Freedom of Choice, Part I

Religious liberty, freedom of choice, is of the utmost importance to God. The very thing that makes our love valuable to God is the fact that we do not have to give it. When we choose to give it, it makes it very valuable to Him. He gave us that freedom, that choice.

1888 Sunday Law

As some of you that are familiar with history—especially Seventh-day Adventist history—know, a lot of interesting things were going on during the late 1800s. In secular history, Senator Henry William Blair introduced a national Sunday law in the United States Senate. This proposed law was being discussed, and was ready to be voted upon. In church history, God had sent to E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones what the prophet called “the most precious message” that was to prepare God’s people for translation. (See Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 128.) Because the church did not accept this “most precious message,” the message of righteousness by faith, God stopped what was going on in the Senate. A. T. Jones went before the Senate and argued against Senator Blair’s Sunday law. His arguments were so effective that even Senator Blair decided that Sunday laws were a bad idea.

The next large event that happened in the church, after the 1888 General Conference session, was a camp meeting held at Ottawa, Kansas, in 1889. In those days, camp meetings were a big deal; thousands and thousands of people would attend. So many people attended that sometimes the railroad companies would actually run tracks to the campsite so the people could ride the train right to that area! It was also common for the media to report the news of the camp meetings. At this camp meeting in Ottawa, Kansas, the Topeka Capital-Journal (Topeka, Kansas) published in its newspaper every sermon that was preached. A. T. Jones was one of the main speakers, and of the 31 sermons he preached during that camp meeting, at least 15 of them were on religious liberty. Other presentations included the topic of righteousness by faith. The message of righteousness by faith and the message of religious liberty were closely tied together.

Today, some of the laws that are introduced by our government leaders may come from good intentions. At times it is possible to see the logic in them, but it is a bit confusing to understand whether the proposed law is a good law or whether it is a bad law, whether it is going to take away personal freedom, or whether it is going to enhance the situation for everyone. In this article, we will study some principles in God’s Word that will help us to be able to judge these laws, to see where they are heading and the principles behind them. We are going to look at the subject of government through God’s Word. We are going to see what God thinks about civil government. Does He approve of it, and if He does, how much authority has He given it? What is its purpose? What should it regulate, and what should it leave alone?

Civil Government

First, let’s answer the question, Does God approve of civil government? Paul had some strong things to say about this in Romans 13:1–4: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

That makes it pretty plain that God definitely approves of government, does it not? He has ordained it and those who are in civil government, doing what they are supposed to do, He calls His ministers. But it seems that most of the governments in the world today are more evil than good. How can God condone that? As we look at history, perhaps we will find the answer to this question and others that have already been asked.


To start with, at some point of time in this universe, there may have been only one creature. What fact is evident if only one creature exists? If there is one creature, there has to not interfere, not try to force each other into their own belief system.

So a second creature called for a second principle of government, and Jesus stated this as the second commandment: “And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31.

Two = Ten

These two principles of government are just the simple dictates of reason and of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3–17). The Ten Commandments expand on these two principles, but they do not change them. The first four commandments basically tell us how to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We do not have other gods before Him; we do not set up idols in His place; we do not use His name in vain; and we remember His Sabbath to keep it holy. The Sabbath is a memorial to creation. If we remember the Sabbath, the memorial to creation, we do not forget our Creator.

The last six commandments tell us how to love our neighbors as ourselves. They tell us not to steal, not to kill, and not to commit adultery, not to lie, not to covet, and to honor our parents. They tell us how to handle this secondary relationship.

Original Government

These two principles are the original government. They are perfect government. They are the ultimate. People that live according to these principles live by self-government. Self-government does not mean that we let self do whatever it wants. Self-government means that we choose to be governed by reason—reason educated by the Word of God. That is the principle by which we live. God created all beings that He has ever made with freedom of choice. (Patriarchs and Prophets, 331, 332.) Men are free to choose. (See In Heavenly Places, 361.) God made us that way, and He always respects that freedom. When these created beings choose of their own free will to be in subjection to God, to His will and His design, then they are considered to be self-governed people. They choose it. It is a voluntary thing. It is government by the consent of the governed. It is a perfect government. It is self-government. The self-governed ones see the wisdom in God’s will, and they choose to be in subjection to it.

This perfect government ruled for an undisclosed period of time during eternity past. We do not know exactly how long it existed, but we know that the universe ran under this principle until the fall of Adam and Eve and that the rest of the unfallen universe—everywhere except this world—still operate under this principle. This planet is the only place where this principle is not in effect.

Everything went along fine as long as this principle governed. God did not use force to get His created beings to be in subjection to Him; it was voluntary. The beings saw the wisdom in it, and they submitted to Him and were governed by love.

Self-government Ends

But something went wrong. Someone chose not to give the Creator the love and honor that He deserved, and introduced a new and strange thing—selfishness—that led to rebellion, sin, and apostasy. It was the origin of evil. Any created being could have originated it, but Lucifer was the one who did. The important thing to realize is that everybody that follows his rebellion puts his or her stamp of approval on that type of government. A third of the angels changed rulers at that time and followed Lucifer. They put their stamp of approval on evil.

There would have been no way to ever return into God’s self-government, to choose Him as a ruler again, except He said to Lucifer, “I’m going to put enmity between you and the woman”—the woman being the church, and the church being those who choose self-government over rebellion. (Genesis 3:15.) God offered this enmity, but there was and is still the power of choice.

God had never before used force, but we are told that God had to use this new and strange thing that had never been used before in the universe. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7–9.

God does not believe in forcing anybody to do anything. He does believe in removing people from society when they threaten the lives of self-governed beings. That is how He handles such situations. He does not force them to behave; He does not force them to obey; but He does remove them from society. That is what civil government is supposed to do. That is what it has been ordained of God to do. Civil government’s purpose is to protect God’s self-governed people from the rebels who choose not to be self-governed. Only those who again learn self-government will be safe to save for eternity, because God is not going to allow rebellion to happen again in heaven.

God is very patient in His dealings with us. He has dealt patiently with the human race for 6,000 years, and He dealt patiently with Satan for an unknown length of time in eternity past. God gave Satan every opportunity to turn around, to repent, and to come back into line with the two original principles of government that we have studied. He has tried through many generations to bring us back. Some people have learned, but most have chosen to not be self-governed.


In the lives of Cain and Abel, the first children of Adam and Eve, we see that one chose the way of self-government and the other chose the way of rebellion. We see the two principles at work in their lives. Abel, who chose self-government, worshipped God the way God had outlined. Cain did a thing that the Spirit of Prophecy calls partial obedience. He built the altar, kind of like what God said; he brought the sacrifice, kind of like what God said; but it was not right. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 72.) He decided that he would do things his own way. Partial obedience is disobedience. That is what he chose. God accepted Abel’s worship, and He rejected Cain’s. Abel tried to persuade Cain to do things the right way. It is a good thing to try to persuade people; it is a bad thing to try to force people. Cain became very angry. He did not like being reproved. He became so angry that he killed Abel. That is the ultimate step in trying to force people.

It is interesting that people who do not want to obey God do not want anybody else to obey either. That may be hard for us to understand, but people are not satisfied just to be in disobedience themselves. They want everybody else to be disobedient, too. It seems that Cain did not want to govern himself—he did not want to be self-governed—but he wanted to govern others. That is another principle we notice. People that cannot govern themselves always want to govern other people. That is what Cain did. That is how sinful human nature works.

Anarchy Reigns

Adam and Eve had another son after Cain and Abel. His name was Seth, and he chose the way of self-government. They then had many other sons, and the majority of them chose the way of rebellion. The history of this world before the flood is mostly a history of no government at all. Everybody just kind of did what he or she felt like, except for the few, the little group of those who chose to be self-governed. There was no civil government; there was no law. You just did whatever you felt like—unless you were governed by God.

If all of Adam’s children had chosen self-government, there never would have been any kingdoms on this earth except God’s. There would not have been civil government; there would have been no need for it. Obviously that did not happen. Before the flood there was not any government. There were societies; there were enlarged families; there were tribes; but there was no organized government. Everybody pretty much did what he or she wanted. It was kind of the law of the jungle; the strongest survived. That is the way it went up until the flood.

God will put up with that kind of thing for a period of time, but after a certain point, He says, “No more,” and He puts a stop to it. Genesis 6:11–13 tells about that: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; and all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

So we are told that God will allow so much, and then He will quench it, and that is what He did. The first time God destroyed the earth because of anarchy; there was no government. In the end of time He will destroy it because of too much government and too much law, contrary to His Law.


God restarted the earth again with Noah and his family, eight people total. He started it again on the principle of self-government, but in spite of the awful demonstration of God’s wrath, it was not very long before the way of rebellion rose up again. Some chose the way of self-government, but the vast majority chose the way of rebellion. They even chose other gods and set up idols in God’s place.

Men would take the title of God and His authority and place it upon an idol, and they would make that idol their god and their king. But they had not gone so far in apostasy as to take that title and authority from that idol and put it on a man. The idol was god and king, and the people worshipped that idol, but they had not yet gone so far as to set themselves up in place of God.

An idol is nothing more than a reflection of the one that made it, the devotee. Therefore, it would follow that the idolater is really his own god. The idol is just a symbol of that. With each idolater being his own god, it becomes plain that all idolatry is more than just false worship, it is self-worship. The character of the false god is the character of the one that made it. Obviously it has no character of its own; it can only have what the worshipper gives it. Since its character comes from man, Mark 7:21, 22 tells us that “Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.” So it only follows that this describes the character of the idol, because it came from man, and that is what is in the heart of men. In Psalm 135:18 we are told, “They that make them [idols] are like unto them.” Men, being evil, build evil gods, and because of the law of beholding, they become more evil. It is a downward spiral. On the other hand, self-government beholds God, so it leads upward.


What happens when you have organized idol worship disguised as Christianity? What happens when you combine paganism and Christianity, build an idol, and worship that idol? You have created an evil god in your own image. You think that this god is good, but this god is actually so evil that he would burn people forever and ever and ever, just because they messed up on this planet for 70 years, give or take a few years. This god is so evil that he would torture people throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. It automatically follows that as you create that kind of god, and behold that kind of god, that it is nothing for you to kill a few people to help him. That is why it says in John 16:2 that “the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” That is the result of organized idolatry disguised as Christianity.

If the idol is nothing but the representation of the one that made it, it is logical that eventually someone would take the authority and title from that idol and place it upon himself. Obviously an idol cannot make anybody do anything, so somebody has to become the executor of the idol’s will. Somebody has to take it upon himself to enforce what this idol, this fake god, wants done. In other words, he is going to enforce what he wants done, because he made the idol. That is the origin of monarchies.

One man did set himself up to be the executor of the idol’s will, to enforce what the idol wanted. He had to rule over men by force in order to accomplish that. The strongest man prevailed, ruled over others, and became the monarch. For a time, that monarch was not called god. He was called a viceroy; he was in place of a god. The idol was still the king for quite some time. They had not gone so far as to be bold enough to actually take the title and authority from the god and place it upon themselves. They were just kind of standing in place of this idol, doing its will.


It was not until Nimrod that somebody finally got bold enough to step up another notch in apostasy and actually take the title and authority from an idol upon themselves. Genesis 10:8–10 talks about him: “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel . . . .” It says there that Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord. He was not just a hunter of animals and beasts, but he was actually a hunter and a pursuer and a crusher of the souls of men. That is the kind of hunter he was. From the time of the flood until Nimrod there had been tribes, but this thing that Nimrod set up was a whole new relationship that had never been done before—to have this man be in the place of God over all these people. Nimrod was the first to establish an organized kingdom. His kingdom was Babel, or Babylon. He became an overbearing tyrant. He crushed people and oppressed them, and he worked to enlarge his kingdom.

Nimrod worked to expand his empire by conquering men. He conquered other of Noah’s descendants, and he sought to crush and oppress everybody with whom he came in contact. He wanted to take everybody. Everybody was to be under his control. But there was a problem. God placed in the heart of men a desire to be free, a very strong desire. Because of Nimrod’s efforts to crush and expand his kingdom by crushing men, and by men resisting, the history of the world is largely a story of war—war between oppression and the fight for freedom.

Assyria, one of the oldest kingdoms in the world, found that every year, for approximately 800 years, they would go out and conquer some territory, and the next year they would have to go back and re-conquer it. The conquered would be ready the next year to fight again, because of that strong desire for freedom that God has placed in the hearts of men. Tyrants have continued to try to control the world throughout history, and others have fought for freedom throughout history.

To be continued . . .


Steve Currey is a Bible worker for Steps to Life Ministry.

Bendigo Promotes Sunday Law

A group of citizens in Bendigo known as the Save our Sundays (SOS) group, has petitioned the city of Great Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, to proscribe Sunday trading. As a result, a referendum was conducted to determine the will of the citizens. “The Save our Sundays group hailed a decision to proceed with a Sunday trading referendum in April as a ‘victory for democracy.’ ” Bendigo Advertiser, December 26, 1997. Whether or not it was a victory for democracy, it was most certainly an alarming breach of religious and civil liberties.

Keith Allen, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria, “threw his support behind the campaign against Sunday trading during a visit to Bendigo yesterday.” Ibid., May 30, 1997. “Anglican Bishop David Bowden supported the call for a referendum, and Catholic Bishop Noel Daly and Uniting Church’s Kerrie Graham spoke against Sunday trading.” Ibid., May 8, 1997. The Uniting Church of Australia is a 1977 union of Congregationalists, Methodists and two-thirds of the Presbyterians.

It would seem that these clerics possess little understanding of the principles of religious and civil liberties. They appear to have learned no lessons from history. Nor does each apparently recall the fact that, in centuries past, members of their denominations suffered severely because the majority religion forced their religion upon them and thus breached their convictions.

Curiously, the chief opposition arose, not from those religious organizations whose religious prerogatives would be breached by this Sunday Law (such as Sabbath-keepers like Seventh-day Adventists), members of non-Christian faiths (such as Moslems), nor even from free-thinkers, agnostics or atheists, but from “twelve Bendigo tourism and business organizations.” Ibid., February 23, 1998. Thus financial loss appeared to be a greater motivating force than potential loss of civil and religious liberties. Two Seventh-day Adventist laymen, Donald Wilson of Mildura and Lance Mc Neill of Bendigo were exceptions to this statement. They wrote a number of letters setting forth their objections to the city’s leading newspaper, The Bendigo Advertiser.

Alerted of this crisis of religious liberty upon his return from a speaking tour of Singapore and India, just one week prior to the commencement of the postal vote, with the issue being judged to be very finely balanced between those supporting and those opposing the matter, Russell Standish decided to take up the issue. Two advertisements were inserted in the Bendigo newspaper and one letter to the editor written. The statements in these media avenues were as follows:

Advertisement One—

March 14, 1998

Sunday Trading Referendum

March 16–April 3

Objection No. 1


This referendum has been promoted by Christians living in the Bendigo District who are convicted that Sunday is a sacred day of worship. They have organized their campaign under the slogan Save Our Sundays (SOS).

Thinking Christians, believers in other faiths and non-believers will ask themselves the crucial question before delivering their vote, Save Our Sundays From What?

Since its founding, Sunday-worshipers in Bendigo have possessed perfect liberty to:

  • Worship on Sundays
  • Close their businesses on Sundays
  • Refrain from shopping on Sundays
  • Pursue their children’s education on days other than Sunday

So from what does Sunday have to be saved?

We thank God and the Australian Constitution that all convicted Sunday observers in Bendigo possess their inalienable right to religious liberty. This is true freedom. Wise statesmen 100 years ago guaranteed this liberty in our Australian Constitution which was confirmed by the citizens of our nation in an Australia-wide referendum.

Article 116 states: “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

Do the citizens of Bendigo wish to contravene our wise Constitution—

  • by establishing the religious convictions of one segment of citizens?
  • by imposing their religious observances on others?
  • by prohibiting the free exercise of religion?

Seventh-day Adventists and Jews observe the Bible Sabbath (Saturday) as a day upon which they refrain from business. They do not seek to impose their convictions upon other citizens of Bendigo.

Moslems keep Friday holy. They too have refrained from seeking to enforce their religious practice upon those citizens of Bendigo not of their faith.

Citizens of the city who possess no religious convictions whatsoever have not sought a referendum to empower the city authorities to enforce work and business activities on those who possess sincere religious objections to such practices on their days of worship. On what moral grounds then do Sunday-keepers seek the enforcement of their beliefs?

The issue at stake in this referendum is the preservation of the religious and civil liberties of every citizen of Bendigo.

Vote NO in the Sunday trading referendum and preserve the freedoms of all dwellers in Bendigo. Let Bendigo set an example to Australia as a city which by vote of its citizens has declared its city to be one of freedom for all.

Dr. Russell Standish

Advertisement Two—

March 21, 1998

Sunday Trading Referendum

March 16–April 3

Objection No. 2

(See Bendigo Advertiser, March 14 for No. 1)


Save Our Undeniable Liberties (SOUL)

Bendigo citizens have the unique privilege to signal their defense of freedom in the present referendum. It is vital that every citizen votes in this referendum for your civil and religious liberties are at stake. This is no trivial matter.

These liberties have been bought over the centuries by men and women who suffered imprisonment, torture and death rather than yield their inalienable rights to religious and civil liberties.

  • John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) spent seven years (1661–1668) in Bedford Prision in defense of his right to practice and proclaim his religious convictions. He was a Puritan. He followed the Calvinist theory akin to that of the Presbyterian Church today.
  • In 1661 John James was hanged, drawn and quartered in London because he preached on Saturday contrary to the convictions of the majority.
  • William Penn (founder of the state of Pennsylvania) was only preserved from execution in 1670 for his practice of preaching the Quaker faith in London by the resistance of four of the twelve jurors to convict him. These jurors suffered torture and imprisonment for their stand.

The 1688–89 British Bill of Rights which is part of the Victorian State Constitution emerged as a protection against such persecution and compulsion. Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians and other Sunday-keeping Christians all have a long and tragic history of persecutions for their faith.

Members of these faiths require and merit full religious and civil liberties as much as do Saturday-keepers (such as Seventh-day Adventists and Jews), Friday keepers (Moslems) as well as atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers.

A prohibition upon Sunday trading will deprive every citizen of Bendigo, irrespective of his or her religious persuasion, of religious and civil liberties.

Vote NO in the Sunday Trading Referendum.

Every breach of civil and religious liberties, however piously supported and however little it may appear to encroach upon our liberties, is a large step towards a state of coercion of conscience which, in a large measure, our nation has happily rejected. Sunday-keepers have as much at stake in this referendum as do other citizens.

The words of Winston Churchill spoken on October 5, 1938 in another setting, are full of challenge to the citizens of Bendigo as they consider their vote in the Sunday Trading Referendum.

“Do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless, by supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again, and take our stand for freedom as in the olden times.” Into the Battle, 53.

Vote NO in the Sunday Trading Referendum to preserve the religious and civil liberties of

  • Sunday-keeping Christians
  • Sabbath (Saturday)-keeping Christians
  • Believers of Non-Christian faiths
  • Those without religious convictions

Dr. Russell Standish


Dear Sir,

In my separate advertisements in the Bendigo Advertiser of March 14 and 21, I have dealt with the secular aspects of the religious and civil liberty issues in the present Sunday Trading Referendum.

In this letter I address the religious issues involved. The basis of this Save our Sunday campaign is the sacred nature of Sunday observance. But is Sunday worship a fulfillment of the fourth commandment which enjoins Bible believers to keep the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8)? The same commandment states that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus 20:10. Emphasis supplied.

The Bible alone must decide which day is the seventh-day Sabbath. This it does unequivocally. Speaking of Good Friday, Scripture states, “And that day was the preparation day, and the Sabbath drew on.” Luke 23:54. Thus the Sabbath day was the day following Good Friday. Further, speaking of Easter Sunday, the Bible records, “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” Matthew 28:1. Here Easter Sunday is clearly identified as the first day of the week and the day after the Sabbath. Thus the Sabbath day is shown to be the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Only Saturday therefore can be identified as the Sabbath God declared to be holy.

Both Catholics and Protestants freely agree. The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Rev. Peter Geirmann, says thus:

“Question—Which day is the Sabbath day?

Answer—‘Saturday is the Sabbath day,’

Question—Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

Answer—‘We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church, in the Council of Laodicea (336 A.D.) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday’ ” Second edition, 50.

Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, says: “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath Day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week . . . Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament—absolutely not . . . Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come in use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!” Source Book, 513, 514.

Sir William Domville of the Church of England says: “Centuries of the Christian era passed away before Sunday was observed by the Christian church as the Sabbath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed previous to the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in 321 A.D.” The Sabbath Or An Examination of Six Texts, 291.

The Presbyterian Christian at Work said this: “So some have tried to build the observance of Sunday upon apostolic command, whereas the apostles gave no command on the matter at all . . . The truth is, as soon as we appeal to the ‘Litera scripta’ [the literal script] of the Bible, the Sabbatarians have the best of the argument.” (Edition, April 19, 1883.)

The Methodist Theological Compendium states: “It is true, there is no positive command for infant baptism . . . nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week.”

Dr. W. R. Dale (Congregational) in The Ten Commandments, 106, 107, says, “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath.”

The Lutheran position as revealed in The Augsburg Confession of Faith states: “The observance of the Lord’s day (Sunday) is founded not on any commandment of God, but on the authority of the church.”

Episcopalian spokesman Neander writes in The History of the Christian Religion and Church, 186: “The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them and from the early apostolic church to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.”

Since there is no Biblical basis for Sunday-keeping, the case for the abolition of Sunday trading possesses no religious basis. In addition, there is no moral mandate to enforce one’s personal convictions upon all the citizens of the city.

Yours faithfully,

Russell Standish

BA MB BS (Sydney University) MRCP (UK), FRCP (Edinburgh) FRCP (Glasgow)


The Coming Sunday Law

In Isaiah 43: 1, 2 we read, “But now thus saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” What divine assurance! In old Babylon God graciously gave king Nebuchadnezzar a dream revealing the history of the world to the end of time. Daniel 2 describes the statue with the head of gold, chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay, representing the deterioration of the coming earthly kingdoms. But Nebuchadnezzar determined to change the future by making an image entirely of gold, representing that Babylon would last forever. The king demanded all to worship this golden image.

On the day of dedication, representatives from all people, nations and languages assembled around this great image on the plain of Dura. When the music sounded, the entire assembly fell down and worshipped the golden image except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who worshipped the true God. Jealous wise men quickly told the king that three men had dared disobey his command. When these three were brought before the king, he inquired, “Do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?” Pointing to the fiery furnace, he threatened them with death, if they would not worship his idol, and offered them another chance. If they refused to worship the golden image, “he demanded, ‘who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ Calmly facing the furnace, they said, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so . . . our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us . . . out of thine hand, O king . . . But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.’ . . . [He] direct[ed] that the furnace be heated seven times hotter . . . As His witnesses were cast into the furnace, the Savior revealed Himself to them in person, and together they walked in the midst of the fire. In the presence of the Lord of heat and cold, the flames lost their power to consume . . . But his feelings of triumph suddenly changed . . .‘Did not we cast three men, bound, into the midst of the fire? . . .Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.’ . . . Nebuchadnezzar . . . cried out, ‘Ye servants of the most high God, come forth’ . . . Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth . . . showing themselves unhurt.” Prophets and Kings, 507–509. Not even a hair of their head had been singed. Here we discover a very important lesson to be found. “In this our day, many of God’s servants, though innocent of wrongdoing, will be given over to suffer humiliation and abuse at the hands of those who, inspired by Satan, are filled with envy and religious bigotry. Especially will the wrath of man be aroused against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and at last a universal decree will denounce these as deserving of death.” Ibid., 512. Here we find our subject of this article opening before us—the soon coming Sunday law crisis.


Sunday Laws Will be Passed


Let us look at some important quotations: “Sooner or later Sunday laws will be passed.” Last Day Events, 128. Believe me, it will be sooner than many of us think, for God has graciously given us every detail.

One: This Sunday law will take place by a national act. “Our land is in jeopardy. The time is drawing on when its legislators shall so abjure the principles of Protestantism as to give countenance to Romish apostasy. The people for whom God has so marvelously wrought, strengthening them to throw off the galling yoke of popery, will by a national act give vigor to the corrupt faith of Rome, and thus arouse the tyranny which only waits for a touch to start again into cruelty and despotism.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 410. What dramatic words!

Two: The enforcement of this Sunday law will be mandatory, as a law of the nation. “A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He had blessed and sanctified. This false Sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 985.

Three: The clergy will endeavor to make the Sunday law a religious amendment to the Constitution. “If the people can be led to favor a Sunday law, then the clergy intend to exert their united influence to obtain a religious amendment to the Constitution, and compel the nation to keep Sunday.” Review and Herald, December 24, 1889. This is the result of the current ecumenical movement, which our church leaders are encouraging the members to accept and follow.


Hidden Objectives


Let us consider the hidden objectives of this national Sunday law.

One: It will destroy religious freedom in America. “The law of God, through the agency of Satan, is to be made void. In our land of boasted freedom, religious liberty will come to an end.”Evangelism, 236. What a tragedy! It will be time to dismantle the Statue of Liberty.

Two: This Sunday law will make it possible for papal Rome to force the conscience, as in the dark ages. “Protestants will throw their whole influence and strength on the side of the Papacy; by a national act enforcing the false sabbath they will give life and vigor to the corrupt faith of Rome, reviving her tyranny and oppression of conscience.” Maranatha, 179.

Three: This law will crush the spirit of freedom in America forever. “A great crisis awaits the people of God. Very soon our nation will attempt to enforce upon all the observance of the first day of the week as a sacred day.” Last Day Events, 144. That means business will stop. Religious liberty will end. Sabbath keepers will suddenly find themselves opposed, hated, and thrust into a battle for their very life. “Soon, the Sunday laws will be enforced, and men in position of trust will be embittered against the little handful of God’s commandment keeping people.” Ibid., 129. “Seventh-day Adventists will fight the battle over the seventh-day Sabbath.” Ibid., 144. Every one will fight a battle for his very life.

The enactment of this Sunday law will produce three important steps in the fulfillment of that great prophecy found in Revelation 13: 11–16. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads.”


Papacy • Image • Mark


Notice how The Great Controversy points out these three steps:

  1. Worship of the papacy.
  2. Making an image to the beast
  3. Placement of the mark of the beast.

“The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns shall cause ‘the earth and them which dwell therein’ to worship the papacy—there symbolized by the beast ‘like unto a leopard.’ The beast with the two horns is also to say ‘to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast;’ and, furthermore, it is to command all, ‘both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,’ to receive the mark of the beast . . . It has been shown that the United States is the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns, and that this prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance.” Great Controversy, 578, 579.

First, let us take these words, “to worship the papacy.” “. . . the decree shall go forth requiring all to worship the beast and his image.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 525. This can be nothing more than force. Force is to be used symbolizing a police state. “. . . the beast with the lamblike horns shall cause ‘the earth and them which dwell therein’ to worship the papacy.” Great Controversy, 578.

America is fast becoming a police state. Congress has voted millions for a hundred thousand extra police. Foreign troops are now stationed on American soil to be used, if necessary, to force us to obey the government. Millions of smart cards are being produced this year. Detention camps stand ready. By the stroke of a President’s pen, he can control by Executive Orders: 10995 all communications. 10997 all electric power, petroleum, gas, fuel and minerals. 10998 all food resources and every farm. 10999 all means of transportation, controlling all highways and seaports. 11000 drafts all citizens into government work forces. 11001 effects all health and welfare and educational functions. 11002 empowers the postmaster general to register every citizen nationwide. 11003 all airports and aircraft. 11004 housing and finance authorities, designates areas to be abandoned as unsafe, establishes new locations for populations, and relocation of communities. 11005 all railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities. 11051 gives authority to put the above order into effect in times of increased international tension or economic or financial crisis. Under President Nixon, these orders were combined into Executive order 11490. Thus, the possibility of the image of the beast becomes manifest. “A great crisis awaits the people of God. Very soon our nation will attempt to enforce upon all, the observance of the first day of the week as a sacred day. In doing this, they will not scruple to compel men against the voice of their own conscience to observe the day the nation declares to be the sabbath.” Review and Herald, December 11, 1888.

“With the issue thus clearly brought before him, whoever shall trample upon God’s law to obey a human enactment receives the mark of the beast; he accepts the sign of allegiance to the power which he chooses to obey instead of God. The warning from heaven is: ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation.’ ” Great Controversy, 604, 605.

It is very clear.


World-wide Law


We can now make these statements, each backed by inspiration.

One: A Sunday-keeping decree will be forced upon the world. “The decree enforcing the worship of this day is to go forth to all the world.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 976.

Two: All of the world will accept and will participate. “The Sabbath question is to be the issue in the great final conflict in which all the world will act a part.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 352.

Three: Foreign nations will accept this Sunday law. “Foreign nations will follow the example of the United States. Though she leads out, yet the same crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 395.

Four: All nations will obey. “All nations and tongues and peoples will be commanded to worship this spurious sabbath. This is Satan’s plan to make of no account the day instituted by God, and given to the world as a memorial of creation. The decree enforcing the worship of this day is to go forth to all the world.” Maranatha, 214. Let us look at the buying and selling provision found in Rev 13: 16, 17: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

“There is a time coming when commandment keepers can neither buy nor sell. Make haste to dig out your buried talents. If God has entrusted you with money, show yourselves faithful to your trust; unwrap your napkin, and send your talents to the exchangers, that when Christ shall come, He may receive His own with interest.” Counsels on Stewardship, 40. See Revelation 13:11–17. “But to the obedient is given the promise, ‘He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him: his waters shall be sure.’ Isaiah 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine they shall be fed. ‘They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.’ Psalm 37:19.” Desire of Ages, 40. What more could we ask of God?

We should not overlook another warning by inspiration: “Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their children . . . erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities, that those who wish to leave them will not be able.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 142. “As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation in the decree enforcing the papal Sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 464. ” If in the providence of God we can secure places away from the cities, the Lord would have us do this. There are troublous times before us . . . I see the necessity of making haste to get all things ready for the crisis.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 359.




“The substitution of the false for the true is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. When the laws of men are exalted above laws of God, when the powers of this earth try to force men to keep the first day of the week, know that the time has come for God to work. He will arise in His majesty, and will shake terribly the earth.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 980.

“When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. “The coming of Christ is nearer than when we first believed . . . The judgments of God are in the land. They speak in solemn warning, saying; ‘Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.’ Matthew 24:44 . . . Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The hours of probation are fast passing . . . Let us not be found sleeping on guard. Let no one say in his heart or by his works, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming.’ Let the message of Christ’s soon return sound forth in earnest words of warning. Let us persuade men and women everywhere to repent and flee from the wrath to come . . . We are not to be sad, but

cheerful, and we are to keep the Lord Jesus ever before us. He is soon coming, and we must be ready and waiting for his appearing. Oh, how glorious it will be to see Him and be welcomed as His redeemed ones! Long have we waited, but our hope is not to grow dim . . . I feel as if I must cry aloud: ‘Homeward bound!’ We are nearing the time when Christ will come in power and great glory to take His ransomed ones to their eternal home . . . Long have we waited for our Savior’s return. But nonetheless sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home. There Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God and will explain to us the dark providences through which on this earth He brought us in order to perfect our characters. There we shall behold with undimmed vision the beauties of Eden restored. Casting at the feet of the Redeemer the crowns that He has placed on our heads, and touching our golden harps, we shall fill all Heaven with praise to Him that sitteth on the throne.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 252, 253.


For more information:

Elder Lawrence Nelson 

600 Woodcrest Dr, 

 Myrtle Point, OR 97457