The following article was published in "Signs of the Times," March 22, 1910. It is a well-written explanation of why the day on which one worships reveals the heart loyalty to one's God/god.
In the issue of the great contest between the forces of good and of evil, two parties are to be developed,--those who "worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark," and those who receive "the seal of the living God," and have "the Father's name written in their foreheads."
In the fourth commandment is found the seal of God's law. This only, of all the ten, brings to view the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It declares Him to be the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus shows His claim to reverence and worship above all others. Aside from this precept, there is nothing in the Decalogue to show by whose authority the law was given.
The Sabbath enjoined by the fourth commandment was instituted to commemorate the work of creation. Had the seventh day always been kept, there would never have been an idolater, and atheist, or an infidel. The sacred observance of God's holy day would have directed the minds of men to their Creator, the true and living God. Everything in nature also would have brought Him to their remembrance; and would have borne witness to His power and love.
The Seal of God
The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. It points to God as the Creator, and is the sign of His rightful authority over the beings He has made. Those who obey this law will bear the seal of God, for He has set apart this day as a sign of loyalty between Himself and His people. To Moses on Mount Sinai He said, "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you."
The mark of the beast is the opposite of this,--the observance of the first day of the week as the sabbath enforced by human law. This mark distinguishes those who acknowledge the supremacy of the papal authority from those who acknowledge the authority of God.
Claimed as Her Mark
As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite "the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of, . . . because by keeping Sunday strictly they acknowledge the church's power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin."
The Roman church thus declares that by observing the first day of the week as the sabbath, Protestants are recognizing her power to legislate in divine things. And it is true that those who, understanding the claims of the fourth commandment, choose to observe a false sabbath in the place of the true, are thereby paying homage to that power by which alone it is commanded.
The Roman church has not relinquished her claim to supremacy; and when the world and the Protestant churches accept a sabbath of her creating, while they reject the Bible Sabbath, they virtually admit this assumption. They may claim the authority of tradition and of the Fathers for the change; but in so doing they ignore the very principle which separates them from Rome,--that "the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants." The papist can see that they are deceiving themselves, willingly closing their eyes to the facts in the case. As the movement for Sunday enforcement gains favor, he rejoices, feeling assured that it will eventually bring the whole Protestant world under the banner of Rome.
With rapid steps we are approaching this period. When the Protestant churches shall unite with the secular power to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution: when the state shall use its power to enforce the decrees and sustain the institutions of the church,--then will Protestant America have formed an image to the Papacy, and there will be a national apostasy which will end only in national ruin.
God Rather than Man
The laws of nations should be respected as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God; but when there is collision between them, every true disciple of Christ will say, as did Peter when commanded to speak no more in the name of Jesus, "We ought to obey God rather than men."
Paul wrote to the Romans, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." But there is a point beyond which it is impossible to maintain union and harmony without the sacrifice of principle. Separation then becomes an absolute duty.
Christ never purchased peace and friendship by compromise with evil. The life of Jesus, the suffering which He endured from a perverse nation, demonstrate to His followers that there must be no sacrifice of principle. Peace is too dearly obtained if purchased by the smallest concession to Satan's agencies. The least surrender of principle entangles us in the snares of Satan.
The Sabbath question is to be the issue in the great final conflict, in which all the world will act a part. Men have honored Satan's principles above the principles that rule in the heavens. They have accepted the spurious sabbath, which Satan has exalted as the sign of his authority. But God has set His seal upon His royal requirement. Each Sabbath institution, both true and false, bears the name of its author, an ineffaceable mark that shows the authority of each.
The great decision now to be made by every one is, whether he will receive the mark of the beast and his image, or the seal of the living and true God And now, when we are on the very borders of the eternal world, what can be of so much value to us as to be found loyal and true to the God of heaven? What is there that we should prize above His truth and His law? What is so necessary as a knowledge of "what saith the Scripture?"