Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Sabbath or Sunday?

The Sabbath or Sunday?

Which should a Christian observe?

For seventeen hundred years or so, most Christians have been meeting to worship on Sunday. In the past few decades, there has been a growing movement among Gentiles to join the remnant Jews who are Messianic and embrace a Hebraic form of Christianity. Some are merely interested in learning more of the culture of Jesus day to better understand the Scriptures, and embrace celebrating a Christianized version of the Passover, sometimes in lieu of celebrating Easter, and sometimes in conjunction with it. Others embrace Judaism to the point of embracing an almost orthodox Jewish lifestyle. What is becoming more common between the two ends of the pole and everywhere in between is the idea of moving to worship on the Sabbath or Saturday rather than Sunday. There have been some groups who have done this for years, without embracing Hebraic roots. The Seventh-day Adventists, and the Seventh-day Baptists. They retain their own theology while moving the worship to Saturday. The question is, which day is the correct day of worship? Did God change from Saturday to Sunday with the new covenant, or did Satan corrupt Christianity and have the day moved for his own purposes?

The church now states that Sunday is the day of worship, as that is the day the Lord was resurrected, that the New Testament church observed it, and it supersedes what God said in the Old Testament. Is that true? Let us go to the source (the Bible) first and see what is said there, then we will look at the history of the church to see what happened.

In the Old Testament, God gives specific directions concerning the Sabbath. The word Sabbath” means a period of rest, and God specifies it is as being a day long. While the first time that resting on the seventh day of the week is mentioned it is not referred to as the Sabbath, it is set apart as a holy day.

Gen. 1:2-3 “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: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
When God gives the command to Israel about the Sabbath, it is not something new that He has dreamed up just for them. The seventh day of the week has been holy to God since the very first week. He tells Israel to remember the Sabbath, to set it apart as holy and not to profane it. As far as God is concerned, it has always been a holy day. Therefore, this command to Israel is larger than just applying to Israel. It is something that was established by God at creation and that He Himself observed. What appears to have happened is that the rest of the world has not been observing it. It has been forgotten, which is why Israel is told to remember it. When God first mandated the Sabbath, it was merely a day of rest with no particular restrictions, but as time continued, God became more specific with his rules about the Sabbath. First He commanded that no work be done, not only by the Israelites, but also by their servants, strangers, and animals.

Ex. 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, 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, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth,, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Lev. 23:3 “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.”
Deut. 5:12-15 “Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm, therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.”

Now God makes it clear that not only is the Sabbath a day of rest for Israel, their servants, the strangers in their gates, their animals, and to remember creation, but it is a day set apart to remember God's goodness in bringing them out of the slavery of Egypt where they never had a day's rest. . Next God adds punishment to the breaking of this commandment. The observing of the Sabbath is not only given as a commandment, but it is part of the very covenant that God makes with Israel, and there are dire consequences to breaking it. This covenant is an eternal one, so the commandment can never be rescinded as far as God' people are concerned.

Ex. 31:13 “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Lev. 15:30, 32-36 “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off his iniquity shall be upon him. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, the man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.”

God insisted upon the keeping of the Sabbath rest to the extent that He took pains to ensure Israel had no excuse not to keep it. In Exodus 16 we read how God was giving them manna every day in the wilderness. They were only to gather enough for the day, and if they gathered more it became wormy and rotten by the next day. However, on the sixth day they were to gather a double portion, bake or boil it up for the morrow and it would still be good the next day. To make sure they did this, God withheld the manna on the Sabbath, so those who did not gather it on the sixth day went hungry that day. This was the first time there were any specific instructions as to what work they absolutely could not do. Interestingly enough, this rule was given before the giving of the law at the mount, which means that the Sabbath was not an unknown thing to them when God gave the law. They were to rest and cease from all labor including the gathering and cooking of food. This day was originally given as a gift from God just for rest's sake. Now when God tells them to remember it at the giving of the law, it carries more meaning, as having been slaves there would have been no day of rest for them in Egypt. God’s commandments were never supposed to be a burden, but instead make life easier. Modern science has done some research and oddly enough (really not oddly when you think of it) it has been found that people are much healthier both in body and mind if they rest one day out of every seven. Note that they decided one day out of seven was just the amount needed, not one out of five or six or eight.

Israel is later given a few more specific instructions. They are not to kindle a fire. Fortunately they were not in a cold part of the world, so this was not about heat and having to be cold, as in cold weather, a fire would not have to be kindled, it would simply be continuously being fed so that it would not go out. This is about cooking, as you would kindle a fire every time you wanted to cook a meal. In effect it is saying that women are not to slave over a hot stove to fix hot meals on the Sabbath. It’s cold leftovers. That is why they had to not only gather manna on Friday, but had to cook it up also. They are also told not to plow or harvest, but as they would require using the animals for this, it really is not a new command, but more of a reminder that even though the land or harvest calls, they are to take the day off. It is assumed that animals would have to be fed though, so one assumes that animals such as chickens would have something thrown out for them. It is assumed that the animals would be left to graze from the day before. Some animals (cows, goats) may have had to be milked. We know though that it was allowable to do some things for the animals, as Christ mentions that if a sheep is in trouble, does not the shepherd go and rescue it. Matthew 12:11 “And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?” Of course, this was in response to the accusation that was made against Him of being guilty of Sabbath-breaking for healing on the Sabbath, but the point is, it was allowable to do good for someone or something in trouble on the Sabbath and not consider it work.

In Isaiah we find that it is not enough to keep the Sabbath outwardly, but it must be kept inwardly by being just and righteous. Also not only the Israelites are blessed for keeping the Sabbath, but eunuchs and strangers (gentiles) who join themselves to the Lord. Is. 56:1-7 “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”

There is a special blessing on people who observe the Sabbath. Is. 58:13-14 “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

While many like to feel that these promises have no relevance to Christians today, this is not true. While we may not be of the physical lineage of Jacob (and nobody can know for certain that they are not, since the ten tribes of Israel were dispersed centuries ago), we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham and the promises that are individual in nature, not to the nation of Israel as a whole, apply to us as well. 

In Jeremiah and Ezekiel, God warns what the consequences of not keeping the Sabbaths (whether the weekly, or yearly ones) will be. As a result of ignoring God’s warnings, Israel went into captivity several times.

So to sum up the Old Testament teachings, the Sabbath was declared a holy day and used by God to rest on the first week of creation. He told Israel to remember this holy day and to observe it as a memorial to Him and as a sign of the covenant between them, that they were a holy nation unto Him. They were to keep the day holy by not working, nor pursuing their own pleasures (which might be restful), nor to speak their own words, but to honor God and delight in Him on that day. To do so meant a blessing, to not do so meant death. 

Christianity today says that when Jesus reduced the Ten Commandments to two, love God and love your neighbor, that incorporated commandments 1-3 and 5-10 but that He deliberately left out commandment 4. Is that really true? God has said that the purpose of the Sabbath is to remember God’s creation and the fact that He declared the seventh day of the week holy and set apart right at the very start of creation. It was to be a memorial to God and His act of creating the world and us. It was later commanded to Israel to be remembered. It was not a new idea; it was one that had been lost over time. As nobody but Israel was brought back into observance of it, it would also serve as a perpetual sign of God's covenant with them. 

The Sabbath should have been observed right from creation, but man chose to reject God and His ways, so it was forgotten. God has always intended that the seventh day be a day of rest. So to honor God, to love God, do we not have to observe the very memorial that He Himself established to memorialize His work? Is that not a very part of the other three previous commandments and part of what Christ reduced to one commandment, loving God? The first three commandments have to do with worship of God, the fourth commandment gives us the time to worship. There is a hymn titled, “Take Time to Be Holy.” Being holy takes time, so God gave us the time to do so. He set aside an entire day for us to do nothing but rest and spend time with Him.

There were some exceptions to the rule. The priests in the temple had to offer sacrifices on that day. That was work, but it was temple work and mandated by God. They were not doing their own pleasure, but pleasing God. Therefore God allowed this work. One presumes that they took another day of the week off, as if one looks at the passage in the Ten Commandments, one sees that it is not specified that Saturday is the day to be observed, but that one day out of seven is to be observed. As God rested on the seventh day of the week and made it holy, so He had Israel rest on the seventh day, but if one looks at the spirit of the law instead of the letter, the spirit of the law can be observed by setting aside one day of the week as holy to the Lord even if it is not Saturday. One assumes though that it is only the priests or shepherds of God who must work on that day who really have this excuse. Most Christians should be able to observe the Sabbath if they so desire. There are those who are required by the nature of their jobs to work on the Sabbath (police, firemen, doctors, nurses), but I have discovered that often if keeping the Sabbath is really important to these people, as they view it as being obedient to the Lord, the Lord will often do something to their schedules to allow them to have the Sabbath off. Such is the case in my own household. In fact a promotion was the way God brought it about. 

Getting back to the history of the Sabbath, we can see that Israel was observing the Sabbath when Jesus came on the scene. He observed the Sabbath as a good Jew should, and as one who had to keep the Law perfectly. It was His custom to go into the synagogues on the Sabbath to teach.
Luke 4:15-16 “And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”

John 18:20 “Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.”

Matt. 4:23 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, [on the Sabbath] and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

The problem that arose when Yeshua began His ministry came because, by that time, the simple rules that God had established had been grossly inflated by the over-conscientious rabbis through the ages. They were (supposedly) so concerned that nobody break a rule, that they built multiple barriers around them so that one would have to break a whole lot of rules before getting to the actual law. As a result, the rules became so burdensome that the people grew to resent God and His laws altogether. The day was to be a day off from work; they made it a nightmare. When Yeshua showed up, he went about doing all sorts of things which the Pharisees found greatly objectionable.

In Matthew 12 we see that Yeshua and His disciples went through the field on the Sabbath day picking the grain and eating it, as they were hungry. They were accused harvesting, and therefore Sabbath-breaking. Yeshua corrected them by telling how David took the shewbread from the temple to feed himself and his men even though it was meant for the priests, but was not guilty of Sabbath-breaking. He also pointed out that the priests work on the Sabbath with God’s approval. He then declared that He is Lord of the Sabbath. The point being that we should observe the spirit of the law, not a lot of man-made rules. He then went into the synagogue and healed a man. The Pharisees then tried to trip Him up, so they could accuse Him, by asking if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. He replied that a person would rescue a sheep, if it were in trouble, and not think it Sabbath-breaking, so how much better is it to rescue or heal a man. Are not both doing good deeds, which is what God wants us to do to honor Him? So Yeshua observed the Sabbath, but not the ritualistic, over-burdened one that Israel was keeping. He set the tone for how the Sabbath was to be kept.

Lastly, as far as Yeshua and the Sabbath goes, His expectation was that His followers would still be observing the Sabbath when He returns. In the Olivet Discourse when asked what the signs of His Coming would be, He tells His disciples, and by extension us, that they should (when the abomination of desolation occurs and they must flee), pray that their flight would not be on the Sabbath. That is because it is very important for those at the end to be observing the Sabbath. It would appear that those who do comprise a special group in the end days. (See my end times studies). The fact that He specifically mentions this in relation to our day tells us that it was not His intention that Sunday (which He knew would be the day of His resurrection) supersede the Sabbath. It surprises me how many people miss or ignore this very important Scripture and point. If they do acknowledge it, it is to say that since the disciples were Jewish, it only applies to Jews, and does not indicate that Christians were expected to be following the Sabbath. Is that really true? Yeshua was expecting His followers in the last days (and that is Christians, not Jews (unless they are Messianic)) to be observing the Sabbath. While He specifically refers to those who are at Jerusalem praying that they do not have to flee on the Sabbath, and that would indicate Jews, the expectation is still there that people who are reading the New Testament (believers) would be observing the Sabbath. There would be no point in Him mentioning it if only Jews who are not Christians were to worry about it. They will not know, because they do not read the Scriptures.

Now we come to the place where people feel that things changed. The church is presently teaching that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday due to the fact that Yeshua rose on Sunday, and the teachings of a few Scriptures. And a very few (and questionable) Scriptures at that.

The first reason, that Yeshua rose on Sunday, is not a reason to change God's commandment. He did not rise on the Sabbath, because it was the Sabbath. He was fulfilling the Feast of Firstfruits which fell on the first day of the week. Nowhere after His resurrection did Yeshua ever tell his disciples that they were to stop meeting on the Sabbath. His resurrection was on the day it was to fulfill another completely different festival. It had no bearing on the Sabbath. Never did He indicate that now they should celebrate the day of His resurrection instead. Had the day been changed, something that important and so obviously in opposition to God's commandments would have mandated that Yeshua teach it personally, so that His followers would know that God Himself was making this change in His laws. This would not be a simple change for them to accept if it were to be done. Therefore the fact that He arose on Sunday is not really evidence that we were to change God's laws without His approval. He arose on Sunday because He was fulfilling the Feast of Firstfruits. Why is that idea completely unacknowledged?

The next evidence that needs to be addressed is the Scriptural evidence. Many people like to say that the New Testament church changed the day and was meeting on Sunday for their worship. Extra-biblical writings do not bear that supposition out quite in that way. The church continued to meet on the Sabbath for a long time after Yeshua ascended. Later evidence (2nd century) showed that they also would meet on Sunday in remembrance of the Lord's resurrection, but it did not supplant the Sabbath for another couple of centuries. In fact the two were celebrated side by side up until the fifth century. The only two places that switched over to Sunday earlier on were Rome and Alexandria. Now, we know that God said that Egypt is in error for every work they do. The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.” Isaiah 19:14. Rome is the headquarters of the Roman Empire who, through Constantine, incorporated numerous pagan practices into Christianity and mandatory Sunday rest through legislation. This was further promoted by the council in Laodicea in A.D. 364 (Laodicea being the worst church in the Revelations letters, God having been put out of the church) when it was stipulated in their Canon laws that “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.” So, the church that is accused of shutting the Lord out of the church, with one stroke of the pen, mandates that God's commandment be reversed in favor of man's law. Does that tell us anything?

Before going into the history of the change from the Sabbath to Sunday, we need to see if the premise that this change is taught by Scripture is indeed true. The following are the few verses that are used to defend a Sunday worship day.

Acts 20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
This verse is used to show that they were meeting on Sunday for Sabbath worship services. Looking at this verse more closely, let us first start with looking at it in light of the culture of the day, not in the light of how we observe things today. It must be remembered that the day started at sundown the night before. So when it says they met on the first day of the week when they came together to eat bread, it is indicating that they were meeting on Saturday night at dinner time, which would have been considered the beginning of first day of the week. The Sabbath, when they would have gotten together to worship was ending. They would be having the evening meal after the Sabbath was over. As Paul had no doubt spent the Sabbath with them, (he was going from synagogue to synagogue at that time) they wanted him to speak to them until they had to end the day and go to bed. As people wanted to hear him teach, they wanted him to stay for an informal bible study sort of gathering after dinner. This is exactly what the text actually describes. Paul preached after dinner until midnight on Saturday night. This interpretation makes much more sense than him preaching from noon (which would have had to have been the meal referred to if they met on Sunday) until midnight. The meal on Sunday night would actually have been eaten on the second day of the week according to the way they measured days, so any meal on the first day of the week would have either been dinner on Saturday or lunch on Sunday. Sunday was normally a work day for the Jewish culture, (who had incorporated Gentile Messianics into their congregations), so it would be unusual for anyone to take the day off, if they were still observing the Sabbath, which Jews would be. There is no clear historical evidence of Sunday observance until the second century. So, this could not have been a Sunday. This had to have been Saturday night. As Paul’s plans were to depart and travel on the morrow, he was leaving on Sunday morning. Therefore, they were not meeting on nor moving their worship to Sunday, they were meeting the same evening that they had observed the Sabbath day.
The next verse used to “prove” Sunday worship is taught in Scripture is found in 1 Cor. 16:2 “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Here again is where it is necessary to understand the culture of the day. It was forbidden to do work on the Sabbath. So all work had to be finished by sundown on the sixth day. This meant that shopkeepers would work up until closing, but could not do their financial books until the first day of the week when they again opened for business. Therefore they could not figure out their tithe until that time. Paul met with the people on the Sabbath to teach them, and he did not want them dealing with money on that day, as it was forbidden to do that sort of work. So he instructs them to set aside their tithes or offerings on the first day of the week, so that they were not figuring out their tithes and taking offerings on the Sabbath when he came to see them. Rather than proving the move to Sunday worship, when understood in the context of the culture of the day it shows just the opposite. They were not to gather offerings when meeting with Paul (on the Sabbath), but to do that work on the first day of the week, which was a work day and during which doing the finances was allowed. The very fact of doing the accounts and figuring out the tithes on the first day of the week proves that they had not moved the Sabbath to Sunday.

The next verses that can be used to try to support Sunday worship are found in Romans and Colossians

.Romans 14:5-6 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. he that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth no, and giveth God thanks.”

These verses are not speaking of the Sabbath observance at all, but of fasting observances and eating habits. The entire passage must be taken in context. One must read the entire passage and it can be seen that eating and fasting is the subject, even though the word fasting is not used. “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

The problem was fasting, as the custom of many at that time was to fast twice a week on particular days (such as Tuesday and Friday) and they felt everyone should do that. Others disagreed. Paul is letting them know that it is up to the individual as to whether or not they want to fast and on what days, and as to what they may or may not eat.

Colossians. 2:16-17 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

These two verses would seem to be the only verses that might allow for the changing of the Sabbath to Sunday, but it is only by indirect implication at best if they did. According to these verses, it would seem it is up to the individual and their conscience to decide whether or not to observe a special day as holy or not.  If taken at face value, it would appear that we are free to observe (or not observe) the Sabbath any way that we want, and others shouldn't judge us. Is that what it could really mean? We know that Yeshua already indicated that in the end times believers should hope that they do not have to run on the Sabbath. If we do not have to observe the Sabbath, why worry about it? Also taken this way, we could definitely not worry about breaking the fourth commandment, but Yeshua told us if we love Him we will keep His commandments. So is that what it really means? I do not think so. 

I believe when speaking of holy days, new moons, and Sabbath days, Paul is speaking not of THE Sabbath, but of all the other holy days and festivals that God ordained for Israel to celebrate. All of those were shadows of things to come. We know from Acts that there are only a few rules that Gentiles have to observe. We are not beholden to participate in the festivals that God gave Israel. In fact, the reason for some of these have passed. The New Moons were to mark the Jewish calendar so that the holy days could be calculated. Only Jews use this calendar. Passover was to look forward to Yeshua’s first coming. The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled with Yeshua’s resurrection. Pentecost was fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit. Rosh haShanah is a New Year’s Day celebration. Yom Kippur is no longer necessary, because He was the ultimate atonement for our sins. The Feast of Tabernacles was about the forty year wanderings in the wilderness. Naturally these fall festivals also have meanings that relate to the Lord’s Second Coming, but Judaism seems to not understand those meanings, as they did not accept their Messiah, and Christians quit or never began celebrating these festivals, as God did not demand it of them. Messianic Jews are not under the law to have to observe them, but they are a national and cultural tradition for them, a heritage to be preserved, therefore they generally do observe them. These festivals are not forbidden, however, to those who want to celebrate them. They can either treat these holidays or holy days as days that they regard unto the Lord and celebrate them as more important than other days, or they can ignore these festivals and treat every day alike. These festivals and Sabbaths were and are only the shadow of things of Yeshua. But the Sabbaths mentioned here are not the weekly Sabbath. That has another meaning entirely, one that has to do with creation and the covenant with Israel. The weekly Sabbath was to be observed perpetually. It is one of the Ten Commandments. Yeshua said that if we love Him, we are to keep His commandments. John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” He never said that He was removing this from being one of the commandments. Nor has the covenant been annulled, even though there are Christians who believe in replacement theology and would like to think it has been annulled.

In light of these other Scriptures, it can be seen that Paul was not referring to THE Sabbath when saying that it was permissible to regard every day alike. He was speaking of all these other special days. He expected that his audience understood that the weekly Sabbath was something that was required of everyone and was not optional. As it has already been shown that the other verses do not support Sunday worship, and the extra-biblical texts indicate that Sunday was not observed until several centuries later, it is safe to say that these verses do not support it either, and therefore there are no verses so far that support Sunday worship.

The last verse used to defend Sunday worship is found in Rev. 1:10-11 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”

This verse was also covered in my end times studies, but just briefly, the term Lord’s day as referring to Sunday did not come about for at least another hundred years or so after John penned this book. It was not in use in John's day anywhere, as a way of referring to Sunday. It was used to refer to the Sabbath, but that was not Sunday. So John could have had the vision on the Sabbath. We can also look at this as referencing something else. John was taken in the spirit to the Day of the Lord or the end of days. That could be what is being referred to here, not necessarily the Sabbath, and definitely not Sunday. If read it as, “I was in the Spirit on the Day of the Lord....” it would make tremendous sense, given the rest of the book of Revelation. Either way, it does not support Sunday worship.
Thus the “proof” of these few verses upon which the whole theory that the Bible teaches a change of Sabbath worship to Sunday is undermined when one looks at the verses more closely. 

A book that I have discovered which is very explanatory and which I highly recommend in understanding the Law of God vs. the Law of Moses is Ten Commandments Twice Removed by Danny Shelton and Shelley Quinn. I recommend  that the reader get a copy and read it if they want to truly understand the issue.

As one last reference on this subject, I found an article online that goes into the history of how it came about that Christians stopped observing the Sabbath and began worshiping on Sunday.  I found it to be the most informative article I have yet read on the subject, so I have posted it below along with the web address.

As the article is quite lengthy and has several pages of bibliography, I will wrap up my own comments here and let the article speak for itself. I believe after seeing how the Scriptures above do not support Sunday worship, and seeing how Sunday worship came about, it will be clear that we should be keeping the Sabbath on Saturday.

The Link is found here, the article is posted below.

How Sunday Became the Popular Day of Worship
by Kenneth A. Strand
Contrary to what many Christians believe, Sunday was not observed by New Testament Christians as a day of worship. They kept Saturday, the seventh day of the week.
The question of how Sunday, the first day of the week, replaced Saturday, the seventh day of the week, as the main day of Christian worship has received increasing attention in recent years. One widely acclaimed study, for example, suggests that the weekly Christian Sunday arose from Sunday-evening communion services in the immediate post-resurrection period, with Sunday itself being a workday until after the time of Constantine the Great in the early fourth century.[1] Eventually, however, Sunday ceased to be a workday and became a Christian Sabbath." Some simpler and more popular views are that either (1) Sunday was substituted immediately after Christ's resurrection for the seventh-day Sabbath, or (2) Sunday- keeping was introduced directly from paganism during the second century or later. But is either of these views correct? What do the actual source materials tell us?
Both Days Observed.
One thing is clear: The weekly Christian Sunday--whenever it did arise--did not at first generally become a substitute for the Bible seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday; for both Saturday and Sunday were widely kept side by side for several centuries in early Christian history. Socrates Scholasticus, a church historian of the fifth century A.D., wrote, "For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [the Lord's Supper] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this."[2] And Sozomen, a contemporary of Socrates, wrote, "The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria."[3] Thus, "almost everywhere" throughout Christendom, except in Rome and Alexandria, there were Christian worship services on both Saturday and Sunday as late as the fifth century. A number of other sources from the third to the fifth centuries also depict Christian observance of both Saturday and Sunday. For example, the Apostolic Constitutions, compiled in the fourth century, furnished instruction to "keep the Sabbath [Saturday], and the Lord's day [Sunday] festival; because the former is the memorial of the creation, and the latter of the resurrection." "Let the slaves work five days; but on the Sabbath day [Saturday] and the Lord's day [Sunday] let them have leisure to go to church for instruction in piety."[4] Gregory of Nyssa in the late fourth century referred to the Sabbath and Sunday as "sisters."[5] And about A.D. 400 Asterius of Amasea declared that it was beautiful for Christians that the "team of these two days comes together"--"the Sabbath and the Lord's day,"[6] which each week gathers together the people with priests as their instructors. And in the fifth century, John Cassian refers to attendance in church on both Saturday and Sunday, stating that he had even seen a certain monk who sometimes fasted five days a week but would go to church on Saturday or on Sunday and bring home guests for a meal on those two days.[7] It is clear that none of these early writers confused Sunday with the Bible Sabbath. Sunday, the first day of the week, always followed the Sabbath, the seventh day. Furthermore, the historical records are clear in showing that the weekly cycle has remained unchanged from Christ's time till now, so that the Saturday and Sunday of those early centuries are still the Saturday and Sunday of today. Later in this article we will return to data from early church history of the second and subsequent centuries to trace the manner in which Sunday eventually eclipsed the Sabbath, but first it is important here to take a look at the New Testament evidence, inasmuch as the New Testament is normative for Christian practice.

How did Christ and the apostles regard the Sabbath and Sunday?

Sabbath in the New Testament. According to Luke 4:16, it was Christ's "custom" to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Moreover, at the time of Christ's death and burial, the women who had followed Him from Galilee "rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56), indicating that there had been no instruction from Him to the contrary. They were still observing the seventh day of the week! We may, in addition, take note of the fact that the implication of this text is that when Luke wrote the account several decades after Christ's crucifixion he took for granted that no change in Sabbath observance had occurred. He reports this Sabbath observance "according to the commandment" in a totally matter-of-fact way, with no hint that there had been any new day of worship added in the interim. On the other hand we must also recognize, of course, that Christ was accused of Sabbath-breaking by the scribes and Pharisees. We may take, for example, the incident where Christ's disciples plucked grain as they walked through a grain field, rubbed it in their hands, and ate it (Matthew 12:1-8). And we could also notice several instances of Christ's healing work that ran counter to the Sabbath-keeping views of the Jewish leaders--perhaps most strikingly the incident regarding the man with a withered hand (verses 10-13). What do these experiences mean? In order to understand the situation, one must recognize that Jewish Sabbath observance in Christ's day did not mean simply following Scripture laws but also adherence to strict regulations in Jewish oral tradition. The Mishnah, wherein multitudinous regulations of this so-called oral law were written down about A.D. 200, gives an idea of what Sabbath observance was like among the scribes and Pharisees.

There were both major laws and minor laws.

Additional Sabbath regulations. The thirty-nine major laws listed in the tractate (or section) of the Mishnah entitled "Shabbath" are given as follows: "The main classes of work are forty save one: sowing, ploughing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, cleansing crops, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing wool, washing or beating or dyeing it, spinning, weaving, making two loops, weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying [a knot], loosening [a knot], sewing two stitches, tearing in order to sew two stitches, hunting a gazelle, slaughtering or flaying or salting it or curing its skin, scraping it or cutting it up, writing two letters, erasing in order to write two letters, building, pulling down, putting out a fire, lighting a fire, striking with a hammer, and taking out aught from one domain into another. These are the main classes of work: forty save one."[8] These thirty-nine laws had many variations and ramifications. It would make a difference, for instance, whether two letters of the alphabet were written in such a way that they could both be seen at the same time. If water were to be drawn from a well in a gourd, a stone used as a weight in the gourd would be considered as part of the vessel if it did not fall out. However, if it should happen to fall out, it would be considered as an object being lifted, and therefore the individual with such an experience would be guilty of Sabbath-breaking.[9] Objects could be tossed on the Sabbath, but there were regulations pertaining to allowable distance and as to whether the object went from a private domain to a public domain, for example.[10] The foregoing are but a very few of the specifics mentioned in the tractate "Shabbath." And in addition to the laws mentioned in that tractate, the Mishnah contains other Sabbath regulations, the largest number of which deal with the Sabbath day's journey. (These are treated in the tractate "Erubin.")
In the context of this sort of casuistry regarding Sabbath-keeping, it is obvious why Christ's disciples were being accused of Sabbath-breaking by their picking and rubbing kernels of grain. One of the thirty-nine major Sabbath laws was "reaping"; another was "threshing." Thus Christ's disciples were both reaping and threshing--breaking two of the major laws of the Sabbath. If they blew the chaff away, they could also possibly have been considered as engaged in "sifting"--in which case they would have broken three different major Sabbath laws. Such "Sabbath-breaking," it must be emphasized, was not against God's commandments as given in Scripture but was purely and solely against the Jewish restrictions. In considering the various miracles that Christ performed on the Sabbath for the purpose of alleviating suffering, it is interesting that Christ Himself never accepted the Pharisees' criticism that He was breaking the Sabbath. Indeed, in connection with the case of the man with the withered hand, He raised a question, "What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days" (Matthew 12:11, 12). After this, He proceeded to heal the man. Thus He emphasized the lawfulness of this kind of deed on the Sabbath.

How about the apostles?

But now, what can we say about apostolic practice after Christ's resurrection? The book of Acts reveals that the only day on which the apostles repeatedly were engaged in worship services on a weekly basis was Saturday, the seventh day of the week. The apostle Paul and his company, when visiting Antioch in Pisidia, "went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down" (Acts 13:14). After the Scripture reading, they were called upon to speak. They stayed in Antioch a further week, and that "next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God" (verse 44). In Philippi Paul and his company went out of the city by a riverside on the Sabbath day, to the place where prayer was customarily made (Acts 16:13). In Thessalonica, "as his manner was," Paul went to the synagogue and "three Sabbath days reasoned with them [the Jews] out of the scriptures" (Acts 17:2). And in Corinth, where Paul resided for a year and a half, "he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks" (Acts 18:4; compare verse 11). Thus the evidence in the book of Acts is multiplied regarding apostolic attendance at worship services on Saturday.

The Lord's day.

Some believe that "the Lord's day" mentioned in Revelation 1:10 refers to Sunday. However, when we read the passage, we find no hint of it being either a Sunday or a worship day. John here simply states that he "was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." Although it is true that eventually the term "Lord's day" came to be used for Sunday, no evidence indicates this was the case until about a century after the book of Revelation was written![11]
Most pointedly of all, there is neither prior nor contemporary evidence that Sunday had achieved in New Testament times a status that would have caused it to be called "Lord's day." Another day--the seventh-day Sabbath--had, of course, been the Lord's holy day from antiquity (see Isaiah 58:13) and was the day on which Christ Himself and His followers, including the apostle Paul, had attended religious services, as we have seen.
In fact, there is not one piece of concrete evidence anywhere in the New Testament that Sunday was considered as a weekly day of worship for Christians. Rather, Christ Himself, His followers at the time of His death, and apostles after His resurrection regularly attended worship services on Saturday, the seventh day of the week.
Moreover, when widespread Christian Sunday observance finally did become evident during the third to fifth centuries, this was side by side with the seventh-day Sabbath, as we have seen. The question now arises as to when and how Christian Sunday observance arose.
The first clear evidence for weekly Sunday observance by Christians comes in the second century from two places--Alexandria and Rome. About A.D. 130 Barnabas of Alexandria, in a highly allegorical discourse, refers to the seventh-day Sabbath as representing the seventh millennium of earth's history. He goes on to say that the present sabbaths were unacceptable to God, who would make "a beginning of the eighth day [Sunday], that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead."[12] About A.D. 150, Justin Martyr in Rome provides a more clear and direct reference to Sunday observance, actually describing briefly in his Apology the worship service held on Sunday: "And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things." Next follow prayer, communion, and an offering for the poor.[13] The same writer in his Dialogue With Trypho the Jew manifests an anti-Sabbath bent in a number of statements, including the following: "Do you see that the elements are not idle, and keep no Sabbaths? Remain as you were born."[14]
Rome and Alexandria. Thus both Barnabas of Alexandria and Justin Martyr in Rome not only refer to the practice of Sunday observance, but they both also manifest a negative attitude toward the Sabbath. Interestingly, it is precisely these same two cities--Alexandria and Rome--that are mentioned by two fifth-century historians, Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomen, as being exceptions to the general rule that worship services were still held on Saturday throughout the Christian world as late as the fifth century. What particular circumstances could have led Rome and Alexandria to their early adoption of Sunday observance? Moreover, why was Sunday observance soon (at least by the third century) so readily accepted throughout the rest of Christendom, even when the Sabbath was not abandoned? Obviously, the evidence thus far presented shatters the theory that Sunday was substituted for the seventh-day Sabbath immediately after Christ's resurrection. But likewise incorrect is the opposing view that the Christian Sunday was borrowed directly from paganism early in post-New Testament times. Not only does this theory lack proof, but the sheer improbability that virtually all Christendom suddenly shifted to a purely pagan practice should alert us to the need for a more plausible explanation. Especially is this so when we remember that numerous early Christians accepted martyrdom rather than compromise their faith. Justin himself was such a Christian, suffering martyrdom in Rome about A.D. 165.

Not a substitute for the Sabbath.

At such a time as this, would a purely pagan worship day have suddenly captured the entire Christian world, apparently without any serious protest? Furthermore, if this were the case, how would we account for the fact that the Christian Sunday, when it did arise, was regularly looked upon by the Christians as a day honoring Christ's resurrection, not as a Sabbath? This latter point deserves special attention. In the New Testament, Christ's resurrection is symbolically related to the first fruits of the harvest just as His death is related to the slaying of the Paschal lamb (see 1 Corinthians 15:20 and 5:7). The offering of the wave sheaf (grain sample) of the first fruits of the barley harvest was an annual event among the Jews. But in New Testament times there were two different methods of reckoning the day for this celebration. According to Leviticus 23:11, the wave sheaf was to be offered in the season of unleavened bread on "the morrow after the Sabbath." The Pharisees interpreted this as the day after the Passover Sabbath. They killed the Paschal lamb on Nisan 14, celebrated the Passover Sabbath on Nisan 15, and offered the first-fruits wave sheaf on Nisan 16, regardless of the days of the week on which these dates might fall. Their celebration thus would parallel our method for reckoning Christmas, which falls on different days of the week in different years.

The Resurrection Festival

On the other hand, the Essenes and Sadducean Boethusians interpreted "the morrow after the Sabbath" as the day after a weekly Sabbath--always a Sunday. Their day of Pentecost also always fell on a Sunday--"the morrow after the seventh Sabbath" from the day of the offering of the first fruits (see Leviticus 23:15, 16).[15] It would be natural for Christians to continue the first-fruits celebration. They would keep it, not as a Jewish festival, but in honor of Christ's resurrection. After all, was not Christ the true first fruits (see 1 Corinthians 15:20), and was not His resurrection of the utmost importance (see verses 14, 17-19)?But when would Christians keep such a resurrection festival? Would they do it every week? No. Rather, they would do it annually, as had been their custom in the Jewish celebration of the first fruits. But which of the two types of reckoning would they choose--the Pharisaic or the Essene-Boethusian? Probably both. And this is precisely the situation we find in the Easter controversy that broke out toward the end of the second century.[16] At that time Asian Christians (in the Roman province of Asia Minor) celebrated the Easter events on the Nisan 14-15-16 basis, irrespective of the days of the week. But Christians throughout most of the rest of the world--including Gaul, Corinth, Pontus (in northern Asia Minor), Alexandria, Mesopotamia, and Palestine (even Jerusalem itself)--held to a Sunday-Easter. Early sources indicate that both practices stemmed from apostolic tradition.[17] This is a view more plausible than that the Sunday-Easter was a late Roman innovation. After all, at a time when Christian influences were still moving from east to west, how could a Roman innovation so suddenly and so thoroughly have uprooted an entrenched apostolic practice throughout virtually the whole Christian world, East as well as West?[18] A reconstruction of church history that sees the earliest Christian Sunday as an annual Easter one rather than as a weekly observance makes historical sense. The habit of keeping the annual Jewish first-fruits festival day could be easily transferred into an annual resurrection celebration in honor of Christ, the First Fruits. But there was no such habit or psychological background for keeping a weekly resurrection celebration. It is probable that the weekly Christian Sunday developed later as an extension of the annual one.
Various factors could have had a part in such a development. In the first place, not only did almost all early Christians observe both Easter and Pentecost on Sunday, but the whole seven-week season between the two holidays had special significance.[19] As J. van Goudoever has suggested, perhaps the Sundays between the two annual festivals had special importance too.[20] If so, elements already present could have aided in extending Sunday observance to a weekly basis, spreading first to the Sundays during the Easter-to-Pentecost season itself and then eventually throughout the entire year.[21] Thus the annual Sunday celebration could have furnished a source from which the early Christians in Alexandria and Rome inaugurated a weekly Sunday as a substitute for the Sabbath. But there is no reason why this kind of weekly resurrection festival had to supplant the Sabbath. And indeed, elsewhere throughout Christianity we find it simply emerging as a special day observed side by side with the Sabbath.

Sunday replaces Sabbath in Rome.

But what factor or factors prompted the displacement of the Sabbath by a weekly Sunday in Rome and Alexandria? Undoubtedly the most significant was a growing anti-Jewish sentiment in the early second century. Several Jewish revolts, culminating in that of Bar Cocheba in A.D. 132-135, aroused Roman antagonism against the Jews to a high level--so high, in fact, that Emperor Hadrian expelled the Jews from Palestine. His predecessor, Trajan, had been vexed too with Jewish outbreaks; and Hadrian himself, prior to the Bar Cocheba revolt, had outlawed such Jewish practices as circumcision and Sabbathkeeping.[22]
Especially in Alexandria, where there was a strong contingent of Jews, and in the Roman capital itself would Christians be prone to feel in danger of identification with the Jews. Thus, especially in these two places would they be likely to seek a substitute for the weekly Sabbath to avoid being associated with the Sabbath-keeping Jews. Moreover, with respect to Rome (and some other places in the West), the practice of fasting on the Sabbath every week also tended to enhance the development of Sunday observance by making the Sabbath a gloomy day. This obviously had negative effects on the Sabbath and could have served as an inducement in Rome and in some neighboring areas to replace such a sad and hungry Sabbath with a joyous weekly resurrection festival on Sunday. As the weekly Sunday arose side by side with the Sabbath throughout Christendom, elsewhere than at Rome and Alexandria, perhaps it was inevitable that eventually the two days would clash quite generally, as they had done as early as the second century in Rome and Alexandria. This did in fact happen, and later in this article we will survey the process by which Sunday finally displaced the Sabbath as the main day for Christian worship throughout Christendom.

A brief summary of the facts ascertained thus far will now be in order:
  1. The New Testament silence about the weekly observance of Sunday, in contrast to the recurring statements about the Sabbath, provides convincing evidence that there was no such Sunday observance in New Testament Christianity. (Moreover, the second-century silence regarding the Sabbath and Sunday, except for Rome and Alexandria, is in large part a result of the fact that basically no controversy had developed over the two weekly days except in those two places.)
    2. The mushrooming literary evidence from the third through fifth centuries reveals that at last a weekly Sunday had become quite generally observed. Furthermore, throughout most of Christendom it was observed side by side with the Sabbath.
    3. The background from Judaism for an annual "first-fruits" celebration on Sunday provided the basis for an annual resurrection celebration among Christians. This was undoubtedly the first step toward a weekly Sunday resurrection festival.

Increased reference to both Sabbath and Sunday.

It is a curious fact that the references dealing with both Sabbath and Sunday increased sharply in the fourth century A.D. and that many of these had overtones of controversy. In some instances, there was an emphasis to keep both days (as, for example, in the Apostolic Constitutions).
On the other side, however, stood the anti-Sabbath church leaders. For example, John Chrysostom, a contemporary of Gregory and Asterius, went so far as to declare, "There are many among us now, who fast on the same day as the Jews, and keep the Sabbaths in the same manner; and we endure it nobly or rather ignobly and basely"![23] Earlier we noted that the Sabbath fast--which made the Sabbath a sad and hungry day--helped bring about the rise of Sunday observance in Rome and in some other places in the West. Indeed, as early as the first quarter of the third century Tertullian of Carthage in North Africa argued against the practice.[24] About the same time Hippolytus in Rome took issue with those who observed the Sabbath fast.[25] However, in the fourth and fifth centuries evidence of controversy on this matter heightened. Augustine (died A.D. 430) dealt with the issue in several of his letters, including one in which he gave rebuttal to a zealous Roman advocate of Sabbath fasting--an individual who caustically denounced those who refused to fast on the Sabbath.[26] As another evidence of the controversy, Canon 64 of the Apostolic Constitutions specifies that "if any one of the clergy be found to fast on the Lord's day, or on the Sabbath-day, excepting one only, let him be deprived; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended."[27] The interpolater of Ignatius, who probably wrote at about the same time, even declared that "if any one fasts on the Lord's Day or on the Sabbath, except on the paschal Sabbath only, he is a murderer of Christ."[28] (On the Paschal Sabbath, the anniversary of the Sabbath during which Christ was in the tomb, Christians considered it appropriate to fast.) The last two sources noted may indicate that the controversy had extended beyond Western Christianity; but as far as the actual official practice was concerned, only Rome and certain other Western churches adopted it. John Cassian (died about A.D. 440) speaks of "some people in some countries of the West, and especially in the city [Rome]" who fasted on the Sabbath.[29] And Augustine refers to "the Roman Church and some other churches . . . near to it or remote from it" where the Sabbath fast was observed. But Milan, an important church in northern Italy, was among the Western churches that did not observe the Sabbath fast, as Augustine also makes clear.[30] Nor did the Eastern churches ever adopt it. The question remained a point of disagreement between East and West as late as the eleventh century.[31]
The increase in references about the Sabbath--both for and against--indicate that some sort of struggle was beginning to manifest itself on a rather widespread basis. No longer did the controversy center in only Rome and Alexandria. What could have triggered this struggle on such a wide scale in the fourth and fifth centuries?
Undoubtedly, one of the most important factors is to be found in the activities of Emperor Constantine the Great in the early fourth century, followed by later "Christian emperors." Not only did Constantine give Christianity a new status within the Roman Empire (from being persecuted to being honored), but he also gave Sunday a "new look." By his civil legislation, he made Sunday a rest day. His famous Sunday law of March 7, 321, reads: "On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost."[32] This was the first in a series of steps taken by Constantine and by later "Christian emperors" in regulating Sunday observance. It is obvious that this first Sunday law was not particularly Christian in orientation (note the pagan designation "venerable Day of the Sun"); but very likely Constantine, on political and social grounds, endeavored to merge together heathen and Christian elements of his constituency by focusing on a common practice. In A.D. 386, Theodosius I and Gratian Valentinian extended Sunday restrictions so that litigation should entirely cease on that day and there would be no public or private payment of debt.[33] Laws forbidding circus, theater, and horse racing also followed and were reiterated as felt necessary.

Reaction to early Sunday laws.

How did the Christian church react to Constantine's Sunday edict of March, 321, and to subsequent civil legislation that made Sunday a rest day? As desirable as such legislation may have seemed to Christians from one standpoint, it also placed them in a dilemma. Heretofore, Sunday had been a workday, except for special worship services. What would happen, for example, to nuns such as those described by Jerome in Bethlehem, who, after following their mother superior to church and then back to their communions, the rest of their time on Sunday devoted "themselves to their allotted tasks, and made garments either for themselves or else for others"?[34] There is no evidence that Constantine's Sunday laws were ever specifically made the basis for Christian regulations of the day, but it is obvious that Christian leaders had to do something to keep the day from becoming one of idleness and vain amusement. Added emphasis on worship and reference to the Sabbath commandment in the Old Testament seem to have been the twin routes now taken. Perhaps a first inkling of the new trend comes as early as the time of Constantine himself--through the church historian Eusebius, who was also Constantine's biographer and keen admirer. In his commentary on Psalm 92, "the Sabbath psalm," Eusebius writes that Christians would fulfill on the Lord's day all that in this psalm was prescribed for the Sabbath--including worship of God early in the morning. He then adds that through the new covenant the Sabbath celebration was transferred to "the first day of light [Sunday]."[35] Later in the fourth century Ephraem Syrus suggested that honor was due "to the Lord's day, the firstborn of all days," which had "taken away the right of the firstborn from the Sabbath." Then he goes on to point out that the law prescribes that rest should be given to servants and animals.[36] The reflection of the Old Testament Sabbath commandment is obvious.
With this sort of Sabbath emphasis now being placed on Sunday, it was inevitable that the Sabbath day itself (Saturday) would take on lesser and lesser importance. And the controversy that is evident in literature of the fourth and fifth centuries between those who would honor it reflects the struggle. Moreover, it was a struggle that did not terminate quickly, for as we have seen, the fifth-century church historians Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomen provide a picture of Sabbath worship services alongside Sunday worship services as being the pattern throughout Christendom in their day, except in Rome and Alexandria. It appears that the "Christian Sabbath" as a replacement for the earlier biblical Sabbath was a development of the sixth century and later. The earliest church council to deal with the matter was a regional eastern one meeting in Laodicea about A.D. 364. Although this council still manifested respect for the Sabbath as well as Sunday in the special lections (Scripture readings) designated for those two days, it nonetheless stipulated the following in its Canon 29: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ."[37] The regulation with regard to working on Sunday was rather moderate in that Christians should not work on that day if possible! However, more significant was the fact that this council reversed the original command of God and the practice of the earliest Christians with regard to the seventh-day Sabbath. God had said, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work" (Exodus 20:8-10, RSV). This council said, instead, "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day."

Work forbidden on Sunday.

The Third Synod of Orleans in 538, though deploring Jewish Sabbatarianism, forbade "field labours" so that "people may be able to come to church and worship."[38] Half a century later, the Second Synod of Macon in 585 and the Council of Narbonne in 589 stipulated strict Sunday observance.[39] The ordinances of the former "were published by King Guntram in a decree of November 10, 585, in which he enforced careful observance of the Sunday."[40] Finally, during the Carolingian Age a great emphasis was placed on Lord's day observance according to the Sabbath commandment. Walter W. Hyde, in his Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire, has well summed up several centuries of the history of Sabbath and Sunday up to Charlemagne: "The emperors after Constantine made Sunday observance more stringent but in no case was their legislation based on the Old Testament. . . . At the Third Synod of Aureliani (Orleans) in 538 rural work was forbidden but the restriction against preparing meals and similar work on Sunday was regarded as a superstition.
"After Justinian's death in 565 various epistolae decretales were passed by the popes about Sunday. One of Gregory I (590-604) forbade men 'to yoke oxen or to perform any other work, except for approved reasons,' while another of Gregory II (715-731) said: 'We decree that all Sundays be observed from vespers to vespers and that all unlawful work be abstained from.' . . . "Charlemagne at Aquisgranum (Aachen) in 788 decreed that all ordinary labor on the Lord's Day be forbidden, since it was against the Fourth Commandment, especially labor in the field or vineyard which Constantine had exempted."[41] God's Sabbath never forgotten. And thus Sunday came to be the Christian rest day substitute for the Sabbath. But the seventh-day Sabbath was never entirely forgotten, of course. This was true in Europe itself. But particularly in Ethiopia, for example, groups kept both Saturday and Sunday as "Sabbaths," not only in the early Christian centuries but down into modern times.
Nevertheless, for a good share of Christendom, the history of the Sabbath and Sunday had by the sixth through eighth centuries taken a complete circle. For most Christians, God's rest day of both Old Testament and New Testament times had through a gradual process become a workday and had been supplanted by a substitute rest day. God's command that on the seventh day "you shall not do any work" had been replaced by the command of man: Work on the seventh day; rest on the first. However, all Christians who consider the New Testament as the normative guide for their lives, rather than the decisions of men hundreds of years later, will ask whether the worship day of Christ and the apostles--Saturday, the seventh day of the week--should not still be observed today. We believe it should.
Kenneth Strand was professor of church history, Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, and editor of Andrews University Seminary Studies, when this article was written. He has edited, compiled, or authored many books, including Interpreting the Book of Revelation, A Panorama of the
Old Testament World, and A Brief Introduction to the Ancient Near East. He aided in school planning for
several overseas colleges. Copyright 1978 by Kenneth A. Strand.
1. Willy Rordorf, Sunday: The History of the Day of Rest and Worship in the Earliest Centuries of the Christian Church, trans. by A.A.K. Graham from the German ed. of 1962 (Philadelphia, 1968).
2. Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap. 22, in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF) Second Series, Vol. II, p. 132.
3. Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, book 7, chap. 19, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. II, p. 390.
4. Apostolic Constitutions, book 7, sec. 2, chap. 23, and book 8, sec. 4, chap. 33 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF), Vol. VII, pp. 469, 495.
5. Gregory of Nyssa, De Castigatione ("On Reproof"), in J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 46, col. 309 (Greek) and col. 310 (Latin).
6. Asterius, Homily 5, on Matthew 19:3, in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 40, col. 225 (Greek) and col. 226 (Latin).
7. Cassian, Institutes of the Coenobia, book 5, chap. 26, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. XI, p. 243. CF. Institutes, book 3, chap. 2, and Conferences, part 1, conf. 3, chap. 1, in NPNF, Second Series. Vol. XI, pp. 213, 319.
8. "Shabbath," 7.2, in Herbert Danby, trans., The Mishnah (London, 1933), p. 106.
9. Ibid., 17.6, in Danby, op. cit., p. 115.
10. Ibid., 11.1-6, in Danby, op. cit., pp. 110, 111.
11. The earliest clear patristic source is Clement of Alexandria. See, e.g., his Miscellanies, book 5, chap. 14, in ANF, Vol. II, p. 469.
12. The Epistle of Barnabus, chap. 15, in ANF, Vol. I, pp. 146, 147.
13. Apology I, chap. 67, in ANF, Vol. I, p. 186.
14. Dialogue, chap. 23, in ANF, Vol. I, p. 206. Several other statements in the Dialogue reveal a similar feeling.
15. J. van Goudoever, Biblical Calendars, 2d rev. ed. (Leiden, 1961), pp. 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 29. The Boethusians and Essenes actually chose Sundays a week apart because of a difference in their understanding of whether the Sabbath of Leviticus 23:11 was the Sabbath during or the Sabbath after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moreover, they used a solar calendar in contrast to the lunar calendar of the Pharisees.
16. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chaps. 23-25 (NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 241-244), provides the details.
17. Ibid., chaps. 23.1 and 24.2, 3, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 241, 242; Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, book 7, chap. 19, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. II, p. 390.
18. The fact that Victor of Rome could not successfully excommunicate the Asian Christians (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap. 24, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 242-244) provides further substantiation of this view. If Rome could earlier have influenced almost the entire Christian world, both East and West, to give up an apostolic practice in favor of a Roman innovation, why was she now incapable of stamping out the last remaining vestige of this practice? The only reasonable explanation of all the data seems to be that the Sunday-Easter was not a late Roman innovation, but that both it and Quartodecimanism (observance of Nisan 14) stemmed from apostolic times. For further details, see my "John as Quartodecimanism: A Reappraisal," Journal of Biblical Literature, 84 (1965), pp. 251-258.
19. See Tertullian, The Chaplet, chap. 3; On Baptism, chap. 19, in ANF, Vol. III, p. 678; and On Fasting, chap. 14, in ANF, Vol. IV, p. 112.
20. Van Goudoever, op. cit., p. 167.
21. Philip Carrington, The Primitive Christian Calendar (Cambridge, England, 1952), p. 38, has made this suggestion: Since crops could hardly have been ripe everywhere on the two Sundays especially set aside (day of barley first fruits and Pentecost day), may it not have been implied that any Sunday within the fifty days was a proper day for the offering of the first fruits? For an excellent discussion of the whole question of Easter in relation to the weekly Sunday, see Lawrence T. Geraty, "The Pascha and the Origin of Sunday Observance," Andrews University Seminary Studies (hereafter cited as AUSS) III (1965), pp. 85-96.
22. See Dio Cassius, Roman History, book 68, chap. 32, and book 69, chaps. 12-14, in Loeb Classical Library, Vol. VIII, pp. 394-397, 420-423, 446-451; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book 4, chap. 2, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 174, 175.
23. Comment on Galatians 1:7 in Commentary on Galatians, in NPNF, First Series, Vol. XIII, p. 8.
24. In On Fasting, chap. 14 (ANF, Vol. IV, p. 112), Tertullian indicates that the Sabbath is "a day never to be kept as a fast except at the passover season, according to a reason elsewhere given." He also indicates his opposition to the Sabbath fast in Against Marcion, book 4, chap. 12 (ibid., Vol. III, p. 363).
25. Hippolytus mentions some who "give heed to doctrines of devils" and "often appoint a fast on the Sabbath and on the Lord's day, which Christ has, however, not appointed" (from his Commentary on Daniel, iv. 20; the Greek text and French translation are given by Maurice Lefevre [Paris, 1947], pp. 300-303).
26. See Augustine's Epistles 36 (to Casulanus), 54 (to Januarius), and 82 (to Jerome), in NPNF, First Series, Vol. I, pp. 265-270, 300, 301, 353, 354. They are dated between A.D. 396 and 405. It is Epistle 36 that gives rebuttal to the Roman advocate of the Sabbath fast.
27. English trans. in ANF, Vol. VII, p. 504. This canon is numbered 66 in the Hefele edition (see note 37, below).
28. Pseudo-Ignatius, To the Philippians, chap. 13, in ANF, Vol. I, p. 119.
29. Institutes, book 3, chap. 10, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. XI, p. 218.
30. The first statement appears in Epistle 36, par. 27 (NPNF, First Series, Vol. I, p. 268), and a similar remark is made in Epistle 82, par. 14 (ibid., p. 353). References to Milan are found in Epistle 36, par. 32, and in Epistle 54, par. 3 (ibid., pp. 270, 300, 301).
31. See R. L. Odom, "The Sabbath in the Great Schism of A.D. 1054," AUSS I (1963), pp. 77, 78.
32. Codex Justinianus, 1. iii., Tit. 12, 3, trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), Vol. III, p. 380, note 1.
33. Theodosian Code, 11. 7. 13, trans. by Clyde Pharr (Princeton, N.J., 1952), p. 300.
34. See Jerome, Epistle 108, par. 20, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. VI, p. 206.
35. Migne, op. cit., vol. 23, col. 1169.
36. S. Ephraem Syri humni et sermones, ed. by T. J. Lamy (1882), vol. 1, pp. 542-544.
37. Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, trans. by Henry N. Oxenham (Edinburgh, 1896), Vol. II, p. 316. Canon 16 (ibid., p. 310) refers to lections; and the fact that Saturday as well as Sunday had special consideration during Lent, as indicated in Canons 49 and 51 (ibid., p. 320), also reveals that regard for the Sabbath was not entirely lacking.
38. Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 208, 209.
39. Ibid., pp. 407-409, 422.
40. Ibid., p. 409.
41. W. W. Hyde, Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire (Philadelphia, 1946), p. 261.
These Times / May 1982


  1. These three links will give a different view of this subject, which I believe are more true to the Gospel. The view expressed here in the article above in my view is more like that of the Judaizers that Paul had to battle at Galatia.

    1. The 10 Commandments are still valid as God's moral laws. Men may want to change His law, but God never gave us permission to do so. The Sabbath has existed since the first week of creation and will continue through the millennium. If men do not want to observe it, they can do so against God's law, but they have no right to say it no longer exists. If they want to worship God on Sunday they can. We can worship God any day of the week or all them if we so choose. But that does not negate the Sabbath or replace it as the day God has declared holy and to be set aside for Him. The Sabbath is not Sunday and Sunday is not the Sabbath. And observing the Sabbath is a moral law that God established. Christ said if we love Him we will keep His commandments and while He condensed them to two by quoting the O.T. Scriptures about loving God and loving your neighbor, (did you know that is was an O.T. quote or did you think He was establishing two new commandments to take the place of the 10?), those two cover the 10. The first four are how we can love God and the last six are how we can love our "neighbor." So all the commentaries or articles in the world as to why Sunday is the day to worship God are pointless in the face of God telling us that the seventh day is the Sabbath and to be observed as holy. Man's ideas do not supplant God's laws.