The Sabbath Day (part 2): Sunday or Monday or Saturday?
Many times the Pharisees accused JESUS of not observing the Sabbath and Jesus made it clear that the Sabbath was meant to serve man and not the vice versa (Mt 12:1-8, 12). In these verses, Jesus makes it clear that there were no special things to be done or not done on Sabbath. He simply emphasized good deeds. And from common sense, good deeds are for everyday (John 5:17). St. Paul explains this when he questions the Galatians, “Now that you know who the true God is or rather are known by God, how is that you are turning back to those miserable principles?” (Please, read Galatians 4:9-10). This idea is explained in Romans 14:5-6) where it is put that whoever considers one day as a special one and the other takes all days to be alike, they both do it for the Lord. In other words, all days should be made holy. The Jewish Sabbath was abolished at the cross where Christ canceled the written code with its regulations (Col. 2:4).
So how come most Christian churches fellowship on Sunday? The churches that advocate for Sabbath day as Saturday emphasize that the change from Saturday to Sunday is more political than scriptural. What is already clear with us is that The Sabbath day still rests on Saturday as the seventh day of the week and that has not changed. And also the Christian gatherings on Sundays shouldn’t be considered as a transfer of Saturday Sabbath to Sunday Sabbath, that is unscriptural. Also, Sabbath is part of the Old Testament law, and Christians are free from the bondage of the law (Galatians 4:1-26, Rom 6:14).
According to www.ucg.org , the change from Saturday to Sunday gatherings happened late after the New Testament was written. This website claims that the hostility against Christianity and the persecution of the church that characterized the Roman Empire declined the follow-up of this Sabbath law among the Jews. Great figures pointed out to have been responsible for this move include Barnabas and Justin (their writings in A.D 135 and 150 respectively), Emperor Hadrian (A.D 117-135). According to this website, Christians instead turned to worshiping the sun (Sunday), a god of the Romans. And when Christianity was later declared the official religion in Romans, it was already dirty and among the promoters of this already dirty Christianity was the Roman Emperor Constantine. And he officially made Sunday as the day of resting (A.D.321 Law). As time went on, Saturday was dying and Sunday rising.
The website, however, highlights how the reformation brought in by Protestants in later years took Sunday with it but on the grounds that it was a special day of Christ’s resurrection rather that man’s authority to change God’s laws as the Catholics had portrayed.
But is it true that the early church didn’t observe the first day of the week? We have already seen how the whole New Testament doesn’t waste any time emphasizing the Sabbath day. Also, we have seen that wherever the emphasis appears whether in New Testament or Old Testament, it is in reference to the Jews not the gentiles or the church. And we have seen St. Paul and Jesus appearing in synagogues on Sabbath day not to celebrate with the saints but to preach them as lost sheep that deserve salvation. And we have observed that whenever Jesus appeared after resurrection and the day is mentioned, it is always Sunday (the first day of the week).
Sabbath keeping is not required of any Christian-be it Saturday or Sunday. Instead, the first day of the week (Sunday), the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) celebrates the new creation with Christ as our resurrected Head. We are not obliged to follow the mosaic Sabbath-resting, but are now free to follow the risen Christ-serving. And there are many scriptures that say this; Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2. Remember, it was on the first day that Christ appeared to His followers who were gathered in a room (John 20:19) and the bible makes it clear that after one week (i.e on the next Sunday), these Christians gathered again (John 20:26). That is the Lord’s Day of victory, of deliverance from sin of all Christians just as the Sabbath was a deliverance sign and covenant from slavery in Egypt for all the Jews.
1. There is no such a thing as obligation to the Sabbath day in the true Christian world-Be it Saturday or Sunday.
2. Christians are called upon to work every day and making God as the integral part of their daily lives. Every day deserves to be for the Lord by keeping it holy through faith and good deeds.
3. Sunday is celebrated as the Lord’s Day of man’s deliverance from the slavery of sin through faith in the resurrected Christ.
4. Whatever others believe in that may seem different to what you know is all meant for God’s glory.
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