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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the sabbath day".

"And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.

And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.

And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.

And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses".

"Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem: neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

"And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, to do no work therein: then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and upon horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and meat-offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the temple of the Lord.

But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then I will kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched".

"Abide ye every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

So the people rested on the seventh day".

From these testimonies it is clear that it was unlawful for servants in the families of Israel to light fires, cook dinners, harness horses, drive out families to the synagogues, or priests to the temple to officiate in the service of the Lord.

The visiting of families on the sabbath day, the taking of excursions for health or for preaching, and conversing about worldly, or family, or any kind of secular affairs, was also illegal, and punishable with death.

The law, it will be observed also, had regard to the seventh, and to no other day of the week.

It was lawful to do all these things on the first or eighth day (some particular ones, however, excepted), but not on the seventh.

On this day, however, it was "lawful to do good"; but then, this good was not arbitrary.

Neither the priests nor the people were the judges of the good or evil, but the law only which defined it.

"On the sabbath days the priests in the temple profaned the sabbath, and were blameless"; for the law enjoined them to offer "two lambs of the first year, without spot, as the burnt-offering of every sabbath".

This was a profanation of the seventh-day law, which prohibited "any work" from being done; and had not God commanded it, they would have been "guilty of death".

It was upon this ground that Jesus was "guiltless"; for he did the work of God on that day in healing the sick as the Father had commanded him.

"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore ," said Jesus, "the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath Day ".

It was a wise and beneficent institution.