What does the new political trend in America mean? Will separation of Church and State continue? Here is what could happen if God would not intervene! AN OLD controversy has suddenly taken on new meaning with the presidential election of 1960. Here, quoted from the Catholic magazine AMERICA, Feb. 11, 1961, is the controversy in a nutshell:
"Controversy over Sunday-closing could be minimized if, in law, religious significance were removed from the weekly rest day. Rather than being called Sunday, the day should be referred to as... 'the President's day.' Article 1, Section 7, OF OUR CONSTITUTION CERTAINLY ORDERS THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESIDENT TO REST ON SUNDAY" — and then the writer quotes from the U.S. Constitution as follows: "'... If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sunday excepted) after it shall have been presented to him...'"
Did you catch the vital significance of this statement?
The Government and the President, argues the writer, are ORDERED to rest on Sunday! It is suggested that it be called "the President's day"!
And if the Government is required to rest this day and work on the other days, why should the common people be excepted?
Will Sunday again be enforced? Will it be by a Protestant-Catholic Church-State union as Seventh Day Adventists assume? Or is the present "blue law" controversy merely a forewarning of what is to be enforced by another government altogether?
WHO is going to enforce the "mark of the beast"?
It Happened Once Before Notice the shocking record of history. Over 1600 years ago the same controversy raged in the world. Shall Sunday be a matter of private choice — or shall it be "the Emperor's day"?
It turned out to be "the Emperor's day" — and it was branded on the whole Roman world. It was branded on professing Christianity.
In your Bible that ancient Roman system is pictured as a wild animal — a wild beast. And the MARK OF THE BEAST was branded on all the ancient world! Sunday was not the mark of a church organization — it was the mark of a political government — Satan's government!
It was — and IS — the mark of the beast!
And it is soon to be enforced on a heedless, deceived world. But it will not come in the manner or at the time usually expected. This quote from the AMERICA magazine is only a straw in the wind. The mark of the beast is not going to be enforced by an American — Catholic alliance, but by the BEAST — soon to arise in Europe and bring about the birth of the new Roman Empire and enforce its religion on the whole western world!
How a State Religion is Enforced Few realize how Sunday was once enforced upon the professing Christian world. How a Gentile world-empire branded this pagan holiday upon millions of people and imposed the death penalty on all who would not submit to it!
Few have even read the astounding decree which required the death penalty for all who opposed the dictates of the Roman State.
And fewer still know that right now, behind closed doors, a controversy is being fought in secret about whether the Euromart nations are to impose Sunday as a compulsory rest day on the millions who live in Europe. Great pressure is being brought on the present German government to close its booming industries on Sunday.
Let us turn back the pages of history for a moment and read the decree which banished the true Church from the confines of the Roman Empire. This same kind of decree is soon to be enforced on our world by a revival of the same Roman system in Europe. Here it is.
Constantine's Edict "VICTOR CONSTANTINUS, MAXIMUS AUGUSTUS, to the heretics...
"FORASMUCH, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together. We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and our care in this respect extends so far as to forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever.
"Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the catholic Church, and uniting with it in holy fellowship, whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the knowledge of the truth. In any case, the delusions of your perverted understandings must entirely cease to mingle with and mar the felicity of our present times:...
"And in order that this remedy may be applied with effectual power, we have commanded, as before said, that you be positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious meetings, I mean all the houses of prayer, if such be worthy of the name, which belong to heretics, and that these be made over without delay to the catholic Church; that any other places be confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for any future gathering; in order that from this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public."
That is how the religion of the Roman State was enforced on all the civilized world.
Notice how Eusebius, the Catholic historian, describes the enforcement of this decree.
"THUS were the lurking-places of the heretics broken up by the emperor's command, and the savage beasts they harbored (I mean the chief authors of their impious doctrines) driven to flight whom they had wandered long, and to whom they now returned with joy and gladness. Thus the members of the entire body became united, and compacted in one harmonious whole; and the one catholic Church, at unity with itself, shone with full luster, while no heretical or schismatic body any where continued to exist. And the credit of having achieved this mighty work our Heaven-protected emperor alone, of all who had gone before him, was able to attribute to himself."
And that is how the tribulation of the Dark Ages began. Truth was suppressed. Sunday was everywhere enforced. The people were branded with the mark of the beast — a political brand marking the people as subjects of the Government of Satan the devil!
But how did Sunday ever become the symbol of the devil's Government? How did it all originate? Why was the Sabbath stamped out?
Facts of History You Should Know HOW AND WHEN did Sunday replace the Sabbath in this Western Christian-professing world? WHY did the churches LOSE the one and only SIGN — the Sabbath — which designates who God's people are?
How did Sunday become known as the "Lord's Day"?
It is time we — in God's Church — peer behind the curtain for the FACTS! It is time we become grounded in the faith and understand HOW, WHEN and WHERE Sunday observance originated. You will be shocked to learn that Sunday originated with HUMAN government just after the Flood! It became the MARK or symbol of authority imposed by the State to commemorate Nimrod's name! The facts of history will shock you!
Sunday Is the "Lord's Day!" The churches today are in a BABYLON OF CONFUSION. And no wonder! For their religion sprang from Babylon! (Rev. 17).
Most Church doctrines and practices have Christian-sounding names, but they are in reality Babylonish customs FALSELY LABELED. This is especially true of Sunday — the "Lord's Day"!
Believe it or not, Sunday was celebrated by pagans as the "Lord's Day" over 2000 years BEFORE the resurrection of Christ. The apostle Paul saw the heathen observing it. Yet never once did he observe it. And he forbade Christians to celebrate it (Gal. 4:10).
Then why do we find the churches today observing Sunday supposedly in honor of Christ?
The answer is simple. Consider I Corinthians 8:5. The heathen world, in which the New Testament Church began to grow, was filled with pagan HOLIDAYS in honor of "gods many, and LORDS many."
WHICH "LORD" IS IT, THEN, WHOSE RESURRECTION IS CELEBRATED ON SUNDAY TODAY?
Certainly NOT Jesus Christ! He was resurrected near the close of the Sabbath, or Saturday. Jesus Christ WAS NOT THERE when the women came to the tomb Sunday morning (Luke 24:1-5).
If Christ is not the "Lord" whose resurrection is honored on Sunday, then who is the "Lord" whom the churches worship today when they observe Sunday, the "Lord's Day"?
It is none other than Nimrod, the world's first recorded FALSE Messiah! It is NIMROD'S FICTITIOUS RESURRECTION — a clever counterfeit of Christ's RESURRECTION — that the nations celebrated every Sunday in Abraham's day and in Paul's day, and that professing Christians are celebrating today!
But how is it possible that Nimrod — who was known among the heathen as "Baal," the "lord," and the "Sun-God" — came to be honored on Sunday as the "Lord" among Christians? How is it that HIS day — Sunday — instead of God's Sabbath, has become the chief of "Christian holidays"?
Now let us peer behind the curtain and understand the almost unbelievable record of history. If it were revealed it would shatter the traditions of the churches!
Now let us consider when and how it all came about.
The Testimony of Justin Martyr About a century and a half had elapsed since the death of Jesus Christ. About this time Justin Martyr addresses his "Apologies" to the Roman Emperors. He explains to them "Christian" practices of the Catholic Church in the West.
Among the customs he relates are these:
And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits... Then we all rise together and pray, and... bread and wine AND WATER [a pagan practice of Mithraic sun-worship] are brought... But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, BECAUSE IT IS THE FIRST DAY ON WHICH GOD, having wrought a change in darkness and matter, MADE THE WORLD; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified" — so claimed Justin Martyr — on the day before that of Saturn; and on the day after that of Saturn, which is THE DAY OF THE SUN, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration" ("First Apology," ch., LXVII, "Ante-Nicene Fathers").
The FIRST reason for the observance of Sunday offered by Justin is that it was the day God began TO WORK! Justin, however, did not teach that Sunday ought to be kept as a rest day!
Notice also that Justin calls it the "day of the sun." Why? Tertullian gives us the answer a few years later!
When some Romans reproached the early Catholics for sun-worship, he admitted:
"It is a well known fact that we pray toward the east... we make Sunday a day of festivity. What then? Do you [pagans] do less than this? Do not many among you, with an affection of sometimes worshipping the heavenly bodies likewise, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise... It is you... who have admitted the sun into the calendar of the week; and you have selected its day, in preference to the preceding day, as the most suitable in the week for either an entire abstinence from the bath, or for its postponements until the evening, or for taking rest, and for banqueting" ("Ad Nationes," book I, ch. xiii).
Sunday observance CAME FROM SUN-WORSHIP. Tertullian justified the practices of his day by appealing to the practices of the heathen, instead of the Bible!
Tradition Began Customs Tertullian, the father of Latin Christianity, never cites any scripture for his beliefs. HE CLAIMS TRADITION for the customs of his day. Here is what he wrote about Sunday:
"If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. TRADITION WILL BE HELD FORTH TO YOU AS THE ORIGINATOR of them, custom as their strengthener, and faith, as their preserver. That reason will support tradition, and custom, and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has" ("De Corona," sect. 4).
Sunday did not come from the Bible. It was and IS a tradition of men!
Justin Martyr admitted, however, that there were many who followed the Bible in his day. There were Christians with whom he sometimes associated WHO OBSERVED THE SABBATHS AND THE ANNUAL FESTIVALS OF GOD (chapter 47). He adds, however, that they were rejected by the main body of early professing Christians. The doctrines of God's Church were the same a century after the apostles as they are today. WE — in God's Church today — maintain the same faith and body of beliefs that were REJECTED by the multitudes who were running after paganism!
Constantine Enforces Sunday The opening of the fourth century was tumultuous for the churches everywhere. Diocletian, Maximian and Galerius were the Roman Emperors who proscribed every form of Christianity. The persecutions lasted nearly a decade. Then the professing Christian religion suddenly emerged to freedom under an Edict of Toleration. The nature of such an edict could mean but one thing, that Christianity was looked upon by the political leaders of the Roman Empire AS THE FUTURE STATE RELIGION. Events now happened fast.
In 321 A.D., on the seventh of March, an unusual edict was issued by Crispus and Constantine, often designated AS THE EARLIEST SUNDAY LAW. It read thusly:
"On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost." ("Codex Justinianus," lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in "History of the Christian Church," by Schaff, Vol. III, p. 380).
This edict was a civil statute, not an ecclesiastical one. It was A HEATHEN INSTITUTION of which Hutton Webster says:
"This legislation by Constantine probably bore no relation to Christianity; it appears, on the contrary, that the emperor, in his capacity of Pontifex Maximus [a title the popes later took from the Emperors], was only adding the day of the Sun, the worship of which was then firmly established in the Roman Empire, to the other ferial days of the sacred calendar" ("Rest Days," pp. 122, 123).
Sunday is the "MARK of the Beast" — the political Roman Empire. It was imposed by the STATE! The Church voluntarily accepted it.
The Council of Laodicea About 365 A.D. the Council of Laodicea was called to settle, among other matters, THE SABBATH QUESTION! One of its most famous canons was the twenty-ninth, which reads thus:
"Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather, honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting them as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, LET THEM BE ANATHEMA FROM CHRIST." ("Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers," Vol. VIX, p. 148).
The force of the Roman State had already been utilized in 325 A.D. to confiscate the property and destroy the lives of any who obeyed God's commandments and the Passover. So now, in 365 A.D., the heavy hand of the State fell upon any who continued to be faithful in resting on the Sabbath day as commanded in the Bible.
WHY GIVE SUCH A COMMAND IF THERE WERE NONE OBSERVING THE SABBATH?
Not only was sabbath-keeping forbidden at this council, but canons XXXVII and XXXVIII also forbade Catholics to observe any of the annual festivals! "It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them." "It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety ("Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers," p. 151).
These ecclesiastical laws had the force of civil laws, especially following the time of Theodosius (378-395).
But one important canon is often overlooked in this Council. The sixteenth canon reads: "The Gospels are to be read ON THE SABBATH, with the other Scriptures" ("Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers," p. 133). The "Sabbath" mentioned is the seventh day of the week!
Notice. Although Catholics were required to work on Saturday, they were still commanded to attend church that day! SATURDAY THEN WAS OBSERVED MUCH AS SUNDAY IS NOW!
Says Socrates, the Catholic Historian, in speaking of the Eastern churches during the life of Chrysostom (345-407). "'Saturday and the Lord's day [were] the two great festivals, on which they always held church assemblies.' And Cassian takes notice of the Egyptian churches, that among them the service of the Lord's day and the sabbath was always the same" ("Bingham's Antiquities," p. 656).
Public worship on the sabbath was far from expelled in the churches of the East. Even the Western bishops, especially at Rome, had to allow it to continue.
After the Council of Laodicea Public worship on Saturday persisted in Greek churches long after the Council of Laodicea.
Gregory, Bishop of Nyassa, a representative of the Eastern churches, about ten years after the Council at Laodicea dared to tell the world: "With what eyes can you behold the Lord's day, when you despise the Sabbath? Do you not perceive that they are sisters, and that in slighting the one, you affront the other?"
Observance of Sunday in a sabbatical manner was not strictly enforced for almost two centuries more, for we even find JEROME, THE TRANSLATOR OF THE LATIN VULGATE BIBLE, WORKING AFTER THE SUNDAY SERVICES SEVERAL YEARS FOLLOWING THE ENACTMENTS AT LAODICEA.
Augustine, around 400 A.D., soon declared: "THE HOLY DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH [not the Bible, but men] HAVE DECREED THAT ALL THE GLORY OF THE JEWISH SABBATH IS TRANSFERRED TO IT [SUNDAY]. LET US THEREFORE KEEP THE LORD'S DAY AS THE ANCIENTS WERE COMMANDED TO DO THE SABBATH" (Sabbath Laws, p. 284).
It was the STATE which declared Sunday an imperial holiday. But now the Church dominated the State. Notice what happened.
It was the CHURCH which sanctioned the Roman Sunday AS A REST DAY. It was the Church which claimed to have altered God's law (Daniel 2:21) and transferred the law of the Sabbath to Sunday.
It was another six hundred years UNTIL THE LAST RECORDED SEMBLANCE OF PUBLIC WORSHIP ON THE SABBATH WAS EXTIRPATED FROM THE EASTERN CHURCHES. Pope Gregory of Rome, in the West, anathematized "Those who taught that it was not lawful to do work on the day of the Sabbath" ("History of the Popes," Vol. II, p. 378).
Sabbath keeping was obliterated from Rome by the sixth century (Andrews, "History of the Sabbath," p. 375). The Eastern churches extirpated it in another four hundred years (about 1000 A.D.). The Sabbath was also stamped out by the churches of the British Isles and the continent where, according to Webster's "Rest Days," "The Celts kept Saturday as a day of rest, with special religious services on Sunday (A. Bellesheim, "History of the Catholic Church in Scotland," Edinburgh, 1887-1890, i, 86)."
The Protestant Attitude The early Protestants and translators of the Bible, Cranmer, Tyndale, Zwingle, Calvin, Luther and others recognized that Sunday is merely the result of tradition. They knew it did not come from the Bible!
Why did the Protestants not accept the seventh day as the Sabbath? What made them accept the customs of ancient Baal worship?
Let's read the Protestants' own answer:
"Luther's Larger Catechism taught that one day is not essentially better than another, but that, since it is not possible to devote each day in the week to a special religious celebration, one day should be set apart for that purpose and that, TO AVOID THE UNNECESSARY DISTURBANCES WHICH AN INNOVATION WOULD OCCASION, IT SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE SUNDAY. The Augsburg Confession (art xxviii.) protests against the Sabbath substitution theory" ("Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge," article "Sunday").
Carlstadt was one of the few men in the Reformation who observed the Sabbath and the festivals. With him, the Laws given by God to Moses were still binding. But his teachings were rejected by the leaders of the Protestant movements. Luther admitted in his book "Against the Celestial Prophets:" "Indeed, if Carlstadt were to write further about the Sabbath, Sunday would have to give way, and the Sabbath — that is to say, Saturday — must be kept holy."
From the beginning Protestants were not interested in obedience to God, or in the Gospel of the Kingdom. Exactly as the early Catholics, THEY WERE SEEKING TO CONVERT THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD TO THEIR RELIGIONS. The truth that was open to them passed through their fingers!
THIS IS WHY PROTESTANTS OBSERVE SUNDAY TODAY! They have voluntarily adopted the MARK of the Beast — the ROMAN EMPIRE'S national holiday!
But our nations — the English-speaking world — DO NOT LIKE STATE-AUTHORITY TO DICTATE in matters of religion. The "blue law" controversy is only a softening-up procedure to prepare the way for a late Gentile Church-State combine IN EUROPE to impose its will over all the western world. THEY WILL impose the MARK OF THE BEAST, not the day mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.
Thus it remains for the CHURCH OF GOD today to proclaim the final message. Only this Church — our Church — has remained steadfast through the centuries and has KEPT THE COMMANDMENTS OF JESUS!