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The Christians in Transylvania were among those who discovered that Sunday worship (on the first day of the week) is a man-made tradition, and the seventh-day Sabbath was observed by Jesus and His Apostles. They understood they, too, needed to keep the Sabbath.
When a group of believers in Transylvania in the 15 and 1600s finally received the Bible translated into their own language and read what it actually said about the Sabbath day they were shocked. They realized Sunday worship was a man-made tradition, and that the seventh-day Sabbath was kept by Jesus and His Apostles, so they decided they had no choice but to obey God by keeping the Sabbath as He commanded.
Their story is defined by their leader, a nobleman named Andreas Eossi, whose studies of the Bible led him to a deep conviction that the church establishment of his day was wrong to change the Sabbath to Sunday. He eventually became the leader of a group of Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania, which at its peak numbered more than 20,000 Sabbatarian Christians living and teaching in the forests and mountains of Eastern Europe.
The Christian Church authorities ultimately persecuted them for their religious beliefs, and in 1595 Sabbatarianism was outlawed. Sabbath keepers faced the confiscation of their property and their writings were burned. In many cases, they were put in prison and beaten for their Sabbath conviction. As a result the once large Sabbatarian communities of Eastern Europe all but disappeared and Sabbath-keepers were forced into obscurity, keeping the Sabbath in secret and always fearing they would be found out.
The ultimate reward for obeying God and keeping the fourth commandment awaits faithful Sabbath keepers at Christ’s return. God describes how He will bless Sabbath keepers in the book of Isaiah: “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights... ” (Isaiah 58:13-14)
The Sabbath was ordained from creation and it is mentioned throughout the Bible. The Bible says the Sabbath was made for man because our Creator knows what’s good for us, and designated the Sabbath day—Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset—for a spiritual purpose.
In most of the countries in our modern world we are able to keep the seventh-day Sabbath in peace. God knows we need time to step back from the craziness of this world and refocus. If we can meet together with people who believe the same way we do on that day our worship, fellowship and spiritual understanding are further enhanced.
The Good News Magazine (Nov-Dec 2015))