The Sabbath of God Through the Centuries
Elder J. F. Coltheart (1954)

Leaves-of-Autumn Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 440, Payson, Arizona 85541


A copy of a large chart entitled "Chart of the Sabbath of God Through the Centuries," was sent to Leaves-of-Autumn Books for our inspection. The material was so interesting that we thought many of our customers would want a copy for their own library. However, since large charts are awkward to mail and difficult to store properly, we have converted the material into this small book.

Elder J. F. Coltheart, the author, was an SDA minister in New Zealand in 1954 when he published the original chart. In 1961 he went over to Australia and pastored there until 1967 when he went to England in the Lord’s work.

May this little book assist you in giving Bible studies which deal with the Sabbath question.

— Leaves-of-Autumn Books, Payson, Ariz. May, 1978



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 people 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 twelfth Century, or Abyssinia, whose peoples observed it until the seventeenth 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, Phillip 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. Revelation 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 breach" mentioned in the verse is the same as the one mentioned in Ezekiel 22:26, 30 (dishonouring the Sabbath of God). Isaiah 58:13, 14, 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.

How the Gospel Was Spread in the First Centuries

To the Jews Preached by Christ and disciples.

Samaritans Philip, Acts 8:5, 1:8

Ethiopians (Abyssinians) Philip

Paul planted the seed of the gospel amongst the great branches of the world's peoples:

Syrians — Antioch — Edessa, and thence to Parthia, India, China, Persia.

Celtics — Galatia — France — Britain. The Celts of Galatia were of the same family as the Irish, Scotch, British, Welsh, and French.

Greeks — Philippi, Athens, Corinth, Thessalonica, Berea.

Latins — Rome — whole Roman world.



"And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments," Matthew 19:16, 17.


"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: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, 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," Exodus 20: 8-11.


"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.


"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." Matthew 24:20.

Jesus asked His disciples to pray that in the flight from the doomed city of Jerusalem they would not have to flee on the Sabbath day. This flight took place in 70 A.D., (forty years after the Cross).


"And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." Luke 23:56.


"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures." Acts 17:2


"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath . . . . And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of God." Acts 13:42, 44.

Here we find Gentiles in a Gentile city gathering on the Sabbath. It was not a synagogue meeting in verse 44, for it says almost the whole city came together. Verse 42 says they asked to hear the message the "next Sabbath."

And note this point: The Bible does not say it is the "old Jewish Sabbath that was passed away," but the Spirit of God, writing the Book of Acts some 30 years after the Crucifixion, calls it "the next Sabbath."


"I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day." Rev. 1:10; Mark 2:28; Isa. 58:13; Ex. 20:10, clearly show the Sabbath to be the Lord’s day).


"There is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come!" M’Clatchie, Notes and Queries on China and Japan (edited by Dennys), Vol. 4, Nos. 7, 8, p. 100.


"Then the spiritual seed of Abraham fled to Pella, on the other side of Jordan, where they found a safe place of refuge, and could serve their Master and keep His Sabbath." Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, book 3, chap. 5.


Declares the seventh day to be a festival, not of this or of that city, but of the universe. M’Clatchie, Notes and Queries, Vol. 4, 99.




"The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles themselves, as appears by several scriptures to that purpose." Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, p. 189. London: 1701, by Dr. T.H. Morer.


". . . The Sabbath was a strong tie which united them with the life of the whole people, and in keeping the Sabbath holy they followed not only the example but also the command of Jesus." Geschichte des Sonntags, pp. 13, 14.


The Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath. Gieseler’s Church History, Vol. 1, ch. 2, par. 30, p. 93.


"The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews . . . therefore the Christians, for a long time together, did keep their conventions upon the Sabbath, in which some portions of the law were read: and this continued till the time of the Laodicean council." The Whole Works of Jeremy Taylor, Vol. IX, p. 416 (R. Heber’s Edition, Vol. XII, p. 416).


"It is certain that the ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed, together with the celebration of the Lord’s day, by the Christians of the East Church, above three hundred years after our Saviour’s death." A Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 77.

NOTE: By the "Lord’s day" here the writer means Sunday and not the true "Lord’s day," which the Bible says is the Sabbath. This quotation shows Sunday coming into use in the early centuries soon after the death of the Apostles. Paul the Apostle foretold a great "falling away" from the Truth that would take place soon after his death.


"From the Apostles’ time until the council of Laodicea, which was about the year 364, the holy observation of the Jews’ Sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many authors: yea, not withstanding the decree of the council against it." Sunday a Sabbath, John Ley, p. 163. London: 1640.




"Except ye make the Sabbath a real Sabbath [sabbatize the Sabbath, Greek], ye shall not see the father." The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, pt. L, p. 3, Logion 2, verse 4-11 (London: Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1898).


"Thou shalt observe the Sabbath, on account of Him who ceased from His work of creation, but ceased not from His work of providence: it is a rest for meditation of the law, not for idleness of the hands." The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 413. From Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, a document of the 3rd and 4th Centuries.

AFRICA (Alexandria) Origen

"After the festival of the unceasing sacrifice [the crucifixion] is put the second festival of the Sabbath, and it is fitting for whoever is righteous among the saints to keep also the festival of the Sabbath. There remaineth therefore a sabbatismos, that is, a keeping of the Sabbath, to the people of God [Hebrews 4:9]. Homily on Numbers 23, par. 4, in Migne Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 12, cols. 749, 750.

PALESTINE TO INDIA (Church of the East)

As early as A. D. 225 there existed large bishoprics or conferences of the Church of the East (Sabbath-keeping) stretching from Palestine to India. Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity, Vol. 10, p. 460.

INDIA (Buddhist controversy, 220 A.D.)

The Kushan Dynasty of North India called a famous council of Buddhist priests at Vaisalia to bring uniformity among the Buddhist monks on the observance of their weekly Sabbath. Some had been so impressed by the writings of the Old Testament that they had begun to keep holy the Sabbath. Lloyd, The Creed of Half Japan, p. 23.


"The seventh-day Sabbath was . . . solemnised by Christ, the Apostles, and the primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did in a manner quite abolish the observations of it." Dissertation on the Lord’s Day, pp. 33, 34, 44.




"It was the practice generally of the Eastern Churches; and some Churches of the west . . . . For in the Church of Millaine [Milan]; . . . it seemes the Saturday was held in a farre [fair] esteem .  .  . Not that the Eastern Churches, or any of the rest which observed that day, were inclined to Iudaisme [Judaism] ; but that they came together on the Sabbath day, to worship Iesus [Jesus] Christ the Lord of the Sabbath." History of the Sabbath (original spelling retained), Part 2, par. 5, pp. 73, 74. London: 1636. Dr. Heylyn.


"The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of Saturday, or the seventh day . . . It is plain that all the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival. . . . Athanasius likewise tells us that they held religious assembles on the Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same." Antiquities of the Christian Church. Vol. II, Book XX, chap. 3, Sec.1, 66.1137, 1138.


"In the last half of that century St. Ambrose of Milan stated officially that the Abyssinian bishop, Museus, had ‘travelled almost everywhere in the country of the Seres’ (China). For more than seventeen centuries the Abyssinian Church continued to sanctify Saturday as the holy day of the fourth commandment." Ambrose, De Moribus, Brachmanorium Opera Omnia, 1132, found in Migne. Patrologia Latina, Vol. 17, pp. 1131-1132.


"Mingana proves that in 370 A.D. Abyssinian Christianity (a Sabbath-keeping church) was so popular that its famous director, Musaeus, travelled extensively in the East promoting the church in Arabia, Persia, India and China." Truth Triumphant, p. 308 (Footnote 27).

ITALY – Milan

"Ambrose, the celebrated bishop of Milan, said that when he was in Milan he observed Saturday, but when in Rome observed Sunday. This gave rise to the proverb, ‘When you are in Rome, do as Rome does’." Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath (1612).

SPAIN – Council Elvira (A.D. 305)

Canon 26 of the Council of Elvira reveals that the Church of Spain at that time kept Saturday, the seventh day. "As to fasting every Sabbath: Resolved, that the error be corrected of fasting every Sabbath." This resolution of the council is in direct opposition to the policy the church at Rome had inaugurated, that of commanding Sabbath as a fast day in order to humiliate it and make it repugnant to the people.


It is a point of further interest to note that in northeastern Spain near the city of Barcelona is a city called Sabadell, in a district originally inhabited, by a people called both "Valdenses" and "Sabbatati."

PERSIA – A.D. 335-375 (40 years persecution under Shapur II)

The popular complaint against the Christians – "They despise our sun god, they have divine services on Saturday, they desecrate the sacred earth by burying their dead in it." Truth Triumphant, p. 170.

PERSIA – A.D. 335-375

"They despise our sun god. Did not Zoroaster, the sainted founder of our divine beliefs, institute Sunday one thousand years ago in honour of the sun and supplant the Sabbath of the Old Testament. Yet these Christians have divine services on Saturday." O’Leary, The Syriac Church and Fathers, pp. 83, 84.


"Canon 16 – On Saturday the Gospels and other portions of the Scripture shall be read aloud."

"Canon 29 – Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day." Hefele’s Councils, Vol. 2, b. 6.




"For although almost all Churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [the Lord’s Supper] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, refuse to do this."

The footnote which accompanies the foregoing quotation explains the use of the word "Sabbath." It says:

"That is, upon the Saturday. It should be observed, that Sunday is never called ‘the Sabbath’ by the ancient Fathers and historians." Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, chap. 22, p. 289.


"The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria." Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, Book 7, chap. 19.

THE WORLD – Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (North Africa)

Augustine shows here that the Sabbath was observed in his day "in the greater part of the Christian world," and his testimony in this respect is all the more valuable because he himself was an earnest and consistent Sunday-keeper. See Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, lst Series, Vol. 1, pp. 353, 354.


Pope Sylvester (314-335) was the first to order the churches to fast on Saturday, and Pope Innocent (402-417) made it a binding law in the churches that obeyed him. (In order to bring the Sabbath into disfavour.) "Innocentius did ordaine the Saturday or Sabbath to be always fasted." Dr. Peter Heylyn, History of the Sabbath, Part 2, ch. 2, p. 44.


Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church. Ancient Christianity Exemplified, Lyman Coleman, ch. 26, sec.2, p. 527.


"Wherefore, except Vespers and Nocturns, there are no public services among them in the day except on Saturday [Sabbath] and Sunday." John Cassian, a French monk, Instituttes, Book 3, ch. 2.


In Jerome’s day (420 A.D.) the devoutest Christians did ordinary work on Sunday. Treatise of the Sabbath Day, by Dr. White, Lord Bishop of Ely, p. 219.


"Augustine deplored the fact that in two neighbouring churches in Africa one observes the seventh-day Sabbath, another fasted on it." Dr. Peter Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath, p. 416.

SPAIN (400 A.D.)

"Ambrose sanctified the seventh day as the Sabbath (as he himself says). Ambrose had great influence in Spain, which was also observing the Saturday Sabbath." Truth Triumphant, p. 68.

SIDONIUS (speaking of King Theodoric of the Goths, A.D. 454-526)

"It is a fact that it was formerly the custom in the East to keep the Sabbath in the same manner as the Lord’s day and to hold sacred assemblies: while on the other hand, the people of the West, contending for the Lord’s day have neglected the celebration of the Sabbath." Apollinaris Sidonii Epistolae, lib. 1, 2; Migne, 57.


"Mingana proves that in 410 Isaac, supreme director of the Church of the East, held a world council, stimulated, some think, by the trip of Musaeus, attended by eastern delegates from forty grand metropolitan divisions. In 411 he appointed a metropolitan director for China. These churches were sanctifying the seventh day."



"There are several cities and villages in Egypt where, contrary to the usage established elsewhere, the people meet together on Sabbath evenings, and, although they have dined previously, partake of the mysteries." Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, Book 7, ch. 19.




"In this latter instance they seemed to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early monastic church of Ireland by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours." W.T. Skene, Adamnan Life of St. Columba, 1874, p. 96.


"We seem to see here an allusion to the custom, observed in the early monastic Church of Ireland, of keeping the day of rest on Saturday, or the Sabbath." History of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Vol. l, p. 86, by Catholic historian Bellisheim.

SCOTLAND – Columba

"Having continued his labours in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June, said to his disciple Diermit: ‘This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the rest day, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labours.’" Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Vol. 1, A.D. 597, art. "St. Columba," p. 762.

COLUMBA (re: Dr. Butler’s description of his death).

The editor of the best biography of Columba says in a footnote: "Our Saturday. The custom to call the Lord’s day Sabbath did not commence until a thousand years later." Adamnan’s Life of Columba (Dublin, 1857), p. 230.




Professor James C. Moffatt, D.D., Professor of Church History at Princeton says:

"It seems to have been customary in the Celtic Churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labour. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week." The Church in Scotland, p. 140.


"The Celts used a Latin Bible unlike the Vulgate (R.C.) and kept Saturday as a day of rest, with special religious services on Sunday." Flick, The Rise of the Mediaeval Church, p. 237.

ROME (Pope Gregory I, A.D. 590-604)

Gregory I wrote against "Roman citizens [who] forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day." Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. XIII, p. 13, epist. 1.

"Gregory, bishop by the grace of God to his well-beloved sons, the Roman citizens: It has come to me that certain men of perverse spirit have disseminated among you things depraved and opposed to the holy faith, so that they forbid anything to be done on the day of the Sabbath. What shall I call them except preachers of anti-Christ?" Epistles, b. 13:1.

Declared that when anti-Christ should come he would keep Saturday as the Sabbath. Epistles of Gregory I, b. 13, epist.1, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.

"Moreover, this same Pope Gregory had issued an official pronouncement against a section of the city of Rome itself because the Christian believers there rested and worshipped on the Sabbath." Same Reference.



COUNCIL OF FRIAUL, ITALY – A.D. 791 (Canon 13)

"We command all Christians to observe the Lord’s day to be held not in honour of the past Sabbath, but on account of that holy night of the first of the week called the Lord’s day. When speaking of that Sabbath which the Jews observe, the last day of the week, and which also our peasants observe . . ." Mansi, 13, 851.


The hills of Persia and the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates re-echoed their songs of praise. They reaped their harvests and paid their tithes. They repaired to their churches on the Sabbath day for the worship of God. Realencyclopaedie fur Protestantische and Krche, art. "Nestorianer"; also Yule, The Book of Ser Marco Polo, Vol. 2, p. 409.


"Widespread and enduring was the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath among the believers of the Church of the East and the St. Thomas Christians of India, who never were connected with Rome. It also was maintained among those bodies which broke off from Rome after the Council of Chalcedon namely, the Abyssinians, the Jacobites, the Maronites, and the Armenians." Schaff-Herzog, The New Enclyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, art. "Nestorians"; also Realencyclopaedie fur Protestantische Theologie und Kirche, art. "Nestorianer."

COUNCIL OF LIFTINAE, BELGIUM – A.D. 745 (attended by Boniface)

"The third allocution of this council warns against the observance of the Sabbath, referring to the decree of the council of Loadicea." Dr. Hefele, Conciliengesch, 3, 512, sec. 362.

CHINA – A.D. 781

In A.D. 781 the famous China Monument was inscribed in marble to tell of the growth of Christianity in China at that time. The inscription, consisting of 763 words, was unearthed in 1625 near the city of Changan and now stands in the "Forest of Tablets," Changan. The following extract from the stone shows that the Sabbath was observed:

"On the seventh day we offer sacrifices, after having purified our hearts, and received absolution for our sins. This religion, so perfect and so excellent, is difficult to name, but it enlightens darkness by its brilliant precepts." Christianity in China, M l Abbe Huc, Vol. 1, ch. 2, pp. 48, 49.




"Bulgaria in the early season of its evangelization had been taught that no work should be performed on the Sabbath." Responsa Nicolai Papae I and Con-Consulta Bulgarorum, Responsum 10, found in Mansi, Sacrorum Concilorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, Vol. 15; p. 406; also Hefele, Conciliengeschicte, Vol. 4, sec. 478.

(Pope Nicolas I, in answer to letter from Bogaris, ruling prince of Bulgaria.)

"Ques. 6 – Bathing is allowed on Sunday. Ques. 10 – One is to cease from work on Sunday, but not also on the Sabbath." Hefele, 4, 346-352, sec. 478.

The Bulgarians had been accustomed to rest on the Sabbath. Pope Nicolas writes against this practice. "Pope Nicholas I, in the ninth century, sent the ruling prince of Bulgaria a long document saying in it that one is to cease from work on Sunday, but not on the Sabbath. The head of the Greek Church, offended at the interference of the Papacy, declared the Pope excommunicated." Truth Triumphant, p. 232.


(Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople [in counter-synod that deposed Nicholas], thus accused Papacy).

"Against the canons, they induced the Bulgarians to fast on the Sabbath." Photius, von Kard, Hergenrother, 1, 643.

NOTE: The Papacy had always tried to bring the seventh-day Sabbath into disrepute by insisting that all should fast on that day. In this manner (she) sought to turn people towards Sunday, the first day, the day that Rome had adopted.


Cardinal Hergenrother says that they stood in intimate relation with Emperor Michael II (821-829) and testifies that they observed the Sabbath. Kirchengeschichte, 1, 527.


"Widespread and enduring was the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath among the believers of the Church of the East and the St. Thomas Christians of India. It was also maintained by the Abyssinians."




"They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner." A History of Scotland from the Roman Occupation, Vol. 1, p. 96, Andrew Lang.


"The Nestorians eat no pork and keep the Sabbath. They believe in neither auricular confession nor purgatory." Schaff-Herzog, The New Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, art. "Nestorians."


"And because they observed no other day of rest but the Sabbath dayes, they called them Insabathas, as much as to say, as they observed no Sabbath [i.e., did not observe Sunday]." Luther’s Fore-Runners (original spelling), pp. 7, 8


Roman Catholic writers try to evade the apostolic origin of the Waldenses, so as to make it appear that the Roman is the only apostolic church, and that all others are later novelties. And for this reason they try to make out that the Waldenses originated with Peter Waldo of the twelfth century. Dr. Peter Allix says:

"Some Protestants, on this occasion, have fallen into the snare that was set for them. . . . It is absolutely false, that these churches were ever founded by Peter Waldo. . . . It is a pure forgery." Ancient Church of Piedmont, pp. 192. Oxford: 1821.

"It is not true, that Waldo gave this name to the inhabitants of the valleys: they were called Waldenses, or Vaudes, before his time, from the valleys in which they dwelt." Id., p. 182

On the other hand, he "was called Valdus, or Waldo, because he received his religious notions from the inhabitants of the valleys." History of the Christian Church, William Jones, Vol. 2, p. 2.




They held that Saturday was properly the Sabbath on which they abstained from work. Celtic Scotland, Vol. 2, p. 350.

"They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a sabbatical manner. . . . These things Margaret abolished." A History of Scotland from the Roman Occupation, Vol. 1, p. 98.

"It was another custom of theirs to neglect the reverence due to the Lord’s day, by devoting themselves to every kind of worldly business upon it, just as they did upon other days. That this was contrary to the law, she (Queen Margaret) proved to them as well by reason as by authority. ‘Let us venerate the Lord’s day,’ said she, ‘because of the resurrection of our Lord, which happened upon that day, and let us no longer do servile works upon it; bearing in mind that upon this day we were redeemed from the slavery of the devil. The blessed Pope Gregory affirms the same’." Life of Saint Margaret, Turgot, p. 40 (British Museum Library).

"Her next point was that they did not duly reverence the Lord’s day, but in this latter instance they seemed to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early Church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours." Skene, Celtic Scotland, Vol. 2, p. 349.


"T. Ratcliffe Barnett, in his book on the fervent Catholic queen of Scotland who in 1060 was first to attempt the ruin of Columba’s brethren, writes: ‘In this matter 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.’" Barnett, Margaret of Scotland: Queen and Saint, p. 97.


"During the first crusade, Pope Urban II decreed at the council of Clermont (A.D. 1095) that the Sabbath be set aside in honour of the Virgin Mary." History of the Sabbath, p. 672.


"Because you observe the Sabbath with the Jews and the Lord’s Day with us, you seem to imitate with such observance the sect of Nazarenes." Migne, Patrologia Latina, Vol. 145, p. 506; also Hergenroether, Photius, Vol. 3, p. 746.


"The observance of Saturday is, as everyone knows, the subject of a bitter dispute between the Greeks and the Latins." Neals, A History of the Holy Eastern Church, Vol. 1, p. 731. (Referring to the separation of the Greek Church from the Latin in 1064).



"Traces of Sabbath-keepers are found in the times of Gregory I, Gregory VII, and in the twelfth century in Lombardy." Strong’s Cyclopaedia, 1, 660.


"Robinson gives an account of some of the Waldenses of the Alps, who were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, but more frequently Inzabbatati. ‘One says they were so named from the Hebrew word Sabbath, because they kept the Saturday for the Lord’s day’." General History of the Baptist Denomination, Vol. 2, p. 413.

SPAIN (Alphonse of Aragon)

"Alphonse, king of Aragon, etc., to all archbishops, bishops and to all others . . . We command you that heretics, to wit, Waldenses and Insabbathi, should be expelled away from the face of God and from all Catholics and ordered to depart from our kingdom." Marianse, Praefatio in Lucam Tudensem," found in Macima Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, Vol. 25, p. 190.

HUNGARY, FRANCE, ENGLAND, ITALY, GERMANY. (Referring to the Sabbath-keeping Pasagini)

"The spread of heresy at this time is almost incredible. From Bulgaria to the Ebro, from northern France to the Tiber, everywhere we meet them. Whole countries are infested, like Hungary and southern France; they abound in many other countries; in Germany, in Italy, in the Netherlands and even in England they put forth their efforts." Dr. Hahn, Gesch. der Ketzer, 1, 13, 14.


"Among the documents, we have by the same peoples, an explanation of the Ten Commandments dated by Boyer 1120. Observance of the Sabbath by ceasing from worldly labours, is enjoined." Blair, History of the Waldenses, Vol. 1, p. 220.


"There is much evidence that the Sabbath prevailed in Wales universally until A.D. 1115, when the first Roman bishop was seated at St. David’s. The old Welsh Sabbath-keeping churches did not even then altogether bow the knee to Rome, but fled to their hiding places." Lewis, Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, Vol.1, p. 29.


For twenty years Peter de Bruys stirred southern France. He especially emphasised a day of worship that was recognised at that time among the Celtic churches of the British Isles, among the Paulicians, and in the great Church of the East namely, that seventh day of the fourth commandment.


The papal author, Bonacursus, wrote the following against the "Pasagaini": "Not a few, but many know what are the errors of those who are called Pasagini. . . . First, they teach that we should obey the Sabbath. Furthermore, to increase their error, they condemn and reject all the church Fathers, and the whole Roman Church." D’Achery, Spicilegium I, f. 211-214; Muratory, Antiq. Med. aevi. 5, f. 152, Hahn, 3, 209.



"They say that the blessed Pope Sylvester was the Antichrist of whom mention is made in the Epistles of St. Paul as having been the son of perdition. [They also say] that the keeping of the Sabbath ought to take place." Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, p. 169 (by prominent Roman Catholic author writing about Waldenses).

To destroy completely these heretics Pope Innocent III sent Dominican inquisitors into France, and also crusaders, promising "a plenary remission of all sins, to those who took on them the crusade . . . against the Albigenses." Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. XII, art. "Raymond VI," p. 670.

"The inquisitors . . . [declare] that the sign of a Vaudois, deemed worthy of death, was that he followed Christ and sought to obey the commandments of God." History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, H.C. Lea, Vol.1.


Thousands of God’s people were tortured to death by the Inquisition, buried alive, burned to death, or hacked to pieces by the crusaders. While devastating the city of Biterre the soldiers asked the Catholic leaders how they should know who were heretics; Arnold, Abbot of Cisteaux, answered: "Slay them all, for the Lord knows who is His." History of the Inquisition, p. 96.

FRANCE – King Louis IX, 1229

Published the statute "Cupientes" in which he charges himself to clear southern France from heretics as the Sabbath-keepers were called.


"The heresy of the Vaudois, or poor people of Lyons, is of great antiquity, for some say that it has been continued down ever since the time of Pope Sylvester; and others, ever since that of the apostles." The Roman Inquisitor, Reinerus Sacho, writing about 1230.

FRANCE – Council Toulouse, 1229

Canons against Sabbath-keepers: "Canon 3–The lords of the different districts shall have the villas, houses and woods diligently searched, and the hiding-places of the heretics destroyed."

"Canon 14–Lay members are not allowed to possess the books of either the Old or the New Testaments." Hefele, 5, 981, 982.


"The Paulicians, Petrobusians, Pasaginians, Waldenses, Insabbatati were great Sabbath-keeping bodies of Europe down to 1250 A.D."


Dr. Hahn says that if the Pasaginians referred to the 4th Commandment to support the Sabbath, the Roman priests answered, "The Sabbath symbolised the eternal rest of the saints."


"The Mongolian conquest did not injure the Church of the East (Sabbath-keeping). On the contrary, a number of the Mongolian princes and a larger number of Mongolian queens were members of this church."



"That we are to worship one only God, who is able to help us, and not the Saints departed; that we ought to keep holy the Sabbath day." Luther’s Fore-runners, p. 38.


"For centuries evangelical bodies, especially the Waldenses, were called Insabbati because of Sabbath-keeping." Gui, Manuel d’ Inquisiteur.

BOHEMIA, 1310 (Modern Czechoslovakia)

"In 1310, two hundred years before Luther’s theses, the Bohemian brethren constituted one-fourth of the population of Bohemia, and that they were in touch with the Waldenses who abounded in Austria, Lombardy, Bohemia, north Germany, Thuringia, Brandenburg, and Moravia. Erasmus pointed out how strictly Bohemian Waldenses kept the seventh-day Sabbath." Armitage, A History of the Baptists, p. 318; Cox, The Literature of the Sabbath Question, Vol. 2, pp. 201-202.


Then, too, in the "Catechism" that was used during the fourteenth century, the Sabbath commandment read thus: "Thou shalt not forget to keep the seventh day."

This is quoted from Documents and Studies Concerning the History of the Lutheran Catechism in the Nordish Churches, p. 89. Christiania: 1893.

"Also the priests have caused the people to keep Saturdays as Sundays." Theological Periodicals for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Norway, Vol.1, p. 184, Oslo.


"We wrote of the sabbatarians in Bohemia, Transylvania, England and Holland between 1250 and 1600 A.D." Wilkinson, p. 309.




"Erasmus testifies that even as late as about 1500 these Bohemians not only kept the seventh day scrupulously, but also were called Sabbatarians. Cox, The Literature of the Sabbath Question, Vol. 2, pp. 201, 202; Truth Triumphant, p. 264.

NORWAY (Church Council held at Bergen, Norway, August 22, 1435)

"The first matter concerned a keeping holy of Saturday. It had come to the ear of the archbishop that people in different places of the kingdom had ventured the keeping holy of Saturday. It is strictly forbidden – it is stated – in the Church-Law, for any one to keep or to adopt holy days, outside of those which the pope, archbishop, or bishops appoint." "The History of the Norwegian Church Under Catholicism, R. Keyser, Vol. II, p. 488. Oslo: 1858.

"We are informed that some people in different districts of the kingdom, have adopted and observed Saturday-keeping. It is severely forbidden – in holy church canon – one and all to observe days excepting those which the holy Pope, archbishop, or the bishops command. Saturday-keeping must under no circumstances be permitted hereafter further than the church canon commands. Therefore, we counsel all the friends of God throughout all Norway who want to be obedient towards the holy church to let this evil of Saturday-keeping alone; and the rest we forbid under penalty of severe church punishment to keep Saturday holy." Dip. Norveg., 7, 397.

NORWAY, 1436 (Church Conference at Oslo)

"It is forbidden under the same penalty to keep Saturday holy by refraining from labour." History of the Norwegian Church, p. 401.

FRANCE – Waldenses

"Louis XII, King of France (1498-1515), being informed by the enemies of the Waldenses, inhabiting a part of the province of Provence, that several heinous crimes were laid to their account, sent the Master of Requests, and a certain doctor of the Sorbonne, to make inquiry into this matter. On their return they reported that they had visited all the parishes, but could not discover any traces of those crimes with which they were charged. On the contrary, they kept the Sabbath day, observed the ordinance of baptism, according to the primitive church, instructed their children in the articles of the Christian faith, and the commandments of God. The King having heard the report of his commissioners, said with an oath that they were better men than himself or his people." History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, pp. 71-72, third edition. London: 1818.


"Separated from the Western world for a thousand years, they were naturally ignorant of many novelties introduced by the councils and decrees of the Lateran. ‘We are Christians, and not idolators,’ was their expressive reply when required to do homage to the image of the Virgin Mary."




"In the reign of Elizabeth, it occurred to many conscientious and independent thinkers (as it previously had done to some Protestants in Bohemia) that the fourth commandment required of them the observance, not of the first, but of the specified ‘seventh’ day of the week." Chambers’ Cyclopaedia, article "Sabbath," Vol. 8, p. 416, 1887.

RUSSIA (Council, Moscow, 1503)

"The accused [Sabbath-keepers] were summoned; they openly acknowledged the new faith, and defended the same. The most eminent of them, the Secretary of State, Kuritsyn, Ivan Maximow, Kassian, archimandrite of the Lury Monastary of Novgorod, were condemned to death, and burned publicly in cages, at Moscow; Dec. 17, 1503." H. Starnbard, Geschichte der Juden (Leipzig, 1872), pp. 117-122).


"This zeal for Saturday-keeping continued for a long time: even little things which might strengthen the practice of keeping Saturday were punished." Bishop Anjou, Svenska Kirkans Historia after Motet 1 Upsala.


"The Sabbatarians teach that the outward Sabbath, i.e., Saturday, still must be observed. They say that Sunday is the Pope’s invention." Refutation of Sabbath, by Wolfgang Capito, published 1599.

BOHEMIA (the Bohemian Brethren)

Dr. R. Cox says: "I find from a passage in Erasmus that at the early period of the Reformation when he wrote, there were Sabbatarians in Bohemia, who not only kept the seventh day, but were said to be . . . scrupulous in resting on it." Literature of the Sabbath Question, Cox, Vol. II, pp. 20l, 202.


"Sabbatarians, so called because they reject the observance of the Lord’s day as not commanded in Scripture, they consider the Sabbath alone to be holy, as God rested on that day and commanded to keep it holy and to rest on it." A. Ross.

GERMANY – Dr. Eck (while refuting the Reformers)

"However, the church has transferred the observance from Saturday to Sunday by virtue of her own power, without Scripture." Dr. Eck’s Enchiridion, 1533, pp. 78, 79.


About the year 1520 many of these Sabbath-keepers found shelter on the estate of Lord Leonhardt of Lichtensein, "as the princes of Lichtenstein held to the observance of the true Sabbath." History of the Sabbath, J.N. Andrews, p. 649, ed.


"The famous Jesuit, Francis Xavier, called for the Inquisition, which was set up in Goa, India, in 560, to check the 'Jewish wickedness' (Sabbath-keeping)." Adeney, The Greek and Eastern Churches, pp. 527, 528.

NORWAY – 1544

"Some of you, contrary to the warning, keep Saturday. You ought to be severely punished. Whoever shall be found keeping Saturday, must pay a fine of ten marks." History of King Christian the Third, Niels Krag and S. Stephanius.


"Sabbatarians now exist in Austria." Luther, Lectures on Genesis, A.D. 1523-27.

ABYSSINIA – A.D. 1534 (Abyssinian legate at court of Lisbon)

"It is not therefore, in imitation of the Jews, but in obedience to Christ and His holy Apostles, that we observe that day." Geddes’s Church History of Ethiopia, pp. 87, 88.


"God blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it to Himself. God willed that this command concerning the Sabbath should remain. He willed that on the seventh day the word should be preached." Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1, pp. 138-140.


"Some have suffered torture because they would not rest when others kept Sunday, for they declared it to be the holiday and law of Antichrist." Sebastian Frank (A.D. 1536).


"The observance of the Sabbath is a part of the moral law. It has been kept holy since the beginning of the world." ref: Noted Swiss writer, R. Hospinian.


Barbara of Thiers, who was executed in 1529, declared: "God has commanded us to rest on the seventh day."

Another martyr, Christina Tolingerin, is mentioned thus: "Concerning holy days and Sundays, she said: ‘In six days the Lord made the world, on the seventh day he rested. The other holy days have been instituted by popes, cardinals, and archbishops’." Martyrology of the Churches of Christ, commonly called Baptists, during the era of the Reformation, from the Dutch of T.J. Van Braght, London, 1850, l, pp. 113-114.

FINLAND – Dec. 6, 1554 (King Gustavus Vasa I, of Sweden’s letter to the people of Finland)

"Some time ago we heard that some people in Finland had fallen into a great error and observed the seventh day, called Saturday." State Library at Helsingfors, Reichs-register, Vom J., 1554, Teil B.B. leaf 1120, pp. 175-180a.



ENGLAND – 1618

"At last for teaching only five days in the week, and resting upon Saturday she was carried to the new prison in Maiden Lane, a place then appointed for the restraint of several other persons of different opinions from the Church of England. Mrs. Traske lay fifteen or sixteen years a prisoner for her opinion about the Saturday Sabbath." Pagitt’s Heresiography, p. 196.

ENGLAND – 1668

"Here in England are about nine or ten churches that keep the Sabbath, besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved." Stennet’s letters, 1668 and 1670, Cox, Sab., l, 268.


Mr. Thomas Bampfield, who had been Speaker in one of Cromwell’s parliaments, wrote also in behalf of seventh-day observance, and was imprisoned for his religious principles in Ilchester jail. Calamy, 2, 260.


But as they rejected Sunday and rested on the Sabbath, Prince Sigmond Bathory ordered their persecution. Pechi advanced to position of chancellor of state and next in line to throne of Transylvania. He studied his Bible, and composed a number of hymns, mostly in honour of the Sabbath. Pechi was arrested and died in 1640.


"We can trace these opinions over almost the whole extent of Sweden of that day – from Finland and northern Sweden."

"In the district of Upsala the farmers kept Saturday in place of Sunday."

"About the year 1625 this religious tendency became so pronounced in these countries that not only large numbers of the common people began to keep Saturday as the rest day, but even many priests did the same." History of the Swedish Church, Vol. I, p. 56.


"They solemnize Saturday (the old Sabbath). Samuel Purchase His Pilgrims, Vol. I, p. 350.

INDIA (Jacobites) – 1625

"They keep Saturday holy. They have solemn service on Saturdays." Pilgrimmes, Part 2, p. 1269.

AMERICA – 1664

"Stephen Mumford, the first Sabbath-keeper in America came from London in 1664." Hist. of the Seventh-day Baptist Gen. Conf. by Jas. Bailey, pp. 237, 238.

AMERICA – 1671 (Seventh-day Baptists)

"Broke from Baptist Church in order to keep Sabbath." See Bailey’s History, pp. 9, 10.

ENGLAND – Charles I, 1647 (when querying the Parliament Commissioners)

"For it will not be found in Scripture where Saturday is no longer to be kept, or turned into the Sunday wherefore it must be the church’s authority that changed the one and instituted the other." Cox, Sabbath Laws, p. 333.

ENGLAND – John Milton

"It will surely be far safer to observe the seventh day, according to express commandment of God, than on the authority of mere human conjecture to adopt the first." Sab. Lit. 2, 46-54.


"Upon the publication of the ‘Book of Sports’ in 1618 a violent controversy arose among English divines on two points: first, whether the Sabbath of the fourth commandment was in force; and, secondly, on what ground the first day of the week was entitled to be observed as ‘the Sabbath’." Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates, art. "Sabbatarians," p. 602.


Jesuits tried to induce the Abyssinian church to accept Roman Catholicism. They influenced King Zadenghel to propose to submit to the Papacy (A.D. 1604). "Prohibiting all his subjects, upon severe penalties, to observe Saturday any longer." Gedde’s Church History of Ethiopia, p. 311, also Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, ch. 47.


"One of the counsellors and lords of the court was John Gerendi, head of the Sabbatarians, a people who did not keep Sunday, but Saturday." Lamy, The History of Socinianism, p. 60.


The inscription on the monument over the grave of Dr. Peter Chamberlain, physician to King James and Queen Anne, King Charles I and Queen Katherine says that Dr. Chamberlain was "a Christian keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, being baptised about the year 1648, and keeping the seventh day for the Sabbath above thirty-two years." Telegraph Print, Napier.






"The Jacobites assembled on the Sabbath day, before the Domical day, in the temple, and kept that day, as do also the Abyssinians as we have seen from the confession of their faith by the Ethiopian king Claudius." Abudacnus, Historia Jacobitarum, p. 118-119 (18th Century).


"Joseph II’s edict of tolerance did not apply to the Sabbatarians, some of whom again lost all of their possessions." Jahrgang 2, 254.

Catholic priests aided by soldiers forcing them to accept Romanism nominally, and compelling the remainder to labour on the Sabbath and to attend church on Sunday, these were the methods employed for two hundred fifty years to turn the Sabbatarians.

GERMANY – Tennhardt of Nuremberg

"He holds strictly to the doctrine of the Sabbath, because it is one of the ten commandments." Bengel’s Leben und Wirken, Burk, p. 579.

He himself says: "It cannot be shown that Sunday has taken the place of the Sabbath (p. 366). The Lord God has sanctified the last day of the week. Antichrist, on the other hand, has appointed the first day of the week." K1. Auszug aus Tennhardt’s Schriften, p. 49 (printed 1712).

BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA (Today Czechoslovakia). Their history from 1635 to 1867 is thus described by Adolf Dux

"The condition of the Sabbatarians was dreadful. Their books and writings had to be delivered to the Karlsburg Consistory to become the spoil of flames." Aus Ungarn, pp. 289-291. Leipzig, 1880.


Dr. Cornelius states of East Friesland, that when Baptists were numerous, "Sunday and holidays were not observed," (they were Sabbath-keepers). Der Antell Ostfrieslands and Ref. Muenster, 1852, pp. 29, 34.

MORAVIA – Count Zinzendorf

In 1738 Zinzendorf wrote of his keeping the Sabbath thus: "That I have employed the Sabbath for rest many years already, and our Sunday for the proclamation of the gospel." Budingache Sammlung, Sec. 8, p. 224. Leipzig, 1742.

AMERICA, 174l (Moravian Brethren after Zinzendorf arrived from Europe.)

"As a special instance it deserves to be noticed that he is resolved with the church at Bethlehem to observe the seventh day as rest day. Id., pp. 5, 1421, 1422.

But before Zinzendorf and the Moravians at Bethlehem thus began the observance of the Sabbath and prospered, there was a small body of German Sabbath-keepers in Pennsylvania. See Rupp’s History of Religious Denominations in the United States, pp. 109-123.




"But the majority moved to the Crimea and the Caucasus, where they remain true to their doctrine in spite of persecution until this present time. The people call them Subotniki, or Sabbatarians." Sternberg, Geschichte der Juden in Polen, p. 124.


"At this time Hung prohibited the use of opium, and even tobacco, and all intoxicating drinks, and the Sabbath was religiously observed." The Ti-Ping Revolution, by Lin-Le, an officer among them, Vol. I, pp. 38-48, 84.

"The seventh day is most religiously and strictly observed. The Taiping Sabbath is kept upon our Saturday." p. 319.

"The Taipings when asked why they observed the seventh-day Sabbath, replied that it was, first, because the Bible taught it, and second, because their ancestors observed it as a day of worship." A Critical History of the Sabbath and the Sunday.


"Besides, they maintain the solemn observance of Christian worship throughout our Empire, on the seventh day." Christian Researches in Asia, p. 143.


This Agitation was not without its effect. Pastor M.A. Sommer began observing the seventh-day, and wrote in his church paper, "Indovet Kristendom" No. 5, 1875, an impressive article about the true Sabbath. In a letter to Elder John G. Matteson, he says: "Among the Baptists here in Denmark there is a great agitation regarding the Sabbath commandment. . . . However, I am probably the only preacher in Denmark who stands so near to the Adventists and who for many years has proclaimed Christ’s second coming." Advent Tidente, May, 1875.

SWEDEN (Baptists)

"We will now endeavour to show that the sanctification of the Sabbath has its foundation and its origin in a law which God at creation itself established for the whole world, and as a consequence thereof is binding on all men in all ages."

May 30, 1863, p. 169. Evangelisten ("The Evangelist"), Stockholm, May 30 to August 15, 1863 (organ of the Swedish Baptist Church).


"Thus we see Dan. 7:25, fulfilled, the little horn changing ‘times and laws.’ Therefore it appears to me that all who keep the first day for the Sabbath are Pope’s Sunday-keepers and God’s Sabbath-breakers." Elder T.M. Preble, Feb. 13, 1845.


In 1844 Seventh-day Adventists arose and had spread to nearly all the world by the close of the 19th Century. Their name is derived from their teaching of the seventh-day Sabbath and the Advent of Jesus. In 1874 their work was established in Europe, 1885 – Australasia, 1887 – South Africa, 1888 – Asia, 1888 – South America.



Seventh-day Adventists uphold the same Sabbath that Jesus and His followers kept. The sacred Torch of Truth was not extinguished through the long centuries. Adventists are working today in nearly 1000 languages of the earth. Over 12,500 churches of Sabbath-keepers are spread from "pole to pole" — from Hammerfest, Norway, the northernmost city of the world, to Punta Arenas in South America, the southernmost. One million members around the globe welcome the sacred Sabbath hours.


Sixty thousand gather together each Sabbath. There are 370 Adventist schools and colleges for training missionaries.


In this division there are 64,000 faithful Sabbath-keepers. The Message is spreading rapidly, as one will realise by looking at the small island of Jamaica. One hundred and 147 miles long, it has 151 Adventist churches for the 17,000 members there. Mexico has 20,000 Sabbath-school members.


One hundred and 67 thousand people are studying the Sabbath message through the Voice of Prophecy.


In a recent three-year period, 10,000 new Sabbath-keepers were baptized.


Reports indicate that the people are looking for the Bible. In some villages, up to 50% of the people have begun to observe the Sabbath of God.


Reports an increase of 104%.


About 5000 new believers are baptized here each year.


Figures rapidly being outdated as many thousands embrace the Truth.


Reports 6000 new Sabbath-keepers each year.


Over 100,000 members of the Sabbath School.


Former cannibals and headhunters of New Guinea and the Islands now true commandment keepers.


One thousand Radio or Television stations throughout the world bring Sabbath message to millions.


Seventh-day Adventists operate 200 modern hospitals and clinics with 10,000 doctors, nurses, and helpers; 4,200 schools and 350 colleges help train missionaries; 60 publishing houses print Gospel literature.

The Sabbath is a precious heritage handed down to this generation by the martyrs of old. Today, it binds God's "Remnant" people together in close brotherly friendship regardless of whether they are black, white, or yellow. From the East, from the West, from the North, from the South, by the thousands and hundreds of thousands, they prepare for the coming of Christ.

Reprinted by Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849