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Satan Attacks God’s Law, Part 2
Claiming Authority to Change God's Law
In the early centuries of the Christian era, Satan succeeded
in greatly restricting access to the Scriptures. Now he could much more easily
succeed in the next phase of his deceptions.
Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to “intend to change
times and law.” Daniel 7:25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford
converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to
promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and
relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a
general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the
sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second
commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in
order to preserve the number.
The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still
further disregard of Heaven’s authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated
leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed
to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified
(Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the
heathen as “the venerable day of the sun.” This change was not at first
attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all
Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and, believing that His law
is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with
great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That
the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a
festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held
upon it; yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still
To prepare the way for the work which he designed to accomplish,
Satan had led the Jews, before the advent of Christ, to load down the Sabbath
with the most rigorous exactions, making its observance a burden. Now, taking
advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it to be regarded, he
cast contempt upon it as a Jewish institution. While Christians generally
continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to
show their hatred of Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and
In the early part of the fourth century the emperor Constantine
issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire.
. . . But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to
regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held the true
Sabbath as the holy of the Lord and observed it in obedience to the fourth
The archdeceiver had not completed his work. . . .
Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving churchmen
he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in
which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly
every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little
lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival
came finally to be honored as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was
pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.
The great apostate had succeeded in exalting himself “above all
that is called God or that is worshiped.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4. He had dared to
change the only precept of the divine law that unmistakably points all mankind
to the true and living God. In the fourth commandment, God is revealed as the
Creator of the heavens and the earth, and is thereby distinguished from all
false gods. It was as a memorial of the work of creation that the seventh day was
sanctified as a rest day for man. It was designed to keep the living God ever
before the minds of men as the source of being and the object of reverence and
worship. Satan strives to turn men from their allegiance to God, and from
rendering obedience to His law; therefore he directs his efforts especially
against that commandment which points to God as the Creator.
The Great Controversy, p. 51-54
Diligent Bible students have thus far failed to find any
command in Scripture that transfers the sacredness of the seventh-day Sabbath
to Sunday, first day of the week. However, despite the fact that one of the
founding principles of Protestantism was “the Bible and the Bible only,” few
Protestants today honor the Sabbath as the Lord has instructed in the Scriptures.
It is a fact generally admitted by Protestants that the
Scriptures give no authority for the change of the Sabbath. This is plainly
stated in publications issued by the American Tract Society and the American
Sunday School Union. One of these works acknowledges “the complete silence of
the New Testament so far as any explicit command for the Sabbath [Sunday, the
first day of the week] or definite rules for its observance are
concerned.”—George Elliott, The Abiding Sabbath, page 184.
Another says: “Up to the time of Christ’s death, no change had
been made in the day;” and, “so far as the record shows, they [the apostles]
did not . . . give any explicit command enjoining the abandonment of the
seventh-day Sabbath, and its observance on the first day of the week.”—A. E.
Waffle, The Lord’s Day, pages 186-188. . . .
The Roman Church has not relinquished her claim to supremacy;
and when the world and the Protestant churches accept a sabbath of her
creating, while they reject the Bible Sabbath, they virtually admit this
assumption. They may claim the authority of tradition and of the Fathers for
the change; but in so doing they ignore the very principle which separates them
from Rome—that “the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants.”
Romanists declare that “the observance of Sunday by the
Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of
the [Catholic] Church.”—Mgr. Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of
Today, page 213. The enforcement of Sundaykeeping on the part of Protestant
churches is an enforcement of the worship of the papacy—of the beast.
The Great Controversy, p. 447-448
This conflict regarding the ten commandments—the Sabbath
commandment in particular—will escalate to a crescendo at the end of time,
just before Jesus comes.
All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version,
including those originally quoted by Ellen White from the King James
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