Lately a lot of talk about the need for spiritual revival of Russia. Politicians and religious leaders understand that it is not enough that people simply declare their affiliation to a particular belief, we need faith manifested in action and change for the better life of society and each individual.
Traditionally, Russian spirituality is associated in people’s minds with Orthodoxy. But, on reflection, many would agree that not belonging to a particular confession makes man spiritual, and doing the will of God recorded in Scripture. Like how in different historical periods and in different countries have fulfilled His will? Exploring in previous publications Chapter 13 of the book of Revelation, we saw that the retreat from the word of God just a few centuries after Christ’s death turned the power of the Pope in a godless religious system, suppressing all dissent (remember the Inquisition and the Crusades). The prophecy says that in the last time before the Coming of Christ this government will seek to build on the strongest political state United States of America (read more about this on our website under the heading “Spiritual revival” — approx. ed.). But at all times and in all countries God had faithful people who study the Bible and live according to His principles of truth, sincere faith and love of neighbor. News of the retreat of the official Church from the principles of Jesus Christ and a call back to the Bible sounded particularly acute during the reformation, when it was founded the Protestant branch of Christianity.
Today, among the many Protestant churches stands the Church of Christians of Adventists of the seventh day (more on this Church can be found in the article in this room — approx. ed.), who believes that the most important news on the eve of the Second coming of Jesus Christ is the message of the three angels recorded in the 14th Chapter of Revelation. Let’s briefly examine what is this message and how can it be consonant with the upcoming revival in the East, particularly in Russia.
This is the first message of the three angels: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and every tribe, and kindred, and tongue, and people; and he said in a loud voice: fear God and give Him glory, because came the hour of His judgment, and worship the maker of heaven and earth, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6, 7).
As can be seen from the text, the message of the first angel is the recognition of God the Creator. This implies the rejection of the ungodly theory of evolution, which nurtures the Catholic Church. At the same time, the traditional attitude among the Russian Christians were praising God as the Creator of all things. The traditional view of the creation in the Russian Orthodox Church coincides with the traditional Adventist view: God made the world in seven literal days. The fact that in Russian schools and universities today still continues the dominance of evolutionism, due to the unhealthy legacy of the atheist period. Unlike Catholic Church, Orthodox Christians do not support the theory of evolution. Thus, the Russian Christians brought up in the context of Orthodoxy, it will be easier to break with the ungodly theory of evolution than their Western brethren. One of the necessary steps to spiritual revival in Russia, therefore, must be the rejection of the widespread propaganda of the theory of evolution and the recognition of God as Creator of the Universe.
Adventists believe that the seal of God’s creation, without which it is hardly possible true worship of God as Creator, is the observance of the Sabbath day that the Lord rested from his labors of creation, and which is commanded to keep all those who love Him. In this respect, the Orthodox Church is not so far removed from the biblical understanding and acceptance of the Sabbath by Orthodox Christians seems quite possible. The more that the official teaching of the Orthodox Church still honors the Sabbath.
Here’s some excerpts from the book Andrei Kuraev “Protestant Orthodoxy” in which the author insists that the Orthodox Church never agreed with the Catholic Church that the Sabbath was allegedly rescheduled for Sunday: “the Adventists differ from other Protestants that in their teachings, a holiday is not a Sunday, but the Sabbath day. The commandment “honor the Sabbath day”, they claim, are not canceled and must be respected in the new Testament era. The celebration of the Sabbath established by the Lord. The celebration of Sunday has set the Pope. The authority of these people is clearly disproportionate. Neither man alone nor the Cathedral can not cancel the commandment of God, and therefore, it is necessary to recognize the historic sin of Christianity and return to the celebration of the Sabbath. Well, I agree with the Adventists. In fact, to cancel the celebration of the Sabbath, established by God, no one can. No one can postpone the day of a religious festival from Saturday to Sunday. Furthermore, hearing such arguments of Adventists, I am ready to thank them for a completely fair criticism of Catholicism……
Adventists used to argue with Catholics. And we are not Catholic, and so do not automatically transfer to Russia in the Orthodox world arguments, intended to crush the Catholic tradition. In Orthodoxy preserved much more of the Bible than in Western Christianity. For example, in the Orthodox Liturgy still days go from evening to morning. Not “night and day — day off”, and “there was evening and there was morning, one day”… Even more important to know that in the Orthodox calendar Saturday is still the seventh day of the week. Saturday ends the week and Sunday it begins…
… The Orthodox Church still celebrates the Sabbath, but even in the dispute with seventh-day Adventists few Orthodox will be able to remember what his own Church completely recognizes and fulfills this commandment of Moses. And it is quite forgotten that in the first three centuries of its life the Christian Church did its main holiday, that day of the week, which all people thought it was the first rather than the last weekday, not a weekend”.
Unfortunately, history shows that in the Orthodox Church there were attempts to abolish the Sabbath. Before the XVI th century, the status of the Sabbath in the Russian Christianity was indeed extremely high. The Sabbath day was not allowed to do any work. The situation changed with the coming to power of tsarina Sofia Paleolog, the protege of the Pope, who, about 1505, the year gave the inquisitorial persecution of Sabbath-keepers. The most prominent statesmen of Russia were then publicly burned at red square.
The Catholic Church openly calls the celebration of the first, not the seventh day of the week credit. But to the end “okatolichit” the Orthodox Church and abolish the Sabbath neither she nor her followers had failed. “Stoglavy Sobor”, convened during the reign of Ivan IV in 1551, made the decision, which has still not abolished the Orthodox Church. It States that in addition to Sundays Christians should rest and worship and the Sabbath day in all the Russian Orthodox Church. It is unity of the position of the official authority of the apostles Peter and Paul (Cathedral Stoglav, pp. 270 – 271).
Alas, the veneration of the Sabbath day today is more a theory than a practice of the Russian Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, such a theoretical, dogmatic recognition of the Sabbath allows us to hope that the coming revival will raise the question about the observance of God’s commandments about the Sabbath. This will serve as a guarantee that the final battle between God’s truth and the retreat of the people of Russia will be on the side of Christ and biblical truth.