J.R. Spangler is the editor of Ministry

 

An incredible advertisement has appeared in recent issues of Christianity Today. The bold heading declares, "Sunday Is God's Seventh Day." The purported proof for this proclamation is a calendar "specially designed for Christian life. Its most unique quality is the Seventh day of the week is Sunday, NOT Saturday." The promoters of this day-changing calendar bravely put in italics, " 'For on the Seventh day He rested' "—as if this settled the matter.

It is a well-known fact that the publishers of the Official Airline Guide (OAG) have for years labeled Monday "day one" and Sunday "day seven," but to my knowledge never have they claimed Sunday as the seventh-day Sabbath. Several European countries have also rearranged the numbers of the weekly days, beginning with Monday as "day one" of the week. But no serious student of Scripture would claim that this makes Sunday the seventh-day Sabbath. Calling a peach tree an apple tree doesn't make it so.

It is comforting to know that the weekly cycle of seven days is of divine institution. Our day of twenty-four hours is based on the earth's revolution on its axis. Our year is tied to the earth's circling the sun every 3651/4 days. But the week stands uniquely and exclusively alone. It has no connection with any element of nature. Someone designed it in Eden's garden, and man still has it. It is one of the very few things that changeable man, Christian or non- Christian, with his fads and furies, has been unable to alter or eradicate. Calendar changes have been made, but they have not affected the days of the weekly cycle.

W. O. Carver, author of Sabbath Observance (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1940), referring to the weekly cycle, pointedly states: "The explanation given in Genesis 2:2, 3 must be the starting point for any effort to explain the origin, the continuance and the growing extension of this unique time division. . . .

"So far as our knowledge goes the week was used only by the progenitors of the Hebrews, by them and related Semitic peoples, and where their influence extended. . . .

"From the anthropological approach we would say that this rational time construction, having no relation to any natural phenomenon from which it could have been derived, was an invention of man's ingenuity. But anthropology finds no data in its own field bearing on this subject. The week, with its Sabbath, is an artificial device. The reason for it is found only in the Old Testament Scriptures. . . .

"In connection only with the week is religion obviously the explanation of its origin, and the week only is uniformly attributed to command of God. The week exists because of the Sabbath. It is historically and scientifically true that the Sabbath was made by God." Quoted in the SDA Bible Students' Source Book, p. 1077.

Our Lord was crucified on Friday, the sixth day of the week. Dr. Luke stated, "It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin" (Luke 23:54, N.I.V.). The women went to the tomb "on the first day of the week, very early in the morning. . . . But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus" (chap. 24:1-3, N.I.V.).

With the exception of a very few, all Christendom stands by a Friday crucifix ion and a Sunday resurrection. And a few million of us stand by the Creator's original seventh-day Sabbath, as commanded by God in the fourth commandment and chronologically lodged between the Friday crucifixion and a Sunday resurrection. J.R.S.


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J.R. Spangler is the editor of Ministry

January 1985

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