Sunday or Saturday for Christians
Saturday, or “the Sabbath,” was the day the Jewish people were to “keep holy” (Exo. 20:8). The Lord commanded his people to keep it holy. This command is part of the Ten Commandments. With the passing away of the Law of Moses, so also the Sabbath requirement passed away.
“For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God” (Heb. 7:18-19).
Jesus’ death on the cross brought an end to the application of statutes and ordinances contained in the Mosaic Law. Now, the “first Day of the Week” is the day when Christians collectively worship the Lord.
The Sabbath Day is inseparable from the Ten Commandments and the Ten Commandments are inseparable from the Law of Moses. The New Testament teaches that Jesus “blotted out the bond written in ordinances (Old Testament Law) that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).
There are plain facts about the Sabbath of the Old Testament that make it impossible for it to be the day on which Christians are to worship collectively.
Fact 1: The Sabbath was given only to Jews: “And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. . . . And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” (Exo. 34:27-28). “Jehovah our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Jehovah made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:2-3). None but the Jews were ever given the Law of Moses which contains the command to keep the Sabbath holy. Therefore, none but Old Testament Jews were to keep the Sabbath holy.
Fact 2: Sabbath (seventh day) observance was not known for the first 2500 years of history. The first time it is mentioned is Exodus 16. The children of Israel were to gather “manna,” their food during the wilderness journey. On the sixth day they had to be told to gather a double supply. They were not to gather anything on the seventh day and Moses explained why.
“This is that which Jehovah hath spoken, Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a holy sabbath unto Jehovah: bake that which ye will bake, and boil that which ye will boil; and all that remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning” (Exo. 16:23).
Had they been keeping the Sabbath prior to this, Moses would not have had to tell them that the seventh day was a solemn day of rest, a “holy Sabbath.”
Fact 3: The Bible is crystal clear on when the Sabbath Day was made known to the Jewish nation. Nehemiah, the great reformer, praying to God, recognized precisely when the Sabbath Day was made known.
“Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them commandments, and statutes, and a law, by Moses thy servant” (Neh. 9:13-14).
This should settle the Sabbath question. It was a command given only to the Jewish nation when the Law of Moses was delivered to them at Mount Sinai and not before. It was never given to Gentiles to keep.
Sunday, or “the first day of the week,” is the day when Christians are to come together to worship God. The apostle John was banished to the Island of Patmos “for the word of God and testimony of Jesus.” In exile, he wrote,
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet saying, What thou seest, write in a book and send it to the seven churches: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea” (Rev. 1:10-11).
The word John used is kuriakh. It describes that which belongs to the Lord, such as “Lord's Supper” (1 Cor. 11:20). The word obviously has no reference to the Sabbath, else that word, which is found numerous times in the New Testament, would have been used. It refers to the “first day of the week,” the day on which the church was established (Acts 2:1-4) and the day when Christians regularly met for worship (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 16:1-4).
The first day of the week is the day on which memorable events happened.
1. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week
2. Christ appeared to his disciples on the first day of the
week after he rose from the dead. (Mark 16:9-14).
3. Pentecost was the first day of the week and the church
came into existence (Acts 2).
4. Repentance and remission of sins was preached in
Jerusalem for the first time on the first day of the week
(Luke 24:47 - Acts 2:38).
5. The disciples at Troas observed the Lord’s Supper on
the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
Christians do not follow the Law of Moses, they are “under the law to Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). Christians are not to be judged in regard to the Sabbath Day.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day:which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s" (Col. 2:16-17). The Old has passed away; all things are new to Christians.
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