The International Sunday-school lesson for July 17, 1898, was “Elijah on Carmel.” The M. E. Church South publishes a weekly Illustrated Lesson Paper, devoted largely to the lesson for each successive Sunday.
The Catechism Lesson
In this Lesson Paper, concerning “Elijah on Carmel” we find the following, which we copy exactly as it was there printed:
Question 81.—What is the fourth commandment?
Answer.—The fourth commandment is: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Ques. 82.—What does the fourth commandment forbid?
Ans.—The fourth commandment forbids us to work on the Sabbath day.
Ques. 83.—What day is the Sabbath?
Ans.—Sunday is the Sabbath.
That is precisely the way that the Baalites talked and taught in Elijah’s time. See here:
Question.—What is the first commandment?
Answer.—The first commandment is: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Ques.—What does the first commandment forbid?
Ans.—The first commandment forbids us to have any god but the true God.
Ques.—What God is the true God.
Ans.—Baal is the true God.
That is a catechism lesson such as was taught by the priests of Baal in Elijah’s time. And no man can fairly deny that it is parallel in every respect with the catechism lesson here quoted bodily from the Lesson Paper of the M. E. Church South.
Setting Up a False God
The word of God in the fourth commandment, as printed in this catechism lesson of July 17, A.D. 1898, says, plainly, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Yet directly in the face of this word, a man, or a set of men, sets up the word, “Sunday is the Sabbath;” while these men themselves know that Sunday is the first day, and not the seventh day at all.
Just so in the lesson of July 17, B.C. 898; the word of God in the first commandment said plainly that the true God was he who had brought the children of Israel “out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Yet directly in the face of this word of God, men set up the word, “Baal is God;” while these men themselves knew that Baal was not he who had brought them out of Egypt.
Changing the Word
Oh, yes, we know full well that those who got up this catechism lesson of July 17, A.D. 1898, say that the Sabbath has been changed from the seventh day to Sunday; this, too, in the face of the plain word of God, and of their own contradictory action in printing, in that very lesson, this: “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.”
Just so those who got up the catechism lesson of July 17, B.C. 898, said that the God of Israel had been changed to Baal; this, too, in the face of the plain word of God that the God of Israel was he who had created the heavens and the earth, and had brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage; and that he can not change.
Citing the Fathers
True, those who got up this catechism lesson of July 17, A.D. 1898, can and do cite the “Fathers,” and the “saints” of the apostate church to sustain their contradiction of the word of God that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.”
Just so those who got up the catechism lesson of July 17, B.C. 898, could cite the chief father of their apostasy to sustain them in their contradictions of the word of God. Jeroboam was the chief in that apostasy; and when he began it with the setting up of the golden calves, he said to all the people,
“Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
This itself was a form of sun-worship; but when Jezebel came in, she gave the apostasy a further and fuller turn to sun-worship in making the sun in Baal the chief god.
And the priests of the apostasy in Elijah’s day could cite, against the first commandment, the chief father of that apostasy, just as readily and as truly as the priests of the apostasy in our day can cite, against the fourth commandment, the chief Fathers of the later apostasy.
That Woman Jezebel
The priests back there were supporting and defending Jezebel in their setting up Baal as the God of the first commandment, just as those down here are supporting and defending “that woman Jezebel” (Revelation 2:20) in their setting up Sunday as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
It is remarkable that in the lesson of July 17, B.C. 898, and in the lesson of July 17, A.D. 1898, the sun should be held up as the object of worship, as the true god in the place of Jehovah, who alone is the true God. There it was done through the images of the sun-god, by the influence of Jezebel; here it is done through the day of the sun-god,—Sun-day,—by the influence of “that woman Jezebel.”
Spirit and Power of Elijah
It was against such wickedness that Elijah in that day, on behalf of Jehovah lifted up his voice; and it is against that same wickedness in this day that those who are imbued with the spirit and power of Elijah (Malachi 4:5), on behalf of Jehovah lift up their voices.
The word of God by Elijah for that time is the word of God in the spirit and power of Elijah now:
“If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
Sunday is not the Sabbath any more than Baal is Jehovah. Sunday owes its place among those who profess to be the Lord’s people to the influence of “that woman Jezebel,” of Revelation 2:20, just as truly as Baal owed his place among those of Elijah’s time who professed to be the Lord’s people, to the original Jezebel of 1 Kings 16:31.
Troublers of Israel
Elijah in his day was counted a troubler of Israel because he told the people that Baal was not God, and that in following Baal they had “forsaken the commandments of the Lord.”
And those who now, in the spirit and power of Elijah, tell the people that Sunday is not the Sabbath, and that in observing Sunday they have “forsaken the commandments of the Lord,”—these now are counted troublers of Israel, just as Elijah was.
But at that time God vindicated Elijah, and sustained him in all the contest in that day; and the same God will vindicate those of the spirit and power of Elijah, and will sustain them in all the contest in this our day.
And when the contest was over, and his work done, Elijah was translated. And now when this contest is over, and our work is done,
1 Thessalonians 4
16 …the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
20 Hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
10 The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
1 Kings 18
21 …How long halt you between two opinions? if Jehovah be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.
Other articles by A.T. Jones:
- Church History in the Book of Revelation
- Origin of the Doctrine of Natural Immortality
- Rightly Dividing the Book of Revelation
- The Two Principles
- The First Commandment
- Joseph Hoag’s Vision
- A Complete Savior
- Dishonest Giving
- The Education of Daniel
- Christ Revealed in the Sabbath
- Ministers of God
- The Nearest of Kin
- Receive Not the Grace of God in Vain
- Follow Me
- John Bunyan