Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Sabbath

And He said unto them, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Mark 2:27, 28

The earth is spherical (Isa. 40:22), suspended in space (Job 26:7), divinely created to be inhabited (Isa. 45:18) and the seventh-day sabbath is a memorial of its creation (Gen. 2:1-3)

What does the Medieval Ethiopian Christian Church in Eastern Africa, the early Celtic Church in Northern Europe and the Nestorian Church of the East all have in common? They all kept the seventh-day sabbath, which was first given to Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:3), restored under the leadership of the prophet Moses (Ex. 16:23-26; 20:8-11; 31:14-17) and kept by the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16) and the early apostolic Church (Acts 13:42, 44).

A mural from 837/839 A.D. from the palace of al-Mukhtar in Samarra, Iraq showing a minister of the church of the East

Abba Gregorius, 16th century Ethiopian Bishop 

Celtic missionaries on the Book of Kells

Not much is written about these churches in history books. It is an area of study that is bypassed, highly overlooked or deliberately ignored by so-called historians and most people are totally unaware that the sabbath has been divinely  preserved throughout Europe, Asia and Africa and all Christendom from the early days of Pentecost, all the way down to our modern technological age.

When Papal controlled Europe was sinking lower and lower into superstition, a time period which has been titled the Dark Ages, churches that were not under her despotic control flourished and prospered in literature, science, the arts and in architecture and the majority of these churches (excluding the Waldenses of Northern Italy, the Albigenses of southern France and the Orthodox Serbian Church in the Balkans), kept the Biblical sabbath.

What is the significance of this study? Can an individual truly say they believe in Creation and not in evolution and not keep the sabbath? Is keeping the sabbath relevant or just legalistic? Why don't most Christians of today observe and acknowledge it? Can keeping the sabbath save you? No. Only by Grace through faith in Christ can (Eph. 2:8, 9), but God who does not change (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8), still requires obedience to every part of His word, and as we are witnessing the closing scenes of prophetic history, God has instructed His people to back to the true apostolic faith  and to remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers has set up. We shall prove this throughout this study.

Archibald Henry Sayce (1846-1933), D.D., Professor of Assyriology in the University of Oxford from 1891 to 1919, member of the Old Testament Revision Committee
'The Sabbath-rest was a Babylonian, as well as a Hebrew institution.  Its origin went back to pre-Semitic days, and the very name, Sabbath, by which it was known in Hebrew, was of Babylonian origin.  In the cuneiform tablets the Sabattu is described as "a day of rest for the soul," and despite the fact that the word was of genuinely Semitic origin, it was derived by the Assyrian scribes from two Sumerian or pre-Semitic words, sa and bat, which meant respectively "heart" and "ceasing."  The Sabbath was also known, at all events in Accadian times, as a "dies nefatus," a day on which certain work was forbidden to be done, and an old list of Babylonian festivals and fast-days tells us that on the seventh, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days of each month the Sabbath-rest had to be observed.' (1)

In the beginning of earth' history, God instituted and set apart a day for mankind to acknowledge Him as the one and only supreme Creator of this world. It is the only day in the week in the Holy Scriptures that has been given a specific name, the 'sabbath', and it is a memorial of the sixth-day creation, where God ceased and was refreshed on the seventh day (Ex. 31:17), not because He was tired (Isa. 40:28) as many people have thought, but for an example to His creation to cease from their manuel labour on that day and give the Lord our God complete reverence. What exactly is creation? Let us look at a scientific approach to creation, so we can understand why the seventh-day sabbath was instituted.

Genesis 1:1-5
'On day 1 the Earth was created from nothing as a formless mass covered by water. Then non-solar light was created and time separated into night and day. The primeval materials were moulded into physical and chemical forms suitable for habitation and use by man and other forms of life. Archeozoic rocks originated on this day. (2)
'The exact adjustment of the solid parts of our globe to the nature and necessities of the beings which inhabit it is therefore an instance and an evidence of wisdom.' (3)

Genesis 2:6-8
On Day 2 the atmosphere was formed from the materials of Day 1, air being separated from water. There must have been much warm water vapour possibly due to a different land and sea distribution and a non-solar source of heat and light. Water was divided into two portions: atmospheric and oceanic. This second day is the only one which God does not have the statement 'God saw that it was good', presumably because nothing new had been created; there had only been a rearrangement. (4)  
'The atmosphere is one of the most essential appendages to the globe we inhabit, and exhibits a most striking scene of Divine skill and omnipotence. The term atmosphere is applied to the whole mass of fluids, consisting of air, vapours, electric fluid, and other matters, which surround the earth to a certain height. 
It is the vehicle of smells, by which we become acquainted with the qualities of the food which is set before us, and learn to avoid those places which are damp, unwholesome and dangerous. It is the medium of sounds, by means of which knowledge is conveyed to our minds. So that the air may be considered as the conveyor of the thoughts of mankind, which are the cement of society. It transmits to our ears all the harmonies of music, and expresses every passion of the soul. It produces the blue colour of the sky, and is the cause of the morning and the evening twilight, by it's property of bending the rays of light and reflecting them in all directions. It forms an essential requisite for carrying on all the processes of the vegetable kingdom, and serves for the production of clouds, rain, and dew, which nourish and fertilize the earth. In short, it would be impossible to enumerate all the advantages we derive from this noble appendage to our world.
Water has been ascertained to be a compound body, formed by the union  of two different kinds of air - oxygen and hydrogen. It supplies a necessary beverage to man, and to all the animals that people the earth and the air. It forms a solvent for a great variety of solid bodies; it is the element in which an infinitude of organized beings pass their existence; it acts an important part in conveying life and nourishment to all the tribes of the vegetable kingdom, and gives salubrity to the atmospheric regions.' (5)

Genesis 1:9-13
'Day 3 saw the emergence of land from sea and the creation of vegetation with soil and an appearance of age. It must also have ensured the availability of terrestrial waters. These activities would have been accompanied by the formation of the Proterozoic rocks which always rest on Archeozoic. This left the earth in it's primitive state ready for animals and human occupation.' (6)
'Nothing can exceed the variety of the vegetable kingdom, which pervades all climates, and almost every portion of the dry land, and of the bed of the ocean.
Now every one of these species of plants differs from another in its size, structure, form, flowers, leaves, fruits, mode of propagation, colour, medicinal virtues, nutritious qualities, internal vessels, and the odour it exhales. (7)

Genesis 1:14-19
'Day 4 brought the Sun, Moon, and stars which started plant photosynthesis and root growth. This must have included the provision that light from distant stars was already visible on Earth.' (8)
'Light is that ethereal matter, distributed throughout the immensity of the universe, by which objects are rendered perceptible by our visible organs. It is by the agency of this mysterious substance that we become acquainted with the beauties and sublimities of creation, and the wonderful operations of its almighty Author. It unfolds to our view the sublime spectacle of the universe. It gives animation, beauty, and sublimity to every surrounding scene. It is universal in its movements and in its influence.
In our system the sun is the grand depository of light, from which luminary it diffused itself over every region of our globe to cheer and animate all it's inhabitants both sentient and intellectual. (9)

Genesis 1:20-31
'Day 5 and 6 saw the creation of the animal kingdom and animals.' (10) 

So in a summary, the sabbath is the setting aside of the seventh day of the week to give complete worship to God as our Creator and what He did in those six days, when He gave us our five senses so we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell; He made and gave us the sun on the fourth day which produces photosynthesis and gives us our vitamin d; the laws of gravity, gases, water, air, the laws of physics, chemistry, mineralogy; plants that give us our food and our oxygen on the third day and the insects to pollinate the plants on the fifth day; the laws of biology, love, the institution of marriage and the laws of sex, reproduction and a love a man has for his wife and vice versa.

Even Christians who did not keep the seventh-day sabbath, acknowledged that Christians should still at least acknowledge it, in honour of our Creator, as an English Bible scholar  commentated on.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Presbyterian minister, Bible commentator

'At the end of the first six days God ceased from all works of creation.
The sabbath day is a blessed day, for God blessed it, and that which he blesses is blessed indeed. God has put an honour upon it, has appointed us, on that day, to bless him, and has promised, on that day, to meet us and bless us. The sabbath day is a holy day, for God has sanctified it. He has separated and distinguished it from the rest of the days of the week, and he has consecrated it and set it apart to himself and his own service and honour. Though it is commonly taken for granted that the Christian sabbath we observe, reckoning from the creation, is not the seventh but the first day of the week, yet being a seventh day, and we in it, celebrating the rest of God the Son, and the finishing of the work of our redemption, we may and ought to act faith upon this original institution of the sabbath day, and to commemorate the work of creation, to the honour of the great Creator, who is therefore worthy to receive, on that day, blessing, and honour, and praise, from all religious assemblies.' (11)

Though the Holy Scriptures clearly testifies of the holy sacred seventh-day sabbath, that later became a part of the ten-commandment law (Ex. 20:8-11), many Christians will cling onto a Papal tradition (Sunday) rather than to the Word of God, even though Jesus and the early church kept the seventh-day sabbath and didn't give anyone divine instruction to observe another day.  Why is this? Before we review the churches that kept it real throughout Christendom, let us observe a number of misunderstood passages of the Holy Scriptures that Christians misquote and hold onto.

Many verses and passages of the writings of the apostle Paul are misunderstood by Christians and are attacked by Jews, Muslims and even feminists.  We are divinely instructed to read Paul' writings with extra care (II Pet. 3:15, 16). Only those who spend time in the word of God will understand them and will be able to compare 'spiritual things with spiritual' (I Cor. 2:13), when, by faith, they allow their minds to be enlightened by heaven.  

The Holy Scriptures teaches us that all those who have died in the Lord and those who continue to strive for eternity, are and will be saved by grace, through faith (Eph.2:8; Heb. 11), which is the emphasis of New Testament teachings, justification by faith and sanctification by faith. 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Acts 2618

The emphasis of the Pauline letters is 'righteousness by faith' and if we are then saved by grace through faith, what then is their the need of the ten-commandment law? Is it relevant or is it just an archaic relic for unenlightened Judaisers? The Holy Scriptures teaches that righteousness by faith and the ten-commandment Mosaic law are inseparable.

... for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 3:20, 28, 31

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Revelation 14:12

If Jesus, Paul and the rest of the Holy Scriptures are all compatible, why are their so many divisions among professed Christians if the Holy Scriptures is clear?  Here is one of the reasons Christians believe the seventh-day Sabbath is done away with and nailed to the cross, it is a very misunderstood text.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
Colossians 2:14

What did Jesus nail to the cross? He nailed the handwriting of ordinances.  What then is an ordinance?

And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, this is the ordinance of the Passover...
Exodus 12:43

And the Lord said unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.  Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.  These are the feasts of the LORD, even Holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.  In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover.
Leviticus 23:1-5

In Exodus and Leviticus the word 'ordinance' and 'feasts' are used interchangeably to describe the same festival of the Passover.  In Leviticus 23:3, the Sabbath is not categorised as one of the feasts, but a separate custom altogether (Luke 4:16), but in the following verses the feasts are mentioned, where the Passover is the first and the others are mentioned throughout the rest of the chapter.  Here is a very misunderstood text.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come.
Colossians 2:16, 17

It is always important to understand the context of a passage and always read the preceding and succeeding verses. How can this verse be explained, solely using the Bible and not tradition as our guide?  These verses in Colossians are describing some of the feasts in Leviticus 23 that were called 'a sabbath', subjective (Lev. 23:24, 32), and not the seventh-day sabbath, or 'the sabbath', definitive (Lev. 23:3) and they will be done away with as one of the prophets foretold.

I will cause all her mirths to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and her solemn feasts.
Hosea 2:11

The feast days that Hosea was talking about were called 'sabbaths'. The blowing of trumpets to usher in the day of atonement was called a sabbath (Lev. 23:4), the day of atonement was called a sabbath (Lev. 23:32) and the feast of tabernacles was also called a sabbath (Lev. 23:34-39) and they consisted of burnt offerings, meat offerings and drink offerings (Lev. 23:37) and they all took place with the blowing of a trumpet(s) at the beginning of the month which the Holy Scriptures calls the new moon.

Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
Psalm 81:3

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn feast days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifice of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Numbers 10:10

So the sabbath is a memorial of the past, the word 'remember' in Exodus 20:8 comes from the Hebrew word zakar that means to mark and the feasts/ordinances that Jesus nailed to the cross are a shadow of greater things to come.

The lambs killed in the Passover symbolized Christ (I Cor. 5:7; Heb. 10:4), the feast of tabernacles, which like the Passover was a celebration of the children of Israel' victory over the Egyptians, was celebrated with 'palm trees' and when Christ' saints get the victory over the mark of the beast and stand on the sea of glass, they will all celebrate it with 'palms in their hands' (Rev. 7:9). The day of atonement where no man, except the High priest was able to enter the temple (Lev. 16:17; Rev. 15:8) and those who did not repent were cut off (Lev. 23:29; Rev. 22:11) is taking place right now.

Another misunderstood Pauline passage that is taken way out of context, is when Paul was speaking to the newly converted Gentiles in Rome.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Romans 14:5, 6

Is it talking about the sabbath. Not at all.  The Jewish converts to Christ who saw the Gentiles grafted into the fold still wanted to impose the now dead and defunct ceremonies or ordinances that were nailed to the cross and that' why the first church counsel took place, so it could deal with those issues. Matthew Henry makes a commentary on this text.

'Those who thought themselves still under some kind of obligation to the ceremonial law esteemed one day above another - kept up a respect to the times of the passover, pentecost, new moons, and feast of tabernacles, thought those days better than other days, and solemnized them accordingly with particular observances, binding themselves to some religious rest and exercise on those days. Those who knew that all these things were abolished and done away by Christ's coming esteemed every day alike.' (12)
- Matthew Henry -

As these passages and their right interpretations have been cleared up, let us give a quick synopsis and look at the churches across Europe, Africa Asia that kept the seventh-day sabbath.

John Laurence von Mosheim (1693-1755), the first church historian to advocate the treatment of original sources from an objective and critical standpoint, founded the pragmatic school of church historians
"What is commonly called the Oriental church is dispersed over Europe, Asia and Africa.  The Monophysites are divided into those of Asia, and Africa.' (13)

Edward Gibbon (1727-1794), British historian
'The Syriac and the Coptic, the Armenian and the Ethiopic, are consecrated in the service of their respective churches; and their theology is enriched by domestic versions both of the scriptures and of the most popular fathers. The Nestorians and Monophysites reject the spiritual supremacy of Rome. The Persian church had been founded by the missionaries of Syria; and they revered the apostolic faith ... the law of celibacy, so forcibly recommended to the Greeks and Latins, was disregarded by the Persian clergy.' (14)

There is not enough space to document the Christians in each century that have kept the seventh-day sabbath so this study will be reduced and just look at a number of churches in three continents. The German Lutheran theologian Johann Lorenz von Mosheim and English humanist historian Edward Gibbon are two of the best scholars in this area, where they record the histories of the churches that dwelt in Syria, Armenia, Ethiopia, Sudan and throughout the whole of Asia, who are called Nestorians and Monophysites (Mono means 'one' and physite means 'nature').


The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you; and so doth Marcus my son.
I Peter 5:13

Archbishop John Joseph, Prince of Nouri,  a Chaldean Nesorian priest, titled the Grand-archdeacon of Babylon (top left) looks no different to his ancient forbears that once ruled the Assyrian plains in Iraq (background)

"The Nestorians eat no pork and keep the sabbath.  They believe neither in auricular confession nor purgatory." (15)

The gospel is from heaven, but started to be preached in the east, at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8), where it first penetrated itself throughout the Orient, the Middle East, before it spread throughout the uttermost parts of the earth.  One of the first regions that embraced the light of the gospel, was a region which was the birth of and the home of pagan idolatry, Babylon (Gen. 10:8-12; 11:1-9; Jer. 51:7), which we would today call Iraq.  That church was known as the Chaldean or Assyrian Christian community and more often than not, were called the Nestorians from the fourth century onwards. Unlike other churches who sunk into the superstitious rituals of Papal Rome, they stuck to the apostolic tradition, by marrying their priests, having no graven images, didn't eat pork, nor believed in purgatory or the confessional booth and kept the seventh-day sabbath. They flourished throughout the Near East and it was through them that the Arab world under Islam, got their culture and their fine artwork as a famous British archaeologist observed in his personal interactions with that church while excavating the ruins of ancient Babylon.

Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894), British Assyriologist
  • The language of the Chaldeans is a Shemitic dialect allied to the Hebrew, the Arabic, and the Syriac, and still bears the name of Chaldee.  Most of their church books are written in Syriac, which, like the Latin in the West, became the sacred language in the greater part of the East.
  • On the sabbath no Chaldean performs a journey, or does any work. Their feasts and fast days, commence at sunset, and terminate at sunset the following day.
  • The Patriarch still styles himself, in his letters, and in official documents, "the Patriarch of the Chaldeans, or of the Christians of the East
  • The clergy, including the Archdeacon, are allowed to marry.
  • In the rejection of Transubstantiation, they agree with the Reformed Church
  • "We  believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of all things, which are visible and invisble
  • "And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of his Father before all worlds: who was not created: the true God of the true God; of the same substance with his father, by whose hands the worlds were made, and all things were created
  • "And we believe in one Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeded from the Father - the Spirit that giveth light.
  • "We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, and the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
  • They deny the doctrine of purgatory
  • The refusal of the title of "Mother of God" to the Virgin, which the Chaldeans still reject.' (16)
'The Chaldean or Nestorian tribes ... the descendants of those who had formerly possessed the land ... had escaped the devastating sword of the Persians, of the Greeks, and of the Romans. They still spoke the language of their ancestors, and still retained the name of their race. The doctrine of Christianity had early penetrated into the Assyrian provinces.
At the time of the Arab invasion, the learning of the East was still chiefly to be found among the Chaldeans. Their knowledge and their skill gained them favour in the eyes of the Caliphs, and they became their treasurers, their scribes, and their physicians. (17)

An ancient Syriac Bible, from the Church in the East. It was known as the Peshitta 'simple' Bible and was written in the Estrangla script.

The US-led invasion of Iraq has led to a mass exodus of Assyrian Christians from Iraq into adjacent countries fleeing from the wrath of Islamic fanatics. They are now one of the highest number of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs). These Muslims in Iraq would not have had a culture if it had not been for the Assyrian Christians

The Islamic world praise themselves for achieving high levels of science, astronomy and mathematics during the Dark Ages when Papal Europe was in deep superstition, but what is overlooked is that it was the Churches of the East who were the one' that introduced Greek philosophical, medical and scientific texts to the Muslims for them to acquire that knowledge. 
 'The Arabs, a wild and uncultivated people, probably derived their first notions of architecture on the conquest of the Persian provinces. The architect, or the traveller, interested in the history of that graceful and highly original branch of art, which attained its full perfection under the Arab rulers of Egypt and Spain, should extend his journey to the remains of ancient Armenian cities, far from high roads and mostly unexplored. He would then trace how the architecture, deriving its name from Byzantium ... with the elaborate decoration, the varied outline, and tasteful colouring of Persia had produced the style termed Saracenic, Arabic, and Moresque.' (18)

This sixth century AD church and its dome like architecture is what produced the Arabic

The Arabic/Islamic culture borrowed the dome shaped architectural style from the churches in the East

Zoroastrian temple in Persia with the dome like style

An Islamic temple whose design was the result of the merging of early Persian and Christian art that produced the Arab/Islamic culture.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey was a church that was converted into a mosque after the Arab invasion and is now a museum, you can clearly see that Muslims borrowed that arts and culture from the Nestorians and Byzantine churches

How far did the Nestorian influence spread throughout the East? When you walk into a library and pick up any of the books which gives a history of Christianity, the churches of the East are ignored completely. The majority of the historians only mention Europe and ignore the other churches. That is a deliberate distortion and fabrication of the past and one cannot bypass this extremely important episode of history. The churches of the East were so powerful in their missionary endeavours that not only was the Arab/Islamic culture affected, but the cultures throughout the East, where some Buddhist manuscripts discovered in China that were written in Syriac, many individuals in Genghis Khan' Mongolian empire were converted and the chief peoples among the Turks, the Kerait since 1009 were Christians, who were converted by the Nestorian bishop of Merv in Central Asia. Edward Gibbon documents how vast their influence was.    

'In the sixth century, according to the report of a Nestorian traveller, Christianity was successfully preached to the Bactrians, the Huns, the Persians, the Indians, the Persarmenians, the Medes, and the Elamites. In their progress by sea and land the Nestorians entered China by the port of Canton and the northern residence of Sigan. Under the reign of the Caliphs the Nestorian church was diffused from China to Jerusalem and Cyprus; and their numbers, with those of the Jacobites, were computed to surpass the Greek and Latin communities.' (19)

Emperor T'ai-tsung (599-649) of China, ruled the Tang Dynasty which historians have observed as one of the highest points in Chinese civilization. He welcomed a Persian Christian missionary into his empire called A-lo-pen who greatly enriched the Chinese Empire with the gospel. 

A memorial of the presence of the Nestorians is this artefact in China known as the Nestorian Stele or Monument, that was erected in 781 AD and written in both Chinese and Syriac, the language of Jesus

A pagoda built by the Nestorians in 650 A.D. in China

A mural from a Christian building in China dated to the 7th/8th century A.D. depicting Nestorian Uighur/Chinese Christians in worship.

Paul Pelliot (1878-1945), a French Sinologist translating one of the thousands of books and manuscripts that are in the library of the Magoa Caves better known as The Monastery of the Thousand Buddhas in China  

A number of manuscripts discovered in the Magoa Caves that are written in Syriac. Some of the Buddhist texts are written in Soghdian, an alphabet derived from the Syrian which shows the influence the Nestorian culture had in Asia.

13th century Turkic princess Doqus Khatun (seated in centre on right) was a Nestorian Christian who married Hulagu Khan, the Mongol grandson of Emperor Genghis Khan

Syriac Bible with the Mongol Emperor and his Turkic queen on the front

Nestorian artefacts have been discovered all over Asia from Kyrgystan in Central Asia and even in Russia which shows the missionary out reach of this church.

Timur, also known as Tamerlane (1336-1405) was a brutal Turkic/Mogul ruler responsible for the decimation of the Church in the east. His fanaticism led to the slaughter of thousands of Christians in Central Asia where he destroyed their churches and their seminaries

From the history collated together, we see that the Church in the East that spread throughout the whole of the Orient (Asia) were sabbath Christians who had a very high culture. Though a lot of their history has been lost and it took the 2003 US-led Iraqi invasion for people to acknowledge that there were still primitive Christians left in the East, that were residing a lot longer than the Arabs in Iraq, their history has been recorded in heaven.


From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
Zephaniah 3:10

13th century Emperor of Ethiopia, Yekuno Amlak (right)

'On the sabbath hunting, fishing and traveling were forbidden and no work was done in the fields.  Ethiopian Christians detest smoking ... abstinence from pork, hare and non-scaly fish.' (20)

Africa has been labelled the dark continent by Western colonialists and this has effected how people have viewed this large continent, where modern historians are incapable of giving it a fairly balanced history. Africa was no pagan than Europe or Asia, when the gospel started to grow at Pentecost, but from reading the Holy Scriptures, we understand that many of the books of the Old Testament had penetrated into the ancient Meroitic city of the Sudan, where the Ethiopian eunuch, an emissary of 'Candace queen of the Ethiopians' was reading the book of Isaiah and after a Bible study with 'Philip the evangelist', he became the first recorded Gentile convert to Christ after the death of the deacon Stephen (Act 8:27-39).

'The African Monophysites are subject to the patriarch of Alexandria, who resides at Cairo; and are divisible into the Copts and the Abyssinians. The Copts are those Christians who inhabit Egypt, Nubia, and the adjacent regions.' (21)
- John Laurence von Mosheim -

Today the huge continent known today as Africa, was once called in ancient times, the land of Kush by the Hebrews, after Noah' grandson (Gen. 10:6) and Ethiopia (burnt face) by the ancient Greeks which name has influenced the translators of the Authorised (King James) version of the Bible, when describing black Africans and the terrain they inhabit. The country within that continent  in the horn of Africa, once known as Abyssinia (an Arabic name) is now called Ethiopia, a name the native population prefer to be titled, as it connects them to the Eunuch in the book of Acts. For many years this Christian kingdom lived in obscurity from the outside world as historian Edward Gibbon noted.

"Encompassed on all sides by their religion, the Ethiopians slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world, by whom they were forgotten." (22)
- Edward Gibbon - 

A British academic, Richard Pankhurst, Professor at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa and son of former suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, who was a close friend of Emperor Haile Sellassie I (1892-1975), wrote a history of the Ethiopian culture and documented how the Portuguese, led by the shock troops and storm troopers of Rome, the militia priesthood of the Papacy, the Jesuits, tried to impose their own brand of Christianity (Popery) upon the Orthodox Monophysite Christians of Ethiopia by influencing two of their 17th century Emperors to abolish the seventh-day sabbath.

A painting showing the birth of the Society of Jesus, who the Protestants titled the Jesuits, a name they early adopted. Ignatius de Loyola a former Spanish soldier turned priest, kneels before Pope Paul III in 1540 to establish this priesthood that would cause havoc around Europe and the rest of the world. Standing on the far left is Piedro the Ethiopian monk.

'Za Dengel ... summoned to his aid the leader of the Jesuits, Pero Pais, a Spaniard ... and proceeded to issue a proclamation forbidding the age-old Ethiopian Orthodox observance of a Saturday Sabbath.
Susneyos's ... in March 1622, officially took Communion from Pais, and by so doing in effect officially established Roman Catholicism as the country's state religion.
Susneyo's pro-Catholic policy ... had incurred the wrath of his people, and of the clergy, in vain.
Susneyos, thus goaded, launched a fierce attack on many long-established Ethiopian practices. Traditional fasts and festivals were abandoned, and priests re-ordained. The old Coptic-Ethiopian calendar was abolished, and replaced by the Gregorian, which had superseded the Julian in Europe half a century earlier. Circumcision was forbidden. People were encouraged to eat hitherto forbidden food, notably pork and rabbit, and a number of pig farms were established. Several important Orthodox church and monastic lands were transferred to the Jesuits. Many persecuted and dispossessed priests and monks fled the capital for the provinces.
 Rebellions broke out almost all over the country, in Tegray, Amhara, Bagemder, Shawa, and above all Lasta and Angot. Over 8,000 peasant warriors were reportedly killed on a single day.
Shocked by the massacre, and by his advisers' words, the weary emperor asked his son Fasiladas, known for short as Fasil, to summon a council of state to consider the restoration of the old faith. The assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal. Susneyos accordingly issued a final decree, on 25 June 1632, re-establishing the Orthodox faith.' (23)

An emblem of the Portuguese presence left in Ethiopia.  The Jesuits left a deep resentment for Catholicism for hundreds of years.  

The Churches in Lalibela are carved out of solid rock

'Lalibela, was particularly noted for his piety. He founded and endowed many churches and monasteries, especially in the southern part of the kingdom, and to him are attributed the most striking monuments of medieval Abyssinia, the rock-hewn churches of Roha, or, as it has been called since his day, Lalibala. These amazing monuments, of which there are ten, are not mere caverns. Solid blocks of rock have been disengaged from the surrounding plateau by hewing great trenches around them; these blocks have been shaped externally like buildings and hollowed out within. The inspiration of these extraordinary churches is unknown. They are said by popular tradition to have been executed by Coptic masons. Their architectural detail shows many traces of Arab and Byzantine influence.' (24)

The first literature the Armenian population had, was a copy of the Holy Scriptures and their alphabetic script as many scholars have observed was taken from the Ethiopian, which showed how vast the Ethiopian churches influence had spread.

'During the first six centuries of its existence the indigenous culture of the Abyssinian kingdom was steadily and ousting the imported culture of Greece. In the fourth century Ge'ez was supplanting Greek as an official language, and the knowledge of Greek was probably declining.
The liturgy and the scriptures were first translated into Ge'ez in the latter part of the fifth century. The translators were a group of holy men celebrated in Abyssinian legend as the Nine Saints.  They seem to have been learned monks who migrated from Syria. The Ge'ez version of the New Testament is not, as might been expected, based on the Alexandrian text, but on that of Antioch.' (25)

Edward Gibbon called the Jesuits the 'hyenas of the West' when describing their horrific ethnic cleansing programme on the native Ethiopian population. The Jesuits attempted to purge out the divine custom of the sabbath keeping Monophysite Church of Ethiopia and attempted to supplant it with Sunday worship, but the people were not going to tolerate it and they made sure that they preserved the seventh-day sabbath of creation, where they kept it longer than any other Christian community in Christendom, even up till the 19th century. The Ethiopians were very resistant to the evils of Popery and after the Jesuits were expelled, anti-Catholicism sunk deep which made them very suspicious whenever a European face entered their Empire.


And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
Isaiah 66:19

'The Scots had perhaps kept up the traditional usage of the ancient Irish Church which observed Saturday instead of Sunday as the Day of Rest.' (26)

When Paul wrote his letter to the churches of Corinth, Thessalonica, Rome, Philipi, and Ephesus, he was addressing Europeans that dwelt in the Mediterranean, in southern Europe, but when he wrote to the  Galatians, he was addressing a Northern European people who migrated, settled and dwelt and inhabited a part of Asia Minor, the Gauls, called the Galli by the Romans, who were also known as the Celts.  Before the superstitions of Popery swamped and engulfed the British Isles, there was already a church existing there who set up their base in Ireland and Scotland. The seed of the Galatian church had penetrated into Northern Europe and among the most loyal, pious and obedient adherents of Christ could be found among the sabbath-keeping Celtic Christians of Ireland, Scotland and England who preserved civilisation when the rest of Western Europe were sinking deeper and deeper into godless Papal superstition. 

Rev. James Aitken Wylie (1808-1890), Scottish Protestant historian
"Britain does not owe its conversion to the Pope. In truth, the churches of Britain are more ancient than the Papal Church. In A.D.190, Tertullian speaks of "divers peoples of Gaul, and those parts of Britain which are inaccessible by the Romans, having been subdued by Christ." In Diocletian's persecution Britain had its martyrs." (27)

The Celtic Church that first flourished in Ireland, was founded by an Englishman, better known as Patrick. Unbeknownst to most of the Irish who flood the cities of London and New York every year for the  St. Patricks Day celebrations, their revered figure, Patrick, was neither Irish, and definitely not Catholic.

The man born in 385 A.D. was named by his parents at birth Maewyn Succat. At his baptism he changed his name to the Celtic/Gaelic Patricius, which we know today as Patrick which means 'nobleman'. This young man who was the son of a deacon who was kidnapped by Irish pirates as a young man, while a captive, he had a deep Damascus road experience, where he was converted to Christ and in a summary, he became the missionary to Ireland. How vast was his influence during and after his death?

Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné (1794-1892) Swiss Protestant historian
"In one of the churches formed by Succat's preaching, there arose about two centuries after him a pious man named Columba, son of Feidlimyd, the son of Fergus. Columba landed near the barren rocks of Mull, to the south of the basaltic caverns of Staffa, and fixed his abode in a small island, afterwards known as Iona or Icolmkill, "the island of Columba's cell."
The sages of Iona knew nothing of transubstantiation or of the withdrawal of the cup in the Lord's Supper, or of auricular confession, or of prayers to the dead, or tapers, or incense.
Iona, governed by a simple elder, had become a missionary college. The missionary fire, which Columba had kindled in a solitary island, soon spread over Great Britain.
The missionary bishops of British accordingly set forth and traversed the Low Countries, Gaul, Switzerland, Germany, and even Italy. The free church of the Scots and Britons did more for the conversion of central Europe than the half-enslaved church of the Romans. These missionaries were not haughty and insolent like the priests of Italy; but supported themselves by the work of their hands. Columbanus (whom we must not confound with Columba) "feeling in his heart the burning of the fire which the Lord had kindled upon the earth," quitter Bangor about 590 with twelve other missionaries, and carried the gospel to the Burgundians, Franks, and Swiss. Thus was Britain faithful in planting the standard of Christ in the heart of Europe."

The watertight beehive huts of the Celtic missionaries

Though this church was powerful in its missionary endeavours, they also had a high level of culture and artwork which has been overlooked by historians.  They're high level of civilisation was to such a high standard.

The Celtic sabbath-keeping Christians had seventy different forms of ancient Celtic script by the name of Ogam that means "grooved writing" that was written on vellum and preserved in the Book of Ballymote (above)

The beautiful artwork of the ancient Celtic sabbath keeping Church

'Lord Kenneth Clark has depicted the monks of Ireland in the dark ages as the repository of learning while Europe lay shattered by the barbarian invaders. In their stone cells and remote islet hermitages these devoted servants of God somehow contrived to keep the oil burning in the few fragile lamps that survived the collapse of the Roman Empire. For four centuries they alone preserved the learning of the ancients. Later, as petty kingdoms were replaced by more stable institutions of government, the monks emerged to establish more splendid houses of the Church, until by the ninth century and the onset of the middle ages a steady stream of manuscripts was generated to fill the libraries for those bishops who cared for learning or had the wealth to commission fair copies of ancient works for their own delight.
Soon from monasteries of Ireland and the dusty shelves of Trinity College, Dublin, came forth a stream of hitherto almost unknown manuscripts and books, decorated in a lavish and most beautiful Romanesque variant of the so-called Gothic lettering, inlaid with jewels, bound in gold, the most beautiful books the world had ever seen - and all of them composed in either the Old Irish or the Latin tongue or both.' (29)

This church had preserved civilization in Europe according to those who have investigated this Northern European culture, but what is also absolutely fascinating is that this church kept the seventh-day sabbath of creation and one of their most zealous missionaries, Irishman Columba, also known as Colum Cille, who set up the missionary school in Iona, Scotland was a keeper of the seventh-day sabbath as a Celtic historian observed.

Columba (521-597 AD), Irish sabbath Christian missionary to Scotland

Iona Abbey in Scotland, one of the oldest religious centres in Europe

'In his Life of Columba, Adamman tells us that the Saint of Hy said to his servant Diormet, "This day in the Holy Scriptures is called the Sabbath, which means rest.  And this day is indeed a Sabbath to me, for it is the last day of my present labouring life, and on it I rest after the fatigues of my labours.' (30)

This sabbath keeping church that spread throughout Europe was eventually driven into obscurity by Queen Margaret of Scotland in the 11th century which shows how long the sabbath was kept in Britain, but the Sabbath was to make a small comeback in England, where it spread across the Atlantic to a land that was an extension of Europe, the United States.

During the 16th century Protestant Reformation, there was a desire for a restoration of the Apostolic faith and to rid Popery out of the heart of Europe. The Papal church lost half of Europe and all its wealth, where sovereign states seceded from Papal control and Northern Europe which was under bondage was now free.  It did not deal with all the Papal errors and as much as many professed to be free from Rome many superstitions still lurked (and still do) within these reformed churches and unbeknownst to most people, the Reformation has never ended as one historian so perfectly put it.

'The Reformation is not completed; it's work as yet is but half-accomplished. Completed the Reformation never will be till it ... has laid prostrate every tyrannical throne, rooted out every idolatrous Church, razed every dungeon, broken every fetter, emancipated every nation and tribe that dwell beneath heaven's cope, and assembled them all in one ransomed and glorious throng before the throne of the Lamb.' (31)
- Rev. James Aitken Wylie -

Dr. Peter Chamberlen (1601-1683), was a medical doctor and royal physician to the Stuarts, King James I, King Charles I and King Charles II was a sabbath keeping Seventh-day Baptist

The Chamberlen family who were French Protestant Huguenot exiles, were physicians by profession that introduced the modern usage of the Obstetrical Forceps that was used for delivering babies

When England was beginning to become the champion of the seas overstepping Portugal and Spain in navigating the oceans, there arose a man within that empire that was to have a high influence in the Royal courts of the Stuart household in 17th century Britain. When many different disputes were being held in Britain between the Episcopalians, Presbyterians and the Puritans on how the established church of England should be organized, a church which is known as the Seventh-Day Baptists was formed, restoring the ancient seventh-day sabbath of creation that the ancient Celtic Church of the British isles once kept. Their history is difficult to trace, but if the dusty archives of time are investigated you will unearth many a lost treasure.

'Dr Peter Chamberlen (1601-1683), physician, projector, and entrepeneur ... was a scion of the distinguished Huguenot family which held the secret of the obstetrical forceps, the source of their professional success and economic prosperity.
Chamberlen took his MD at Padua in 1619, and was afterwards incorporated at Oxford and Cambridge.
Chamberlen seems to have known Cromwell personally ...
The records of the church and more correspondence concerning its leaders have been preserved, and show very clearly Chamberlen's religious evolution and his final emergence as a Seventh-Day Sabbatarian.' (32)

An epitaph on the grave of Dr. Peter Chamberlen in Woodham Mortimer in Essex, England. It records how he was well travelled, linguistic and kept the seventh-day sabbath. It reads:

The laid Peter Peter Chamberlen took ye
degree of Doctor in Physick in seve
ral Univerisities both at home & abroad
and lived such above three score years
being Physician in Ordinary to three
Kings & Queens of England: viz. King
James & Queen Anne, King Charles ye
first & Queen Mary; King Charles ye second
& Queen Katherine & also to some for-
eigne Princes; having traveled most
partes of Europe, & speaking most of
the Languages.
As for his Religion was a Christian kee-
ping ye Commandments of God, & faith
of Jesus, beng baptized about y year
1648 & keeping y 7 day for y saboth
above 32 years.
To tell his learning and his life to men
Enough is said by here lyes Chamberlen.

When the Mayflower ship and its Puritan community left England in 1620 to set up a Protestant enclave in the New World, a string of other Protestants followed, which included the Seventh-day Baptists

The Seventh-Day Baptists were one of a few sabbath-keeping denominations that dwelt in the New World, the United States and their sabbath truths were to be passed onto another church who was to expand the seventh-day sabbath truth all across the world.

Rachel (Harris) Oakes Preston (1801-1868), a Seventh-day Baptist who encouraged a group of Adventists to keep the seventh-day sabbath

Frederick Wheeler (1811-1910), a former Millerite and pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, after a Bible study by Rachel Preston Oakes, he embraced the Seventh-day Sabbath of creation

Joseph Bates (1792-1872), a former sea captain and abolitionist, became know as the "apostle of the sabbath" after reading a tract and then sharing it with other Adventists who were not yet exposed to the sabbath.

'Many Seventh-Day Baptists were drawn to consider the distinct possibility that the literal observance of the Ten Commandments and the Second Coming of Christ might be imminently related. Chief among them was Rachel Harris Oakes (1809-1868), originally of Vermont, who although baptized in early life had passed through Methodism before coming under the influence of the Seventh-Day Baptists in 1837. Frederick Wheeler, a Methodist circuit preacher with millenarian leanings, declared himself in the spring of 1844, and was soon joined in August by Thomas H. Preble of East Weare, New Hampshire, formerly a Free-Will Baptist minister, but latterly a follower of Miller.' (33)

Elder James Springer White (1821-1881), Seventh-day Adventist pioneer, author, teacher, preacher, minister, Entrepreneur
"Our name, Seventh-day Adventist, is expressive of two prominent features of our faith. As Adventists, we are looking for the personal appearing and reign of Jesus Christ. And in seeking for that readiness necessary to meet our soon-coming Lord with Joy, we have been led to the observance of the seventh-day of the week as the hallowed rest-day of the Creator.
We are Adventists, and are observers of the ancient Sabbath of the Lord. The reason we are Adventists is because we take the Bible as meaning just what it says." (34)

The Seventh-day Adventists were born out of the Millerite movement, but while their teachings may look new to a lot of Christians of today, they neither smoke, nor eat pork (or the unclean foods in Leviticus 11), like the Ethiopian church of Africa and the Nestorian churches of the Near East, neither revere Mary and reject, like those Monophysite churches, the spiritual authority of the Pope, for 'Christ is the head of the Church' (Eph. 5:23) and the Holy Spirit is his earthly representative (John 14:26), His true vicar on earth and this authority has not been granted to any man. They also keep the seventh-day sabbath of creation as the Celtic, Nestorian and Ethiopian churches did making their sabbath observance only strange, odd and peculiar to those Christians who will still hold onto the Sunday worshipping Papal custom while claiming to be distinct from her.

We have seen that the seventh-day sabbath of creation has been kept in Africa, Asia and Europe, but it is a history that is highly ignored by mainstream historians, but even if modern writers do not want to recognise them, the seventh-day sabbath has been kept from apostolic days down to our information age and although many of the churches that once kept it have lost sight of their history (Ethiopian, Assyrian), the last message of mercy calls for its restoration just prior to the Second Coming of Christ.

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of his judgement is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Revelation 14:6, 7

The gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14) which is also the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6) is to be preached to the entire world to restore fallen man back to the 'divine nature' and contained within that message will be the sabbath where God declares that He is the Creator that made the 'heaven and earth, and the sea,' just as the first angels' message and the fourth commandment of the Mosaic law declares.

The seventh-day sabbath will again be restored to its original purity in the earth made new and this will be the only time there will be no debates over its authority 'for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it' (Isa. 58:13, 14). 

And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 66:23

Source: (1) The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments by Rev. A. H. Sayce p.74; (2) The Case for Creationism by Colin Mitchell p.205; (3) The Christian Philosopher by Thomas Dick p.71; (4) The Case for Creationism by Colin Mitchell p.205; (5) The Christian Philosopher by Thomas Dick pp. 77, 81, 82, 75, 76; (6) The Case for Creationism by Colin Mitchell p.205; (7) The Christian Philosopher by Thomas Dick pp. 90, 91; (8) The Case for Creationism by Colin Mitchell p.205; (9) The Christian Philosopher by Thomas Dick pp. 83, 84, 89; (10) The Case for Creationism by Colin Mitchell p.206; (11) Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible p.7; (12) Ibid. p.2232; (13) Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History vol. iii by John Lawrence Von Mosheim pp.302, 310; (14) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. vi pp. 62, 63, 64, 65; (15) New Schaff Herzog Encyclopadia, article, "Nestorians"; (16) Nineveh and its Remains, vol. 1 by Austen Henry Layard pp. 261, 262, 263, 264, 266, 267; (17) Ibid. pp. 241, 247; (18) Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon by Austen Henry Layard pp. 32, 33; (19) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire vol. VI by Edward Gibbon pp. 66, 67; (20) The Lost Empire The Story of the Jesuits in Ethiopia by Philip Caraman pp. 9, 52, 67; (21) Mosheim' Ecclesiastical History, vol. III p.11; (22) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. VI by Edward Gibbon p.81; (23) The Ethiopians A History by Richard Pankhurst pp. 100, 101, 105, 106, 107; (24) A History of Abyssinia by A.H.M. Jones & Elizabeth Monroe p.49; (25) Ibid. pp. 34, 35; (26) Margaret of Scotland Queen and Saint by T. Ratcliffe Barnett p.97; (27) The Papacy by J. A. Wylie p.28; (28) The History of the Reformation in England, vol. 1 by J. H. Merle D'Aubigne pp. 30, 31, 32, 33; (29) America B.C. by Barry Fell pp. 27, 38, 39; (30) Margaret of Scotland Queen and Saint by T. Ratcliffe pp. 97, 98; (31) Rome and Civil Liberty by J. A. Wylie p.22; (32) Sabbath and Sectarianism in Seventeenth-Century England by David S. Katz pp. 48, 50, 56, 57; (33) Ibid. pp. 206, 207; (34) Bible adventism by James White pp. vii, 12;    

Recommended reading: History of the Sabbath by J. N. Andrews; Truth Triumphant by Benjamin G. Wilkinson; The Celtic Church by Leslie Hardinge; The Nestorians and their Rituals vols. 1 & 2 by Percy George Badger; A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia by E. A. Wallis Budge; The Church History of Ethiopia by Michael Geddes   

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