7th Day Sabbath
The seventh day was sanctified by God in the beginning (Gen. 2:3), was kept by Israel and Gentiles to the end of the Bible, and was to be obeyed as a sign and perpetual covenant. Ecclesiastical history proves that early Christians kept Saturday as the Sabbath.
“16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Ex. 31)
“27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ… 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3)
The observance of Sunday as the Sabbath was by decree of the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine in 321 AD. He decreed the Christian religion to be the religion of the state to settle religious controversy; but, was never baptized until a short time before his death in 337 AD. He issued an edict on March 7, 321 AD, “Let all the judges and towns people, and the occupation of all trades rest ON THE VENERABLE DAY OF THE SUN: but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture: because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines: lest, the critical moment let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by heaven.” The Book of Facts, by H. M. Rouff, p. 542, noted, “The FIRST law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of Sunday is known to have been ordained, is the Edict of Constantine, A. D. 321.”
The saints in the days of Joseph were commanded to observe the seventh day Sabbath. They also kept Sunday as the Lord’s day because–like in the days of Jesus–it was more convenient to hold meetings. “Brethren in the Lord, good advice is like springs in the wilderness; you may drink at one and drink at another, and pure water always tastes agreeable. Never plan your business on SATURDAY SO THAT IT MIGHT INTERFERE WITH THE SOLEMN DUTIES OF THE SABBATH [caps mine], for the Lord will not hold you guiltless if you do. His sacred command is: OBSERVE THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY [caps mine]. The Lord is not well pleased with a disciple that does anything on that holy day that should be done on a laboring day. Nor should a disciple go to meeting one Sabbath here, and another there, let all that can, be strict to attend meetings in their own place, (and let those elders who are faithful, visit the several churches from time to time, instructing them in the knowledge of the truth and in the peaceable things of the kingdom,) that they may surround the sacrament table of the Lord, with a pure heart, as an earnest, that they are at peace with their brethren, and in favor with him whose still, small voice, whispers: Thy sins are forgiven. Neither should the children be allowed to slip off and play, rather than meet where they may be trained up in the way they should go to e saved. We are the children of God, and let us not put off his law. When a saint works on the Sabbath, the world can reply: So do we. When the saints travel to do business on the Sabbath, the world can reply: So do we. When the saints go from one meeting to another to see and be seen, the world can reply: So do we. When the children of the saints play on the Sabbath, the world can reply: So do ours. Brethren, watch, that you may enter into the Lord’s sacred rest.” (Evening and Morning Star, October, 1832, Vol. 1, No. 5)
When James J. Strang translated the Book of the Law of the Lord from ancient plates taken from those given to Moses, the people were commanded to keep the seventh day of the week. When the Book of the Law was translated, those following James J. Strang were once again bound by the original law. By God teaching “line upon line, and precept upon precept,” those–like Brigham Young–who did not follow James were left to observe, “the venerable day of the sun.” Only those who followed James J. Strang received the Book of the Law and the renewed commandment to keep the original Sabbath– the seventh day, Saturday!
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” (Book of the Law, p. 22) James J. Strang wrote in his notes, “1. The day of rest originated in the rest of God, when he ceased the work of creation, at the making of man, to have dominion over the earth.
“2. It was had in remembrance as an institution of God, before promulgated by his voice in Sinai; (Gen. ii, 2, 3. Ex. xvi, 23;) and there is no ground for believing that the sanctifying of the Sabbath, was not a law among the Patriarchs and the Antediluvians, because it is not mentioned in the scriptures; for from the time of Moses until that of Solomon, when it was unquestionably in force, it is nowhere mentioned.
“3. Throughout Christendom, with some slight exceptions, the first day, and not the seventh, is kept as a Sabbath. For this they have no warrant in the scriptures, and pretend to none. (Bucks Th. Dic. ‘Sabbath.’) The reason given for the change, is, that Christ raised from the dead the first day, and the attempt is to justify it by tradition, and the practice of the Church.
“4. But, evidently, the Church have no power to change or abrogate a commandment of God, who required us to keep the seventh day, not any other day in the seven.
“5. The early Christians did undoubtedly frequently meet on the first day for religious worship, precisely as the Saints do nowadays, in exclusively Christian communities; not because they regarded it as the Sabbath of God, but because on that day, being the regular day of heathen festivals, men would come together to hear them.
“6. Keeping the first day as a Sabbath, instead of the seventh, is one of the innovations forced upon Christianity by the Emperour Constantine, to make the change of national religion less difficult.
“7. The very language of this Commandment, seems to presage the propensity of man to change the Sabbath; remember the Sabbath day; and God, foreseeing what wicked men would do, has placed on his chosen a special injunction that they keep that day in all their generations for a perpetual covenant; (Ex. xxxi, 13-17;) and awful penalties are denounced against those who abolish it.
“8. The Sabbath is appointed for men in every station in life. The crime of exacting labour of children and servants on the Sabbath day, is a great offence unto God. But it is the Sabbath of the beast as well as of men, and to work beasts for our pleasure or profit, is an offence unto God.” (Ibid., pp. 22, 23)
The law of God on keeping the Sabbath was given for a thousand generations. “9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations…11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” (Deut. 7) Only under special Gentile dispensations were the people permitted to observe, for a short time, Sunday. James J. Strang was the only successor of Joseph Smith to abide in this law of God.