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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

If they would "keep the day to the Lord," let them believe and obey the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus; and then "continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" on the "first day"; and cease from the works of sinful flesh every day of the week; and they will doubtless "delight in the Lord, and ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob" in the Kingdom of God, as the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.

Of the things then which have been written under this head this is the sum.

The six creation-days were each as long as the seventh, whose duration is defined by the Mosaic law; and consequently the geological notion of their being six several periods of many centuries each, falls to the ground as a mere conceit of infidel philosophy.

The Lord God ended His work on the seventh day,.

"and was refreshed" by the songs of the Morning Stars, and the joyous shouts of the Sons of God.

To celebrate His rest, He constituted it holy and a day of blessing.

Hence it was commemorative of the past, and "a shadow of things to come".

The seventh day was observed by Adam and Eve as a day of delight before they became sinners.

The immediate cause of their joyousness on the day of rest is not testified.

It is certain it was not a burdensome day; for sin had not yet marred their enjoyments.

It was probably because of the gracious interviews granted them by the Lord God on that day; and of the revelations made to them of the things contained in the blessing pronounced upon it when He "blessed and sanctified it".

There is no record, or hint, of the existence of a penal statute for not observing the seventh day, from the sanctification of it till the raining down bread from heaven for the Israelites in the wilderness of Egypt.

The observance of the seventh day by absolute rest from every kind of work and pleasure-taking, accompanied by a peculiar sacrifice on the brazen altar of the temple, and spiritual delight in its blessedness, was its Mosaic celebration enjoined upon the Israelites, and their dependents in Palestine, and upon them alone.

Its profanation by citizens of the commonwealth of Israel was punishable with death by stoning.

Israel was especially commanded to remember the seventh day and keep it as appointed by the law; because God in creating their world brought them out of Egypt, and rested from the work of its creation when He gave them a temporary and typical rest under Joshua in the land of Canaan.

For an Israelite to remember the seventh day to keep it holy, spiritually as well as ceremonially, so as to obtain the blessing which it shadowed forth, he must have had an Abrahamic faith in the promised blessing, and have ceased or rested from the works of "sinful flesh".

The blessing promised to Israelites, who were Abraham's sons by faith as well as by flesh descent, for a spiritual observance of the seventh day (and which, until "the handwriting," or Mosaic law, was blotted out and nailed to the cross, could not be spiritually observed and ceremonially profaned) was, that they should "delight in the Lord, ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob their father," when the time to fulfil the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should arrive.

The blessing pronounced on a national observance of the seventh day was the uninterrupted continuance of the throne of David, and great national prosperity.

Its desecration to be punished by the breaking up of the commonwealth of Israel and desolation of their country.

The Mosaic observance of the seventh day was appointed as "a sign" between God and the twelve tribes of Israel.

It was a holy day to them, and to be observed perpetually throughout their generations.

13.

It was lawful for Israelites to do good on the seventh day; but they were not permitted to be the judges of the good or evil.