What has been the practice of Christians keeping a Sabbath?
PDF EBook: A Chart by Elder J. F. Coltheart 1954
This chart is the result of several years research and painstaking checking of sources on the part of the compiler. During a recent trip abroad he was able to personally consult old manuscripts and the original sources of many of these quotations in the libraries and museums of Europe and also in Constantinople and the East.
In studying this chart, one is struck by the wonderful way God preserved the knowledge of His holy Sabbath down through the centuries since the days of Jesus. In spite of the fact that in many cases the writings of the martyrs were consigned to the flames or otherwise destroyed, the record of Sabbath-keeping comes down to us either from the parts of their writings that do remain or, as in some cases, even from the records of their enemies.
We read of peoples like the Waldenses, who were noted for their Sabbath-keeping for centuries. They were often called Sabbatati or Insabbati for this reason. Sheltered in the Alps of Italy, France and Switzerland, they defied the edicts of Rome for hundreds of years. The compiler of this chart was privileged to visit these lovely valleys where the descendants of these people still dwell today. Here he was shown some of their early records, as well as their monuments and refuge places during the bitter persecutions. Again we clearly follow the record of whole countries who faithfully clung to the Sabbath of God, like Bohemia, or Scotland, where it was observed until the 12th Century, or Abyssinia, whose peoples observed it until the 17th Century.
The records of the Church of the East thrill our hearts as we see at what early times the peoples of Persia, China, India, etc., heard and accepted the message of the Sabbath of God. With Thomas the disciple preaching the Gospel in India, Philip In Ethiopia, and others elsewhere, It is not difficult to believe Paul's words about the Gospel going to every creature during his day.
Below are just a few of the hundreds of testimonies for the Sabbath that might be given if space permitted. But note that these are not the records of Jews keeping their Sabbath, but of Christians in every century holding aloft the lamp of true Sabbath-keeping.
In Isaiah 58:13 is brought to view a message of Sabbath reform where people are urged to take their "foot from the Sabbath" and cease to trample it down by dishonouring it. Rev. 14 makes it plain that this is a special last day message before the coming of Jesus. But notice the wonderful words of the preceding verse (Isaiah 58:12) "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."
We, in the last days, are called to "raise up the foundations of many generations." Below, it is clearly shown that the Sabbath truth was one of the great "foundations of many generations." "the breath" mentioned in the verse is the same as the one mentioned in Ezek. 22:26,30 (dishonouring the Sabbath of God). lsa. 58: 13, the next two verses, contain wonderful promises to the people who will heed this last-day message of Sabbath-reform and prepare to meet Jesus.