The Plain Truth About The Waldensians
QR Code
The Plain Truth About The Waldensians

Chapter V:

The Sabbath

   We have seen that the Waldensians very vigorously made the Decalogue a foundational matter in their doctrines. They also established their doctrines from both the Old and New Testaments. They refused very vigorously the unbiblical holidays of the Romish church, including Easter and Christmas. They understood Galatians 4:10 to refer to astrology and observing times superstitiously. They rejected anything added to the church practices not proven in the Bible. Would you expect them to observe the "sunday-Lord's Day" myth then? Since the Sabbath was a sign between God and His people (Ex. 31:13-17); since it was also one of God's holy days or feasts (Lev. 23:1-3); and since it was the true Lord's day (Matt. 12:8), these people must have kept the seventh day as the Sabbath if they were really God's church.
   The Seventh-Day Baptist historian covers the subject so well with such pertinent points and system, that I will present the reader his evidence as follows:
   Nevertheless, Antichrist, as represented in the Papacy never succeeded in driving the Sabbath wholly from his domains. Dissenters who kept the Sabbath, existed under different names and forms of organization, from the time of the first Pope to the Reformation. They were either the descendants of those who fled from the heathen persecutions previous to the time of Constantine — which is most probable — or else those who, when he began to rule the



[Pages 65-69 Missing]



   Jones and Benedict agree with Robinson in rejecting the idea that the Waldenses received these names from their shoes. Mr. Jones held, on the contrary, that they were given them because they did not keep the Romish festivals. (Jones's History of the Church, Vol. II, 5:1)

   Mr. Benedict favors the view that it was because they kept the seventh day (General History of the Baptist Denomination; — Vol. II, p. 413). But let us now see who they are that make these statements respecting the observance of the Sabbath by the Waldenses, that Robinson alludes to in this place. He quotes out of Gretser the words of the historian Goldastus as follows: "Insabbatati (they were called) not because they were circumcised, but because they kept the Jewish Sabbath." (Eccl. Researches, chapt. 10, p. 303)

   Goldastus was "a learned historian and jurist, born near Bischofszell, in Switzerland, in 1567." He died in 1635 (Thomas' Dictionary of Biography and Mytholoiy, article, "Goldastus"). He was a calvinist writer of note (D'Anbignes Reformation in the Time of Calvin, Vol. III, p. 456). He certainly had no desire to favor the cause of the seventh day. Gritser objects to his statement on the ground that the Waldenses exterminated every festival1 but this was the most natural thing in the world for men who had God's awn rest-day in their keeping.

   Robinson also quotes an this point the testimony of Archbishop Usher. Though that prelate held that the Waldenses derived these names from their shoes, he frankly acknowledges that many understood that they were given to them because they worshipped on the Jewish Sabbath. This testimony is valuable in that it shows that many early writers asserted the observance of "the Saturday for the Lord's Day" by the people who were called Sabbatati. (Eccl. Researches, chapt. 10, p. 304; Usher's De Christianar. Eccl. success et stat. chapt. 7)96

   A slightly varied rendering of this name is given by Philip Smith thusly: "Besides the name derived from their founder, his followers are called Sabati, Xabatenses, Inzabbattati."97
   Quoting more fully than given by Andrews, Jones's view on the meaning of Insabbathists is:
   ...the names imposed on them in France by their adversaries, they say, have been intended to vilify and ridicule them, or to represent them as new and different sects. Being stripped of all their property, and reduced by persecution to extreme poverty, they have been called "the poor of Lyons." Because they would not observe saints' days, they were falsely supposed to neglect the Sabbath also, and called "Inzabbatati" or "Insabbathists." Dr. Mosheim traces the derivation of this word to a kind of slipper which they wore, as a distinguishing badge of the sect, and Gibbon has adopted his opinion. But I agree with Mr. Robinson in thinking it very unlikely that people who could not descend from their mountains into neighboring states, without hazarding their lives through the furious zeal of inquisitors should tempt danger by affixing a visible mark on their shoes. The above opinion - therefore, appears to me much more probable.98

End Paragraph

   If the name Insabbatati, Insabbathists, or Inzabbatati all mean regardless of Sabbath, because they worked on all Roman sabbaths they could get away with, then what must the opposite name of Sabbatati, Sabbathists, or Zabbatati mean? Of course, it would mean regarding Sabbaths, which must include more than just the weekly Sabbath since it is plural. The fact that they were called both proves that they did not regard Rome's sabbaths, but instead regarded God's Sabbaths. This we have already seen in this work in that the Waldensians kept the Lord's Supper annually, understood it was the Feast of Pentecost and almost certainly kept it as well, and understood that unleavened bread was essential with the Lord's Supper. This in addition to direct testimony from several sources that they kept the seventh day as the Sabbath. We have seen direct proof that they detested all of Rome's days, including Easter and Christmas, so is it reasonable in the light of all this that the "Sunday-Lord's day myth" escaped this exclusion? Certainly not.

Footnotes: Chapter V:

96. Andrews, History of the Sabbath, pp. 409-412.

97. Smith, History of the Christian Church, p. 598, footnote.

98. Jones, History of the Christian Church, p. 256.

Previous      Chapter V      Next
Publication Date: 1974
Back To Top