The Sabbath, Scripturally Speaking…

My eldest son, 16 years old, had a writing class this past semester that focused on research papers.  Since we had recently come through an intense time of study in our family, he decided to use some of what we had learned and press further to mold it into his paper for this class.

Following is the result of his labor.  Hours and hours of reading, writing and discussion were formed into this paper.  Yes, I helped give him pointers and helped him shape some of the logic, but by in large, this is his paper and I am proud of his accomplishment.  It is long, so you may need a cup of coffee.

This paper will challenge the average person and I warn you, if you do NOT want to know the truth, or prefer comfortable ignorance, go NO further.  Once you read the information in this paper, you are accountable for it!  May Yahweh bless and guide you into all truth.

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The True Sabbath

Introduction: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate from scriptural and historical evidence that Saturday, the seventh day, is the true Sabbath of the Lord.

Is it possible for one to be wrong? Is it possible for hundreds of years of church doctrine to be wrong? Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for adding to the Law. Today, He would rebuke us for subtracting from the Law. What has been passed down for centuries as doctrine that appears to be true can turn out to be false. John Wycliffe and Martin Luther are examples of men who addressed false doctrine believed to be true and by doing so helped found the Reformation. Even with their brave efforts some things were still carried from the Roman Catholic Church into Protestant doctrine. Sunday Worship is an example that I will explore in this paper. Even the Puritans, who many believe to be correct in their beliefs, are wrong concerning Sunday Worship.

One might say that the Roman Catholic Church had nothing to do with Sunday Worship, when in fact the Roman Catholic Church itself claims to have had everything to do with the change from Saturday to Sunday Worship. Another might say that Christ changed the Law when the Bible never mentions Christ changing Saturday to Sunday worship. Amos 3:7 talks about how God does nothing without revealing it to the prophets first. There is no prophecy in the Old Testament foretelling of a change in the Sabbath. This paper will explore what the Bible does and does not say about what day is the true Sabbath.

Biblical Evidence

Genesis 2:2-3 states: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” These verses are placed after the account of the creation of man but before the Fall. That means that the Sabbath was put into law even before the ten commandments were given at Sinai. When the Bible stated “God blessed the seventh day,” that meant that God sanctified it,separated it, or made it Holy from the other six days. The Hebrew word for “separate” or “holy” is “kadosh.” So God separated it or “kadoshed” it.

There is evidence that much of the Law was actually established at the time of Creation or right after the Fall. The reason why I am stating this is to prove that the Law is for all people and not just for the Jews. After Adam and Eve sinned they had two children named Cain and Abel. They were to bring an offering to the Lord. Abel gave God a sacrifice of the ‘firstlings and the fat portion’ (think Levitical law),while Cain gave God vegetables. God accepted Abel’s offering, which made Cain jealous. Cain then murdered his brother. If there had been no law then God would have said “I’ll let you get away with this once since there was no law that said ‘murder is wrong.’” But there obviously was a law detailing a proper sacrifice and another against murder because Cain was judged and punished for his sin.

We then turn to Noah, who, the Bible says, was “righteous and blameless”(Genesis 6:9). Further, he was a “preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5) By what standard did he preach and what standard was he judged for his righteousness and blamelessness? Romans 4:15 states that “where there is no law there is no transgression.” That also means that without law there would be no righteousness. Therefore there had to be a law during the time of Noah in order for him to be righteous and blameless while the rest of the earth was judged for wickedness. Then we turn to Abraham who very possibly sat on Noah’s lap at childhood since he was 56 years old when Noah died. There Abraham could learn the law from his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Noah.

Genesis 26:5 states: “Because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees, and my law” (Compare words with Psalm 119). This proves and confirms that there was the law during the times of Creation, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. One other person in Genesis also shows the existence of the law before the time of Sinai, namely, Joseph. Joseph was the next to the youngest in a family of twelve. He was sold as a slave and was taken to Egypt. There he was purchased by Potiphar, the Captain of the Guard. There Potiphar`s wife took a certain liking toward Joseph. She tried to get him to commit adultery but Joseph refused, saying: “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9b). This shows that Joseph knew what adultery was even before the ten commandments were given! During the time Joseph is in Egypt, Judah has three children. His firstborn (named Er) married Tamar. Er did wickedness in the sight of the Lord and the Lord put him to death (Genesis 38:6-7). Then Judah gave his second son named Onan to marry his first son’s wife. Onan also did evil in the sight of the Lord and the Lord put him to death (Genesis 38:8-10). Judah did not want his third and last son, Shelah, to marry Tamar, for he feared that he too, would die, just like his brothers (Genesis 38:11). So Tamar dressed up as a harlot and Judah, not knowing that this was his own daughter-in-law, slept with her (Genesis 38:15-16). Tamar asked for his seal and cord and the staff in Judah`s hand (Genesis 38:18) because she wanted something before Judah slept with her as a pledge (Genesis 38:16b). After that she left and changed back into her widow’s clothes again (Genesis 38:19). Judah then let the matter settle for three months until he was informed that Tamar (his daughter-in-law) was three months pregnant (Genesis 38:24). Judah then said that she should be “burned to death”(Genesis38:24b). Tamar sent a message to her father-in-law stating “I am pregnant by the man who owns these, see if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are”(Genesis 38:25). Judah recognized them and said “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my own son Shelah” (Genesis 38:26). So that means Tamar knew what was right and also knew the law because of the righteous act that she did to preserve the family line. This again proves the law was in place before the Ten Commandments (Compare Tamar’s actions to Levitical law given 500 years later).

After the Exodus from Egypt, the people settled in the Desert of Sin. They complained and grumbled against God for not giving them food. God instructed that He would rain manna down from heaven and they were told to gather one day’s worth of manna each day from the first day of the week to the fifth, then on the sixth day they were to gather two times the regular amount, because the next day would be the seventh day (Exodus 16:1-30). Interestingly enough, this was before the Ten Commandments were given. That means that they knew what the Sabbath was, what day it fell on, and how to celebrate it. Notice that Moses uses the word “Sabbath” first (Exodus 16:23). The word Sabbath is never mentioned before this point in Scripture, however, we have seen the presence of a complete law and Moses introducing the name of the day to the text. This was weeks before the commandments were given, and I believe indicates that Sinai was a reconfirming of the whole law when God made a covenant with Israel.

The covenant with Israel included the ten commandments. One of those commandments was to keep the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Exodus 20:8 states “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. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Some translations say “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” In using the word ‘remember,’ one can rightly understand that the Sabbath was already being kept. God was just reminding His people to keep and obey it. The fourth commandment was a reminder of God’s creation and redemption from Egypt. By keeping that Commandment it reminded them (the people) that he was their God and they (we) are his people (Exodus 31:13). The Sabbath was also a celebration of their freedom from Egypt. The Sabbath means so much to God that he explicitly repeats himself six more times in Exodus (16:26, 29-30; 20:10-11; 23:12; 31:15; 34:21; 35:2) and once in Leviticus (23:3). The whole Ten Commandments were given again in Deuteronomy 5:1-21. But at the end of 4th Commandment (vs.15) it states: “Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” The Sabbath is mentioned more times in Exodus than any other command in Scripture. Since God stated the seventh-day multiple times then we should understand God is very serious about this command.

In Leviticus 23:3 the Bible explains that the Sabbath is a feast. Leviticus 23:3 states: “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly, You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.” The Sabbath is to be a perpetual covenant to all the generations. This whole chapter is about how to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord. Nowhere in that chapter does it say the “Feasts of the Jews,” but the Feasts of the Lord. The Feasts and the Sabbath are a perpetual covenant that is to be celebrated for all generations, wherever one lives (Leviticus 23:14, 21, 31, 41). Now we turn to Deuteronomy 5 where the seventh-day Sabbath commandment was restated. One may make a claim that the Deuteronomy commandment is different than the Exodus commandment thinking that it is different because the Exodus Commandment is written into law but the Deuteronomy commandment is written for rest and restoration from Egypt. They both mean the same thing, but are merely worded differently. In Exodus it states “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God (Exodus 20:8-10a).” Deuteronomy 5:12-14a says the same thing. But as one get farther down to vs.15 it says “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” God said that He wanted the Israelites to obey Him and never to forget that it was “He who brought you out of Egypt.” God also explicitly commanded the people of Israel to “observe the Sabbath day.” Then in Isaiah 56:1-2 we find an intriguing passage of scripture. It states: “Thus says the LORD: Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” This was stated in the Old Testament when they (God’s people) were keeping the Saturday Sabbath.

Jesus then came to earth to save the lost. John, in I John 2:3-6, tells us to ‘keep the commandments’ and to ‘walk in the same manner as He walked.’ Paul confirms our duty to ‘walk as Christ walked’ In 1 Corinthians 11:1-2. Paul says “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” That means we are to follow Paul’s example as Paul followed Christ’s example. Paul kept the Seventh-day Sabbath and Feasts, Jesus did the same. So why are we not doing that?

During Jesus` time, the Sabbath was being crushed under Pharisaic oral traditions. The Jews during this time were being very legalistic, by adding requirements to the Sabbath law that went over and above the law itself. They (the Pharisees) forbade tying of knots, cooking, writing more than one letter of the alphabet, the carrying of a burden(including something in your pocket), kindling or extinguishing a fire, and traveling more than four thousand feet from your dwelling place! In Mark 2:23-24 the Pharisees accused Jesus` disciples of breaking the Sabbath, when all the disciples were doing was just picking and eating wheat as they walked! Jesus then replied “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions (Mark 2:25-26).” Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28).” That means that the Sabbath rules could not change, just as God’s decrees cannot change.

According to the Gospel of Luke it was Jesus’ custom to go into the synagogue and worship every Sabbath. He did keep the Sabbath but not according the rules of the Pharisees or the oral traditions. Jesus said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).” But the Pharisees said “the Sabbath was made for Israel, because God needed someone to keep the Sabbath.” But God didn’t make the Sabbath just for Israel. He made it for all of Creation before the Fall, as we saw in Genesis 2:2-3. He also made it for those who are grafted in and believe in the Messiah. In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus states: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, until heaven and earth may pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass away from the law until all things are fulfilled. Whoever therefore shall annul one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men thus, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” To fulfill means to uphold, so Jesus came to uphold the law not abolish. It says that not one jot or tittle will be abolished until all things are passed away. If one looks outside one will see that earth is still here. That means the law has not been done away with. It is almost as if Jesus said that He knew that people would try to change the Sabbath. Malachi 3:6a states “For I the LORD do not change.” If God doesn’t change that means His law, a reflection of Him, won’t change either! If Jesus did change the Sabbath that would mean that he would be changing the law which would disqualify him being our Savior. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Those verses prove Jesus wouldn’t be the Messiah if he changed the law. (Those verses also illustrate why the Jews will not listen to the Gospel message from Christians who teach a day of worship that contradicts the Law of Moses.) Amos 3:7 states “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” Nowhere in the Old Testament do the prophets prophecy the change of the Sabbath. The only change they prophecy is the Levitical Priesthood to the Melchizedek Priesthood and it took the whole book of Hebrews to explain the change in one commandment (Hebrews 7:12). The prophets foretold Jesus coming to earth but not him changing the Law.
After the time Jesus was resurrected many believed that that was the time when Jesus changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. But nowhere in Scripture are we told of Jesus during His forty days here on earth after his resurrection saying anything about changing the Sabbath. We can not assume this conversation. Other important conversations are recorded, such as the famous ‘feed My sheep’ exchange with Peter. Why is there nothing about a Sabbath change? Maybe it is not there because Jesus was at Creation resting on the seventh day and at Sinai at the giving of the Law. It was perfect then and needed no unprophesied change.

After Jesus was taken up to Heaven, His apostles taught the good news to the people of Jerusalem. Instead of the Pharisees listening to the disciples, they persecuted them. Now there was a deacon named Stephen. “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). Stephen kept the law and taught the law (i.e., not changing the law). The Pharisees didn’t like that and so they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes. They set up false witnesses saying “This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us (Acts 6:13-14).” Hiring false witnesses meant that Stephen kept all the law (including the Seventh Day Sabbath). If Stephen didn’t keep the law then there would have been no reason for false witnesses. Therefore if Jesus changed the Sabbath from seventh day to the first day obviously Stephen didn’t keep it and therefore he would have been accused correctly. They then stoned Stephen but the teachings of Jesus continued to spread.

Another apostle who kept the law and Sabbath was Paul. Before he became a Christian he persecuted the church. Then on his way to Damascus, Paul was blinded by Jesus and was healed by a man named Ananias (Acts 9:1-18). He then was baptized and converted. Paul taught and preached to the Jews and Gentiles. Paul wrote about half of the New Testament. Many verses prove that Paul kept the Seventh-day Sabbath. On many occasions Paul taught at the synagogue on the Sabbath (the Seventh-day no less). One example is in Acts 13:14 Paul is teaching on the Sabbath (the Seventh-day).

In Acts 13:42 Paul tells them to come back next week (or Sabbath) because people, Jew and Gentile, are begging to hear more of God’s word. Then in Acts 13:44 they come back on the Sabbath to teach the people. Here’s proof that he kept the law. Acts 24:14 states “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.” Paul said that he believed in the Law and in the Prophets [and he kept the feasts(Acts 20:6,16; 1 Corinthians 16:8)]. Acts 25:8 states: Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” Again it says that he kept the law. Nowhere in Acts or anywhere else does it say that he worshiped on Sunday. Another thing to note is that he was falsely accused of changing the law. Well he was falsely accused. That means he kept the law through and through. An additional side-note is that if he changed Saturday worship to Sunday worship he would have changed the law making him a false prophet that the Jews would not listen to (Deut. 13:1-9). Then they would not have needed to accuse him falsely. That means the verses that we think mean the Sabbath was changed mean something else. If your Bible is contradictory, check yourself, not the Bible!

Isaiah 66:22-23 “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith Jehovah, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah.” Those verses, generally understood to be during some yet future time, show that we will be celebrating the Sabbath. The Sabbath in the Old Testament was Saturday. So we will be keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath sometime in the future.

So why are we celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday, when in all other places in the Bible they kept the Sabbath on Saturday? Zechariah 14 speaks about a future time when we will be keeping the Feast of Booths as specified in the Old Testament. If we will be keeping the feasts, and the Sabbath is a feast (Lev. 23:3), then we will be keeping the Sabbath on the Seventh-day.

So we know that there was law at the very beginning. That the law still applies to our everyday lives and that Jesus did not abolish the law. Paul kept the law and taught on the Sabbath. We will be keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath sometime in the future and Scripture never indicates anything else.

Biblical Objections

Colossians 2:16 states: “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” Many theologians say “Look, no one can judge us as to what day we keep the Sabbath.” Paul was actually teaching against the traditions of men. Colossians 2:4 states: “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” Delude means to fool, so Paul is trying to keep the reader from being fooled from possible arguments that stem from the traditions of men. Colossians 2:8 states: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Christ said to keep his commandments. Paul is talking against the traditions of men. Colossians 2:14 states: “having blotted out the bond written in ordinances1 that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” Many people think “See, Christ did away with the laws when he died on the cross.” One of the things Jesus did while here on earth is abolish the decrees of men, not his laws (Matthew 12:8, Luke 6:5). So if Christ is Lord of the Sabbath why would he change it or do away with it? The Puritans argue that there was no specific day for the Sabbath. They claim that as long as you keep one day out of seven then you are keeping the Sabbath day. John Wallis, replying to Francis Bampfield’s work on the Seventh-day Sabbath, wrote “For I do not know, and I believe no man living can tell me, whether what we now call Sunday be a First, a Second, a Third, or a Seventh-day, in a continued Circulation of Weeks from the Creation…. Nor hath this author [Bampfield] any other way than is common Tradition… Whereby to guess which is the First, or which is the Seventh day, in such a circulation of Weeks, either from the Creation, or even from Christ’s Time.”2 Wallis believed nobody technically knows which day is really the True Sabbath. We do have evidence of the Jews continuously celebrating the Sabbath on the Seventh-day for thousands of years. And they still celebrate the Seventh-day Sabbath to this day. Jesus, the Law Giver, celebrated on the day they had used for thousands of years. There is no evidence in history of a change of date or of week day order. Therefore, Wallis is mistaken in his false claim that we cannot know what day is truly the seventh.

Another passage that is commonly used is Romans 14:1-6. It states: “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over disputable matters. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” In the mind of the author of this passage, is the Sabbath a disputable subject? Absolutely not! Paul, a student of Gamaliel, and possibly the best law teacher of his day, knew and upheld the Law fully. It is stated time and time again in scripture! The only Scripture that they had during the time of Paul’s letters was the Old Testament. (Think, I Tim. 3:16: All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Paul wasn’t talking about his own letters.) As already demonstrated, the Old Testament teaches the seventh day Sabbath. The basis for the New Testament is the Old Testament. We are the ones who read the New Testament and mistook it for something else (Jer. 16:19c). Further, Romans 14:5-6 isn’t even talking about the Sabbath. It is about fasting, a debatable matter in the first century concerning which day to fast.

Acts 20:1-7 says: “After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.
These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” The word “day” or “week” do not appear in the original Greek! The literal translation is “on the first of the Sabbaths”3

“This is where a little history and understanding of the Biblical feasts come in. After Passover is First Fruits, after First Fruits there is Pentecost. This feast is 50 days after the Sabbath of First Fruits.
Lev_23:15 KJV And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, (First Fruits) from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: (16) Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
“Seven Sabbaths were to be counted from the Feast of First-fruits or Passover. Consequently, these came to be known as “First Sabbath,” “Second Sabbath” etc., down to the seventh. And according to Julian Morgenstern, former President of Hebrew University, this practice continued in Galilee till the time of Christ or the Common Era. It is still observed by some groups in Palestine today. Thus, there was an annual date known as “First Sabbath,” just after Passover.”4

Is there New Testament scripture to support this? As a matter of fact there is. In Luke 6:1 it says: And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

This proves that all of the verses that say “First day of the week” occur during the 50 Day period between Passover and Pentecost. So, when Paul was staying in Troas and he was preaching on the “first day” that literally translates to first of the Sabbaths or the Sabbath after Passover.5

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 says “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 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.” Again this has to do with First-fruits and how many days until Pentecost. There is proof in 1 Corinthians 16:5-8: “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” So Paul is traveling to Ephesus to celebrate Pentecost. That means Paul was caught between the 50 day period until Pentecost. Additionally, the reason Paul wanted a collection taken up on his way to Pentecost was to fulfill Deuteronomy 16:16 which says, “Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.” This was not a weekly offering!

Revelation 1:10a says: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” That is the only time the phrase “on the Lord’s Day” appears! John was referring to Jesus` Sabbath. There are three verse that back-up that sentence. There is Matthew 12:8: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.

There is Luke 6:5: And he said unto them, “That the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.
And then there is. Mark 2:27-28:And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” So John was talking about the Seventh-day Sabbath.

One other verse Sunday Sabbatarians use is John 20:19. It says “When it was evening on that first day of the week, and the doors were shut where the disciples were staying for fear of the Jews, Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, Peace be with you.” One might argue: Jesus was establishing Sunday worship when He appeared to his disciples. If you look at the text it says “ the doors were shut where the disciples were staying for fear of the Jews” That means the disciples were not anticipating Jesus’ resurrection. They were afraid the Jews were going to come after them and so they went into hiding. Although, it is likely that Jesus appeared to them on the seventh day of the week. John 20:19 in the Young’s Literal Translations says “It being, therefore, evening, on that day, the first of the Sabbaths, and the doors having been shut where the disciples were assembled, through fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith to them, `Peace to you;’ And John 20:26 states “And after eight days, again were his disciples within, and Thomas with them; Jesus cometh, the doors having been shut, and he stood in the midst, and said, `Peace to you!.’ This was a week later, so Jesus couldn’t have been establishing Sunday worship when He appeared to the disciples on Saturday.

So we now know what those verses actually meant and their relation to the true Sabbath, the Seventh day. Anytime you see something that looks contradictory check yourself not the Bible. Another thing to do is read the verse before or after because they might hold the key. Also, understanding the culture and the Hebrew respect for the Law helps.

Historical Evidence

The first century church got off to a rocky start. From the beginning of the apostles to the capture of Jerusalem, the Pharisees continued to persecute the new Christians but the church (no matter what happened) also continued to grow faster than the Pharisees could keep up with them. This was a factor that helped the growth of Christianity. The Romans started persecuting the Christians after the burning of Rome. The persecution actually helped by bringing more people to Christ. Most of the Apostles were persecuted during the Roman persecution. All of the Apostles were killed except for John who was exiled to the island of Patmos. The Christians would still be persecuted for another 200 more years in parts of the Roman Empire!

Then the Roman Catholic Church got started, and things would never be the same again. A few theologians make claims that the Roman Catholic Church didn’t get started until the Council of Trent. Here is a quote from Gaspare de Fosso, Archbishop of Reggio Calabria, “The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day. This has not been done by the command of Christ, but by the authority of the church.”6 This was at the Council of Trent, which proves that the Church changed it and the Roman Catholic Church assumes responsibility.

Justin Martyr (a convert to the new faith) said “But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.”7 Early Christian Sunday “keepers” needed a theological excuse to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday. They found it in linking the first day to the first day of creation. In doing that they were denying Christ’s authority, who declared himself to be Lord of the Sabbath, the Seventh day. They also twist the very words of God at creation to their will.

In 321 A.D, the Roman Emperor Constantine issued an edict stating “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits.” (No mention of Christ in this SUNday law.) The Holy Catholic Church got a boost when Constantine issued his edict. Then in the Roman Catholic Council, they took bold steps in enforcing Sunday worship. They also urged the desecration of the Seventh Day Sabbath. The Catholic church stated “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but they must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s day (Sunday); and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.”8 A sidenote is that if the Roman church issued this, then there must have been a lot of Christians keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath even in the third century, because they would not have gone to the trouble of issuing this decree if there were not a lot of Seventh-day keepers.

Those who didn’t worship on the Lord’s Day (Sunday), or work on the Sabbath
(The seventh day) were to be excommunicated. These bold steps were the standing pillar that caused the Roman Catholic Church to gain power. This was the beginning mark of Papal authority. Then the Church ordered a fast on the Seventh Day. They thought that ordering a fast would then make the Seventh Day unappealing. The western part of the Church (the Roman side) obeyed this, and more young Christians grew to be pro-Sunday or anti-Seventh-day believers. The eastern part (Eastern Orthodox Church) resisted Rome. They continued to worship on the Seventh Day. Tension continued to grow between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Finally, Emperor Justinian the Second issued a meeting for the Eastern Orthodox Church Council in 692 AD, in Constantinople. This was the church’s big chance to strike a blow against the Pope in Rome. They made a list of their Canons (or lists of what they believed) and sent them to Rome for the Pope to sign. The Pope refused because he was convicted under the matter of 7th day fasting. The Emperor then ordered the Pope under house arrest. They then let the matter settle for two centuries. Then the quarrel was brought back up again from new disputes. Then came the 16th of July, 1054, the pope, having become bored with the long quarrel , undertook an insolent action.

He excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople. As soon as the papal legates, who delivered the message, were out of sight and hearing, the Emperor ordered the burning of the excommunication document. The Eastern Orthodox Church then ordered its own excommunication document against the Latin Church. Hal Holbrook of the Seventh Day Series puts it this way: “And so the excommunicated excommunicated the excommunicators.” So it is clear that Seventh-day keeping did not die out easily. But it is also clear that the Roman Catholic Church established and somewhat succeeded in enforcing Sunday worship.

However, there were those who resisted, such as Martin Luther and John Wycliffe.
John Wycliffe, a man who rocked the Christian world, lived from about 1320 to about 1384. Wycliffe grew up in England and was educated at Oxford University. What he did to change the Christian world was to translate the Bible into English. He attacked the Roman Catholic Church so fiercely that he associated them with the Anti-Christ! (The Pope even went to the trouble of having his bones dug up and burned years after his death.)
Wycliffe’s followers were known as Lollards which in the Holland language means “mumblers.” The Lollards continued what Wycliffe started. A few of them even worshiped on the seventh-day!

When Martin Luther nailed the ninety-five theses to the doors of the Wittenberg church he merely wanted to see a few changes in the Roman Catholic Church. What Luther did changed the Christian world so much that it tore it in two! His motto was Sola Scriptura or the Scriptures only. Luther considered the Bible to be the greatest treasure that anyone could want. His followers were called Lutherans. (While Luther did much to correct false doctrine, there was much he left undone as he tracked many false catholic doctrines into the new church.)

Later, there were some Anabaptist preachers who kept the seventh-day Sabbath. Two of these preachers made significant contributions. Their names were Andreas Fisher and Oswalt Glate. What made these two Anabaptist Seventh-day preachers so convincing is clear logical arguments like this:
1. The Ten Commandments are the basis for the moral law.9
2. Therefore, the Sabbath, the fourth commandment, is part of the moral law.
3. There are not 8 or 9 but 10 commandments.
4. Jesus, himself, kept the Sabbath.
5. The apostles and the earliest church fathers taught the observance of the Sabbath, the Seventh-day.
6. It was Pope Victor and Emperor Constantine who established Sunday worship in the church.
7. On the other hand, God himself established Sabbath worship. We should keep the Sabbath out of love for God.
The Anabaptist’s’ argument is unchanged even today as this paper shows. Scripture remains the same and History still proves that Pope Victor and Constantine are major contributors to Sunday worship, not Jesus.
Then came Theofelous Brayburn who was an Anglican Clergyman and laid a foundation that continues into the 21st century. He states: “The matter is clear, it takes only our own record of days and weeks to make an end of the argument. It is the Seventh-day, the Sabbath of creation that we need to keep holy. When you can show me from scripture that there is any other Seventh-day than the day we call Saturday, the last day of the week, then I might be persuaded that the fourth commandment means some other Seventh-day besides Saturday.10 I care not whether you keep Saturday- Sabbath, Sunday-Sabbath, or Monday-Sabbath. But if we have respect to God or to his scriptures let us give him a day of his own choice and not another.11 (emphasis added) The moral law, or Decalog spoken by God and wrote by his finger in tables of stone is still in force.”12

So the historical evidence backs up the biblical evidence.

Conclusion

So Christ did not change the Sabbath and his disciples certainly did not. The Roman Catholic Church, “feeling their own sense of power,” (see quotes below) changed the day. Even the verses modern theologians use are twisted to make it fit their “little box.” As stated before, God does not change anything without first revealing it to the prophets. A few theologians make claims that the Roman Catholic Church didn’t get started until the Council of Trent. Here is a quote from Gaspare de Fosso, Archbishop of Reggio Calabria, “The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day. This has not been done by the command of Christ, but by the authority of the church.13” This was at the Council of Trent, which proves that the Church changed it and the Roman Catholic Church assumes responsibility.

Appendix

Following quotes taken from: Paper by 119ministries.com

“Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day – Saturday – for Sunday, the first day?I answer yes. Did Christ change the day’? I answer no!”
“Faithfully yours, J. Card. Gibbons.” James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, Md. (1877-1921),in a signed letter. 14

“St John speaks of the Lord’s day (Rev 1:10) but he does not tell us what day of the week that was, much less does he tell us what day was to take the place of the Sabbath ordained in the commandments. St. Luke speaks of the disciples meeting together to break bread on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7. And St. Paul (1 Cor.16:2) orders that on the first day of the week the Corinthians should lay in store what they designated to bestow in charity on the faithful in Judea: but neither the one or the other tells us that this first day of the week was to be henceforth a day of worship, and the Christian Sabbath; so that truly the best authority we have for this ancient custom is the testimony of the church. And therefore those who pretend to be such religious observers of Sunday, whilst they take no notice of other festivals ordained by the same church authority, show that they act more by humor, than by religion; since Sundays and holidays all stand upon the same foundation, namely the ordinance of the (Roman Catholic) church.” Catholic Christian Instructed, 17th edition, p. 272-273. 15

“They [the Protestants] deem it their duty to keep the Sunday holy. Why? Because the Catholic Church tells them to do so. They have no other reason…The observance of Sunday thus comes to be an ecclesiastical law entirely distinct from the divine law of Sabbath observance…The author of the Sunday law…is the Catholic Church.” Ecclesiastical Review, February 1914. 16

“The Sunday…is purely a creation of the Catholic Church.”American Catholic Quarterly Review, January 883. 17

“Sunday…is the law of the Catholic Church alone…” American Sentinel (Catholic), June 1893. 18

“Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles…From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 1900. 19

“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.” Priest Brady, in an address reported in The News, Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1903. 20

“I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. To Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ‘No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” father T. Enright, C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 18, 1884, printed in History of the Sabbath, p. 802. 21

“Question – Which is the Sabbath day?
“Answer – Saturday is the Sabbath day.
“Question – Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
“Answer – We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 364), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50, 3rd edition, 1957. 22

Footnotes:
1. Greek word for ‘ordinances’ used here is ‘dogma’ which is a word never used in Scripture to refer to the Laws of God. The Strong’s number is G1378 quoted in any Exhaustive Concordance. I used the New American Standard Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible 1998, The Lockman Foundation
2. John Wallis, A Defenseof the Christian Sabbath (Oxford, 1693—second edition), p.1. The first edition was published in 1692. Quote taken from: James T. Dennison, Jr. The Market Day Of The Soul (University Press of America, Inc., 1983), p.163.
3. http://119ministries.com/FAITHNETWORK_UserFileStore/filecabinet/ministries/00f06fd7-4de2-4d8d-922d-ccd4a82bb1a9/The_First_Day_and_the_Seventh_Day_-_A_Sabbath_Study.pdf
4. (p. 230, The Life of Christ in Stereo) Johnston M. Cheney
5. http://119ministries.com/FAITHNETWORK_UserFileStore/filecabinet/ministries/00f06fd7-4de2-4d8d-922d-ccd4a82bb1a9/The_First_Day_and_the_Seventh_Day_-_A_Sabbath_Study.pdf
6. Giuseppe Mansi, Sacrorum Consiliorum, vol. 33, columns 529-530.
7. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1:186. Quoted by Kenneth A. Strand, The Sabbath in Scripture and History, (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982 p. 331. )
8. -Council of Laodicea, Canon 29 need full bibliographical citation.
9. Daniel Liechty, Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1993), p.
10. Bryan Ball, The Seventh-Day Men (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p. 69.
11. Bryan Ball, The Seventh-Day Men (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p. 70.
12. Bryan Ball, The Seventh-Day Men (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p. 76.
13. Giuseppe Mansi, Sacrorum Consiliorum, vol. 33, columns 529-530.
14-21. http://119ministries.com/FAITHNETWORK_UserFileStore/filecabinet/ministries/00f06fd7-4de2-4d8d-922d-ccd4a82bb1a9/The_First_Day_and_the_Seventh_Day_-_A_Sabbath_Study.pdf

About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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13 Responses to The Sabbath, Scripturally Speaking…

  1. Connie says:

    Great work Gunner! Keep up the tov seeking. Listen to the wise man instructing you.

    Like

  2. boozerd says:

    This is a great paper. You can tell he did his research well and presented it well. Hooray for Homeschooled kids. Their research paper themes will not be refused as being too “religious”.

    Like

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Thank you for that encouragement.

      Gunnar wrote this over a semester long class that our homeschool co-op hosted. It was taught by a pastor that didn’t appreciate the topic very much… He appreciated even less the fact that Gunnar refused to get sidetracked and waste a bunch of paper trying to refute the myriad of warped justifications from the ‘fathers.’ Instead, as the final product bears out, he/we wrestled with the Scriptures and did our research within the only solid Truth available. It earned him a C+… Go figure.

      We just had to laugh it off. That pastor is where I was a couple short years ago. May Yahweh show him the grace He showed us.

      Makes me want to say, “Exodus 31:16-17! What part of ‘forever‘ do you NOT understand?” But then, that’s where I was. Just glad Abba is patient with us all.

      Shalom.

      Like

  3. wilsonranch says:

    An amazing and insightful young man! Such a blessing!

    Like

  4. Courtney says:

    I love it! Way to go Gunner! C

    Like

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