Our doctrine is predicated on the belief, validated throughout Scripture, that God reveals Himself through His prophets. In the spirit of Amos 3:7, we believe that prophetic revelation did not terminate in ancient Israel. For in 1892, in Guthrie, Oklahoma, the Almighty revealed Himself to William Saunders Crowdy in a vision, spoke to him in a dream, and ordained him a Prophet unto the nations. Among Prophet Crowdy’s followers, this revelatory encounter led to the re-establishment of the faith of the biblical Israelites and a renewed adherence to the biblical tenets of the “Ancient Judaic Religion” as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, we say of Prophet William Saunders Crowdy: he brought back, as it were, the “Ancient of Days” of biblical antiquity. We refer to our Judaic religious faith as “Prophetic Judaism” since it came down to us by divine revelation and because of its continuing reliance upon the medium of prophecy (the Spirit of Prophecy) as the vehicle for God’s revelation.
Prophet Crowdy preached a “Plan of Salvation,” based upon the “Seven Keys” of his original revelation, his elaboration of the Seven Keys in “The Bible Story Revealed,” and his subsequent prophetic pronouncements. The final key of the Seven is the Ten Commandments that were revealed to the prophet Moses on Mount Sinai. (“If you keep these Commandments heaven is yours as true as the Rock of Ages.”) This plan is a way of life, grounded in the faith of our Hebrew and Israelite forefathers and in the promulgation of that faith in the teaching of the prophet Jesus. It is designed to relegate all aspects of one’s life to purity in the pursuit of the Will of God. It encompasses the observance of the biblical Judaic holy days: the Hebrew New Year, the Seventh Day Sabbath, the Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and others that are mandated by Scripture. Its intent is to bring the people of God together into one family, a community of faith, loving, praising, and obeying the God of Abraham, while simultaneously loving and caring for one’s neighbor. In 1896 our Congregation was incorporated under the name “Church of God and Saints of Christ,” the inscription on the first of the Seven Keys.
The chief doctrinal tenets of our faith are briefly summarized as follows:
“On these two Commandments hang all of the Law and the Prophets.”
One of the fundamental beliefs of our congregation is the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are recorded in the Bible in Exodus 20:2-17.
One of our Congregation’s most important observances is the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the weekly day of rest and worship observed by adherents of Judaism and some Christian groups. According to the Bible, the Sabbath was instituted at Creation. The story of Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:3) closes with an account of God’s hallowing of the seventh day, because He rested from His creative labors on this day. The Sabbath is also the only religious festival mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
The Sabbath is the time between sunset* on the sixth day of the week, or Friday, and sunset on the seventh day of the week, or Saturday. (*The reason that the Sabbath does not begin at 12 midnight is that unlike today, days during Biblical times did not begin at midnight but at sunset or even. See Leviticus 23:32 and Genesis 1:5 for clarification). Exodus 20:8-10 points out which day of the week is the Sabbath:
“Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant….”
Although the Ten Commandments explicitly state what the Sabbath is, who instituted the Sabbath? We learn from Genesis 2:1-3 that the first Sabbath was kept by God Himself.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended his work which He had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made; and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it….”
There are several scriptural references in the Torah (first five books) which detail the significance of the Sabbath and why it should be observed. Beginning with Exodus 16:4-5, 12-15, 19-30, we learn that the Sabbath was a day of rest for the Israelites. In the Wilderness of Sin, before the Israelites reached Mt. Sinai, God gave them a double supply of manna on the sixth day of the week in order that the Sabbath be kept as a day of rest. (See Exodus 20:11; 34:21; and 35:1-2 for other explanations of the Sabbath as a day of rest and memorial of creation). Also within Exodus, the Israelites were instructed to keep the Sabbath as a sign and perpetual covenant between God and them (Exodus 31:12-17). Finally, in Deuteronomy 5:6,12-15, Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s command to observe the Sabbath and told them that they were under a special obligation to keep it, because God had delivered them from bondage in Egypt. In this reference, the Israelites are also commanded to keep the Sabbath throughout their generations.
Outside of the wealth of information detailing the observance of the Sabbath in the Torah, substantial information is also available to show that this practice continued throughout Old Testament times. The following scriptures attest to this. The ones marked by an asterisk are particularly relevant:
I Chronicles 23:31 II Chronicles 2:4 II Chronicles 8:12,13 Nehemiah 9:13-14** Nehemiah 10:33-34 Nehemiah 13:15-22**
There is also proof that the ancient prophets observed the Sabbath and in some cases admonished the Israelites for not keeping it as well:
Isaiah 56:1-8** Isaiah 58:13,14** Isaiah 66:23** Jeremiah 17:19-27** Ezekiel 20:11-24** Ezekiel 22:8,26 Ezekiel 23:38 Ezekiel 44:23-24** Ezekiel 46:1-4** Amos 8:4-5
It is a common misconception that the Sabbath (the seventh day) was changed in the New Testament and more specifically that Jesus changed the day. In his own words, however, Jesus refutes this notion that he changed the Law (Matthew 5:17). Instead Jesus, like the former prophets, worshipped on the Sabbath (Mark 1:14-17,21,22; Luke 4:14-20; Luke 4:31-37). While Sunday, the first day of the week, is mentioned in the Bible, it is not distinguished as a day of worship in the Bible. See the references listed below:
Matthew 28:1 Acts 20:7-8 Mark 16:2,9 I Corinthians 16:2 Luke 24:1 Revelation 1:10**
The Bible also records that Paul kept the Sabbath as a day of rest:
Acts 13:14-16,27,42-44 Acts 15:21 Acts 16:12-15 Acts 18:1-4 Hebrews 4:4-11
From thoroughly reviewing the New Testament, one will find that there is no dispute between Jews and early Christians on which day was the Sabbath. The Sabbath is mentioned 59 times in the New Testament, and it bears the same name “Sabbath” that it bore in the Old Testament. No where in the New Testament is the Sabbath abolished or changed.
So we continue to observe the Sabbath on the seventh day (Saturday) because a commandment was given by God to the Israelites.
Adherents of Judaism observe the Sabbath in different ways: Some will not light a candle, work, exchange money, or engage in any financial activity on the Sabbath. Many go to the tabernacle or synagogue on Friday evening and Saturday as a reprieve from the hustle of the world to worship God and fellowship with their brothers and sisters. The Sabbath is a time for physical relaxation from work and spiritual renewal. One is to refrain from the following:
The above activities should be done on other days or on the Day of Preparation (Friday). See Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54,56.
The Sabbath Day was instituted by God at Creation as a day of rest. The Israelites were commanded to keep it as a day of rest throughout their generations. The ancient Israelites kept it, the Old Testament Prophets kept it, Jesus kept it, and the early Christians kept it. All who observe the Sabbath according to the Ten Commandments and Biblical teachings should feel assured of doing the right thing!!