Historical video documentary on the Seventh day
If you would like to see or purchase an unbiased documentary hosted by TV actor Hal Holbrook on the History of the Sabbath, select the link “The Seventh Day.” This is a five-part television documentary series tracing the remarkable story of those who honoured the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath throughout history. Produced for commercial television, it features beautiful location footage, classic art, illustrative re-enactments, interviews with experts, and solid biblical and historical documentation. There are unbiased interviews with over 50 experts from all walks of life on the History of the Sabbath which have PhD's in their respective fields, mostly history and theology.
The “The Seventh Day” web site has six sample video clips which you can also access from here to watch on this series. This is by far one of the best productions ever made on the history of the Sabbath. Below is some more information on this excellent series.
The Seventh Day - Part One Overview
Origins - Views of human beginnings from Babylonian and Aztec myths as well as from the Bible and the Koran.
The Evolution Explanation - Darwin's theory of evolution challenges traditional view of origins.
Beyond chance - A case against blind chance as a logical explanation of human origins.
Intelligent Designer - The Bible's portrayal of Creation and the Creator.
The Architecture of Time - The week and the Sabbath in the structure of human life.
Point of Contact - The weekly Sabbath in man's relationship to God.
A Day for All Mankind - The universal and perpetual purpose for the weekly day of rest.
Unholy Sabbath - National disaster strikes the “chosen people” due, in part to the neglect of the Sabbath.
Sabbath Around the World - Somehow the concept of Sabbath extended into the culture and language of many peoples.
Reform - Revival of Sabbath observance among the Jews who returned from exile results in acts of heroism and tragedy.
The Seventh Day - Part Two Overview
Religion in Rome - A summary view of Roman religions during the time of Jesus.
The Jewish Sabbath - Strict Sabbath-keeping marked the Jews as unique.
The Sabbath Reformer - The Bible portrays Jesus as a revolutionary Sabbath keeper.
Prophecy - Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the continuing Christian observance of the Sabbath.
Christians and Jews - The two groups shared a view of a personal God and of the weekly Sabbath, but Christians found new meaning in the holy day.
The Christian Sabbath - Clear evidence for Christian observance of the seventh-day Sabbath in the first century AD.
Sunday Keepers - Second-century Christians in Alexandria and Rome begin observing the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath.
The Day of the Sun - Roman sun worship and its link to Christian Sunday observance.
Sunday Law - Constantine legalizes Sunday as the weekly day of rest in the Roman Empire.
Sabbath Survives - Proof of seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observance into the middle of the fourth century.
The Seventh Day - Part Three Overview
Celtic Christianity - The religious background to the story of St Patrick.
The Real Patrick - Once a slave in Ireland, Patrick responds to a divine call and returns to the Emeral Isle as a missionary.
Celtic Sabbath - Saturday observed as Sabbath by Celtic Christians.
Margaret of Scotland - Margaret comes from England, marries King Malcolm, and attempts to reform Sunday observance in Scotland.
Assault on the Sabbath - The Church of Rome promotes the Sabbath (Saturday) fast as an expression of anti-Jewish sentiments.
Power Struggle - The Sabbath fast becomes a key issue in the rivalry between church leaders in Rome and Constantinople.
Deceptions - The “letter from heaven” threatens Sunday-breakers.
Fight for Truth - Resistance to church/state authority brings tragedy.
John Wycliffe: Champion of Conscience - An Oxford professor focuses new attention on the Bible as the supreme authority for Christian faith and practice.
The Lollards - They take Wycliffe's views to England and beyond.
The Church vs. the Bible - The church-state establishment opposes the spread of the Bible and the ideas of Wycliffe and the Lollards.
The Seventh Day - Part Four Overview
Russian Reformation - This Sabbath-keeping movement reached to the highest levels of Russian society and led to fiery executions in Moscow's Red Square
Ethiopia: Sabbath Crisis - Jesuit missionaries succeeded in converting the Emperor to Roman Catholicism, but attempts to quash Sabbath-keeping resulted in civil war.
The Inquisition - Civil and religious authorities united to root out “heresy.”
Spain: Heart of Intolerance - The “Catholic Monarchs,” Ferdinand and Isabella, used the Spanish Inquisition to rid their church of Jewish heresies.
Goa: Reign of Terror - Inquisitors carried their campaign of religious persecution to the coast of India, part of Portugal's expanding empire.
Sola Scriptura? - Protestant Reformers insisted on the authority of the sacred Scriptures, while Roman Catholic leaders defended their church's stand on tradition.
Radical Reformation - Persecuted by Protestants and Catholics alike, these radical reformers stood for strict adherence to biblical teachings. Among them were new champions of the seventh-day Sabbath.
Sabbath in the North - Church leaders in Norway and Denmark tried to stamp out Sabbath observance among Catholic and Lutheran church members.
The Seventh-day Men - While many Puritan preachers promoted strict Sunday observance, other prominent Englishmen called for a return to the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments.
The Seventh Day - Part Five Overview
Roger Williams - Champion of religious freedom and strong advocate of separation of church and state paves the way for first Sabbath-keeping settlement in Rhode Island.
Seventh-day Baptists - In 1665, Stephen and Anne Mumford carry the seventh-day Sabbath to the New World.
Beisel and the Ephrata Cloister - Conrad Beisel, a young German refugee arrives in Pennsylvania in 1720 forming a tight-knit spiritual community - the Ephrata Cloister. Beisel's Sabbath-keeping community brought into conflict with the Sunday laws of Pennsylvania.
Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians - Count Zinzendorf, a lifelong Lutheran and observer of the seventh-day Sabbath fosters a spiritual renewal among the Moravians - reviving their faith. In 1741 some of Zinzendorf's missionaries arrive in eastern Pennsylvania to begin work among the native American Indians. Believing them to be the ten lost tribes of Israel, reintroduces them to their Jewish heritage and the seventh day Sabbath.
From Millerites to Seventh-day Adventists - Former agnostic Baptist preacher William Miller preaches imminent return of Jesus in 1844. Millerite preacher Fredrick Wheeler convinced by Seventh-day Baptist lady Rachel Oaks Preston, that Saturday is the Sabbath. Shortly thereafter, retired sea captain Joseph Bates also accepts the Sabbath, becomes principle proponent of the seventh day Sabbath, which leads to beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Taipings - Hong Xiuchuan, a peasant farmer in China learns about God through a remarkable vision. His religious zeal sweeps through the oppressed peasant class, inspiring the greatest revolutionary movement of the 19th century. The Taiping leaders took the fourth commandment quite literally, requiring the observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath.
Maniilaq - Eskimo prophet in the mid 1800's learns about the Sabbath without ever reading a Bible or seeing a missionary. Predicts future changes to the Eskimo people, frees the people from the power of the Shamans various taboos and teaches people to honor the seventh day of the week as a day of rest in honor of “Grandfather” in heaven.
Owkwa - Village chief in Guyana receives an amazing dream in the early 1900's. Told how to be healthy, how to be clean, what to eat. He was taught also songs and prophecies; and yes, was even told about Sabbath being a day of rest and worship.
Africa - Scores of independent churches spring up in Africa after the arrival of Protestant missionaries in the eighteenth century, many of which begin keeping the seventh-day Sabbath - Approximately 20 million members today.
Saving Sunday? - Proper observance of Sunday as a holy day seen as requirement for God’s blessings. Disasters attributed to desecration of Sunday. The secularization of Sunday through professional sports, theatres and amusement parks result in strong and influential voices calling for “Sunday blue laws” to limit commercial and private activity on Sunday. In 1888 a Sunday law aimed at preserving the first day of the week as a day of rest and religious observance was challenged by A.T. Jones representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church as being unconstitutional.
Other Sabbatarians - Bible Sabbath Association lists over four hundred Sabbath-keeping churches and denominations which observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. There's the True Jesus Church in China, Seventh Day Baptists and scores of Sabbath-keeping groups that share the generic name “Church of God.” Many of the smaller groups grew out of the World Wide Church of God, founded by Herbert Armstrong. Largest among all these groups are the Seventh-day Adventists with membership totaling more than 14 million.
Sabbath Issues - Seventh-day Sabbath keeping seen by many as a rejection of Christian freedom and leading to legalism. But is it really? Old and New Covenants discussed. Sabbath observance seen as “resting in Christ.”
Sabbath of Prophecy - The place of the Sabbath in Bible prophecy, particularly the prophetic book of Revelation - Chapter 11:19 and 14:6,7 and Isaiah 66:22,23.
Summary - Summary of episodes 1-5. Tracing the Sabbath from it's origin at Creation, it's survival through the centuries despite attempts to regulate it, bury it, or ban it. It's revival through the teachings of early Anabaptists and the English Seventh-day men, despite persecution and martyrdom. Restored to worldwide attention through the Seventh-day Adventist Movement and other groups large and small. And finally experienced in the hearts and lives of Sabbath-keeping Christians in the 21st century. Its continued observance into eternity as a memorial of God’s creative and redemptive work.
Sabbath Day Timeline History
The following timeline is for general information only and has been used here with kind permission from LLT Productions. Its primary value is in showing the chronological relationship between various individuals and events. The dating of many historical persons and events, particularly those earlier than 1000 BCE, is subject to ongoing debate and research. Most items on this timeline are directly related to the content of The Seventh Day television documentary series. Others are included for points of reference.
Dates BCE (BC)
|2450||The Flood (see Genesis 7)|
|1950||— 1775||Abraham keeps God’s commandments, statutes, and laws (Genesis 26)|
|2000||Seven-day week in Sumerian civilization prior to this date|
|1011||— 971||David rules Israel|
|626||— 586||Jeremiah, the prophet - years of ministry|
|620||— 530||Daniel, the prophet|
|605||— 536||Jewish nation in exile|
|600||Birth of Zoroastrianism in Persia|
|551||— 479||Confucius, Chinese wise man|
|500||Birth of Buddhism|
|445||Nehemiah returns to rebuild Jerusalem|
|331||Alexander the Great overthrows the Persian Empire|
|170||Antiochus IV persecutes Jews who won't give up their religion|
|30||Roman Emperor Octavian dedicates Egyptian obelisk to the sun god|
|4||Birth of Jesus|
Dates CE (AD)
|31||Crucifixion of Jesus|
|64||Nero burns Rome, persecutes Christians|
|70||Jerusalem destroyed by Roman army under Titus|
|115||Epistle of Barnabas written in Alexandria|
|120||Christians in Alexandria replace Sabbath observance with Sunday worship|
|135||Jerusalem destroyed again - Jewish religion banned|
|144||Marcion, first great “Christian” heretic|
|150||Justyn Martyr reports on Sunday observance in Rome|
|218||— 222||Elagabalus, emperor of Rome - brings Syrian sun worship to Rome|
|270||— 275||Aurelian, emperor of Rome - establishes sun worship as the state religion|
|284||— 305||Diocletian, emperor of Rome - worships the sun and persecutes Christians|
|306||— 337||Constantine emperor of Rome - first “Christian” emperor|
|313||Constantine legalizes Christian religion|
|314||— 335||Sylvester I is pope - promotes anti-Jewish Sabbath fast|
|321||Edict of Constantine - first law concerning Sunday observance|
|343||— 381||Council of Laodicea - condemns Sabbath observance|
|364||Ambrose (Bishop of Milan) - observes the Sabbath without fasting|
|389||— 461||Patrick - Celtic Christian missionary to Ireland|
|521||— 597||Columba - Celtic Christian missionary leader to Scotland|
|570||— 632||Muhammed, founder of Islam|
|590||— 604||Pope Gregory I (the Great) identifies Sabbath keepers with the anti-christ|
|692||Quinisext Council (Council in Trullo) - condemns the Sabbath fast|
|800||“Epistle of Jesus” arrives in Ireland - warns against desecration of Sunday|
|867||Patriarch Photius denounces Roman Catholic promotion of Sabbath fast|
|1054||Roman Catholic - Eastern Orthodox Schism|
|1070||Margaret becomes queen of Scotland - tries to reform Sunday observance there|
|1201||Eustace of Flay takes “Epistle of Jesus” to England to reform Sunday keeping|
|1231||Pope Gregory IX establishes the medieval Inquisition|
|1350||Strigolniks in Novogorod, Russia, observe the seventh-day Sabbath|
|1414||— 1418||Council of Constance - orders burning of John Hus|
|1428||John Wycliffe's bones dug up and burned|
|1431||Pope Eugenius IV|
|1431||— 1445||Council of Basel - condemns Sabbath keeping by Jewish converts|
|1435||Forced conversion of Jews in Spain|
|1435||Church council in Bergen, Norway, condemns Sabbath observance|
|1469||Marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella unites Aragon and Castille into one nation|
|1480||— 1502||Novgorod-Moscow reform movement - includes Sabbath observance|
|1478||Pope Sixtus IV authorizes Spanish Inquisition|
|1481||First “auto de fe” (public trial) of Spanish Inquisition|
|1482||Pope Sixtus IV protests against Spanish Inquisition|
|1492||Expulsion of Jews from Spain|
|1492||Christopher Columbus “discovers” America|
|1497||Forced conversion of Jews in Portugal|
|1497||— 1499||Vasco da Gama opens the sea route from Europe to India|
|1504||Ivan Kuritsin and other Russian reformers are burned in cages in Red Square|
|1517||Luther nails his 95 Theses to chapel door, thus starting the Reformation|
|1525||Anabaptist Movement begins|
|1529||Andreas Fischer, Anabaptist Sabbatarian preacher, miraculously survives hanging|
|1536||Portuguese Inquistion begins|
|1540||Andreas Fischer is murdered in Slovakia|
|1542||Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary, arrives in Goa|
|1544||Christian III of Denmark prohibits Sabbath keeping|
|1545||— 1563||Roman Catholic Council of Trent|
|1546||Oswald Glaidt, one-time proponent of the Sabbath, is executed in Vienna|
|1541||Christavao da Gama and 400 Portuguese come to the aid of the Ethiopian Emperor|
|1551||Russian Orthodox council authorizes Sabbath worship in Russian churches|
|1560||Branch of the Portuguese Inquisition is established in Goa|
|1560||Constantino Ponce de la Fuente dies in prison under the Spanish Inquisition|
|1617||John Traske, an early “Seventh Day Man,” is arrested in London|
|1628||Theophilus Brabourne publishes first English book promoting seventh-day Sabbath|
|1622||Emperor Susenyos declares Ethiopia a Catholic country; civil war ensues|
|1650||Parliament orders burning of Ockford's book advocating the seventh-day Sabbath|
|1684||Charles Dellon publishes his Account of the Inquisition at Goa|
|1684||Francis Bamfield, prominent “Seventh Day Man,” dies in his London prison cell|
|1720||Conrad Beisel, Sabbath-keeping founder of Ephrata Cloister, arrives in Pennsylvania|
|1722||Count Lugwig von Zinzendorf permits Moravian refugees to settle on his estate in eastern Germany|
|1742||Count Zinzendorf proposes Sabbath observance to Moravian community in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania|
|1830||— 1895||Life of Maniilaq, the Eskimo prophet who learned about the seventh-day Sabbath from one he called “the Grandfather”|
|1844||Millerite Adventists disappointed when Christ did not return during this year|
|1844||A handful of Millerite Adventist preachers and lay people begin to observe the seventh-day Sabbath; this leads to the eventual establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination|
|1851||— 1864||Taiping Revolution in China; the Ten Commandments and observance of seventh-day Sabbath were at the heart of the movement|
|1859||Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species published|
|1888||Senator Henry Blair calls for a national Sunday law; his proposal never makes it out of committee for consideration by the US Congress|
|1896||William Saunders Crowdy founds Church of God and Saints of Christ, a Sabbath-keeping denomination|
|1900||Owkwa, Amerindian village chief, learns about Sabbath, monogamy, etc., from supernatural messenger|
|1926||Herbert W. Amstrong accepts the seventh-day Sabbath as authentic biblical doctrine; goes on to found the Worldwide Church of God|
|1986||Herbert W. Armstrong dies; new leaders of the Worldwide Church of God eventually renounce the seventh-day Sabbath|
|1988||Pope John Paul II issues apostolic letter, Dies Domini, upholding essential nature of the Sabbath but claiming the Roman Catholic Church's authority for the Saturday-Sunday change|
Watch excellent Prophecy Seminars online
If you have a reasonably fast internet connection and would like to watch an online Prophecy Seminar to find out who the little horn of Daniel 7 and the Beast of Revelation 13 is that changed the Sabbath to Sunday, you will find Revelation Reveals the Antichrist very enlightening. You may want to start about 17.5 minutes in to bypass singing items etc. You can also watch History's Greatest Hoax on the truth about the Sabbath day and ideally should be watched first. To watch more from this and other Prophecy Seminars you will find the menus here. Be prepared to discover many mind blowing, lost Bible truths.