell on a Saturday; and still less that it fell on a Saturday before the fall (Vide pp. 70-72; 61-134). Moreover, it is quite possible that the sevenfold cycle was disrupted at least once during the Jews’ slavery in Egypt between the time of Joseph and the reinstitution of the sabbath in the time of Moses (Ex. 1-16). But even from the time of Moses onwards, although the days have thenceforth (as previously) devolved in unbroken succession, they have not all been uniformly twenty-four hours each in duration. At least two such days were very considerably longer, namely Joshua’s long day (Josh. 10:13) and the day when Hezekiah’s sundial moved back fifteen degrees (Isa. 38:8). It is, however, unquestionable that the sabbath fell on Saturday in the days of Christ’s earthly life (cf. Luke 23:54-24:1) [cf. chs. V-VI].
Yost ("Doctrine" etc. p. 102) quotes the following as the earliest record of emperors who enforced "Sun-worship": "Antoninus (218-222 AD.)", "Aurelian (270-274 AD.)", and "Constantine (312-337 AD.)". He also cites (pp. 102-3) Justin Martyr (Apol. I ch. 66, 67 and Dial. ch. 70), whom he dates on p. 68 as "(100-166 A.D.)", as authority for the proposition that Mithraic Sun-worship already obtained in Justin’s own time. [Cf. too Gunkel: "Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verstkndniss des Neuen Testaments", Gottingen, GERMANY, 1903, pp. 74-6]. Further, Yost (p. 105) refers to Augustine’s in Faustem ix ch. 2; xiv ch. 11 and xviii ch. 5, where that Church Father "(354-430 AD.)" discusses the Sunday sun-worship of the Manicheans; and he also refers (p. 106) to the astrological Sunday, citing Justin Martyr (I Apol. ch. 67), "the Neo-Platonists (about AD. 250)" and "Porphyry (250 AD.)" in support of his argument. On p. 68 Yost cites with approval Mrs. E. G. White’s "Early Writings" (p. 33) and "The Great Controversy" (pp. 447, 448) as authority for the proposition that "God has not changed the Sabbath, for He never changed. But the pope has changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week." Cf. too the Seventh-day Adventist Branson ("Reply to Canright", p. 133) who apparently claims that "the name, origin, authority and sanctification of the Sunday institution is completely and altogether heathen"; and cf. Uriah Smith ("The Marvel of Nations", p. 183), where he apparently claims that "Sunday observance must therefore be the mark of the beast", cf. Rev. 13:7. See too Flemming: op. cit., p. 99, and Questions on Doctrine, pp. 177-202.
But Yost himself provides the historical
material with which to refute his own arguments. He quotes (op.
cit., p. 102) Justin Martyr as having said in his discussion
of the Sunday assembly of the early Christians and their breaking
of bread on that day (Apol. 1:66-7): "which the wicked devils
have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras." Tertullian (in
his Apol. ch. 16) is said to have written in about 200 AD. (according
to Yost: op. cit., p. 103): "We shall be counted
as Persians, perhaps, though we do not worship the orb of day .
. . we devote Sun-day to rejoicing, from a far different reason
than Sun-worship." Whereas Augustine (354-430) according
to Yost (op. cit., pp. 106-7) wrote to Faustus
the Manichaean (IX ch. 2) that "...you are in the habit
of worshipping the sun on what you call Sunday. What you call Sunday,
we call the Lord’s day, and on it we do not worship the sun, but
the Lord’s resurrection." Cf. too Tertullian’s de Idol.
ch. 14 and his ad Nat. I ch. 13 (also referred
to in Yost: op. cit., pp. 106-7).