Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Saturday or Sunday Worship - Why is that the Question?

It was recently suggested to me that there may be some confusion as to the day Christians are to worship, and further more that this confusion may be causing turmoil, and unrest…

To which of course I wondered “Why?”

Never being immersed in the group the Seventh Day Adventists I am sure I cannot fully appreciate the ingrained dogma regarding Saturday worship… Although a time or two I have tuned into the local Seventh Day radio station and heard tidbits of information regarding the “satanically inspired Saturday morning cartoons”, which were of course a demonic ploy to keep children out of “Sabbath School” Stating “Do you think it is a coincidence they show those cartoons on Saturdays?” It caused a slight chuckle, a grin and a turn of the dial back to the local Christian Contemporary station…

However I too have had the cold scaly hands of legalism around my throat, therefore I feel sympathetic towards any who may be struggling with such thoughts and am inspired to put forth a suitable amount of effort to clear things up a bit, and I hope it helps.

Many Seventh Day Adventists associate Sunday worship with receiving 'the Mark of the Beast'. In fact many believe that Christians who attend church on a Sunday have actually been deceived by a variety of demonic influences ranging from the Catholics, to Constantine, to Satan himself, and therefore, by attending Sunday worship, are in essence sinning against God!

Legalism in all cases seeks to justify it case by selective texts, and selective historical documentation, somehow failing to balance their view or conveniently leaving certain historical truths covered. In fact I am amazed at the length to which these groups will search to validate their view, obtain obscure historical records, of which are highly questionable, and then degrade those most generally and scholarly accepted documents! In fact it sickens me and I am appalled!

It is suitable to note that most Seventh Day Adventists also hold to the dietary laws of the Old Testament as well… So if one chooses to subscribe the “Sunday is Satanic” or Pagan or whatever hot button word being used, I’d lay aside the bacon, as well, and of course Shrimp Fest at the local Red Lobster should be considered a memory as well!

This is only noted to state that in the New Testament some changes where made, and we observe those changes and we follow them as the fulfillment of initial first coming of our Messiah – Jesus Christ…

So let us dive into the meat of the issue!

The commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 states that the seventh day of the week, which is Saturday, is the day which the Lord instructed as the day of rest and worship. However in the New Testament we see the church worshiped on Sunday. So what gives?

Though there are a variety of places to begin let me first start with the New Testament view of the Sabbath.

Romans 14:5-6: "One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God."

Paul illustrates for us in Romans that one man regards one day, and another man, another day… He then states “He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord”

If Saturday worship were so critical, then why would Paul give such variance to man, such flexibility? Why would he not drill the issue, as some feel it should be, why not make it an object of division, as some have? I won’t answer this, actually I cannot answer this question because no answer exists, other than to note Paul felt we should take a day to observe the Lord, but this day was to the discretion of men… As a man observes that day of choice, he observes to the Lord. It is a clear command.

Colossians 2:16-17: "Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."

This is a critical text. Take note of the Holy Days noted here:

a festival

a new moon

a Sabbath day

Preceding the mentioning of these things we are given a command from the Word of God “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to” Pretty weighty stuff so far.

No one can judge in regards to the Sabbath day, or what day we worship the Lord, and the reason is… this is where it gets interesting –

The Sabbath was a “mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ”

The Message Bible

Col 2:16 So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.

Amplified Bible(R)

(Colossians 2:16) Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.

(Colossians 2:17) Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.

Jesus is essentially our Sabbath! The Sabbath was a shadow of what is to come. He is our rest, He is our worship, and the entire law is summed up in Loving God, not in keeping a variety of Holy Days!

The insistence of the Seventh Day Adventists adherence to Saturday worship, and their condemnation of Sunday worship, is unfounded and ignorance or ignoring based of New Testament SCRIPTURE, PRACTICE, AND TRADITION!

That in mind let’s take a look at some historical truths

Acts 20:7: "And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight."

Message Bible

Act 20:7 We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master's Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on, way past midnight.

The first day of the week is now as it was then and that day is Sunday. It also appears to be the day that the church gathered for worship. The day that people gathered, worshipped and learned of God, in the New Testament church… WAS/IS SUNDAY.

Now if this was a single occurrence that would be fine, but as you’ll see it was not!

1Corinthans 16:1

Regarding the relief offering for poor Christians that is being collected, you get the same instructions I gave the churches in Galatia. Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can. When I get there you'll have it ready, and I won't have to make a special appeal. Then after I arrive, I'll write letters authorizing whomever you delegate, and send them off to Jerusalem to deliver your gift. If you think it best that I go along, I'll be glad to travel with them.

Notice here that Paul is directing the churches to meet on the first day of each week and put money aside. It would seem that this is tithing. So, the instructed time for the church to meet is Sunday. Is this an official worship day set up by the church? You decide.

So we notice that Paul instructs the saints to make an offering on Sunday, which sounds like well an offering in a church service!

Revelation 1:10-11: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."

On the Lord’s day is Sunday

Same text Message Bible

(Revelation 1:10) It was Sunday and I was in the Spirit, praying. I heard a loud voice behind me, trumpet-clear and piercing:


Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The Lord’s day - The first day of the week, observed as the Christian Sabbath, because on it Jesus Christ rose from the dead; therefore it was called the Lord’s day, and has taken place of the Jewish Sabbath throughout the Christian world.

John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Rev 1:10 - I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,.... Not on the Jewish sabbath, which was now abolished, nor was that ever called the Lord's day, and had John meant that, he would have said on the sabbath day; much less the Jewish passover, but the first day of the week is designed

Now let me give you a bit of wordy information, but it so validates this truth

The Lords Day

the Ethiopic version renders it "on the first day"; and is so called just as the ordinance of the supper is called the Lord's supper, being instituted by the Lord, and the Lord's table, 1Co_10:21, and that because it was the day in which our Lord rose from the dead, Mar_16:9; and in which he appeared at different times to his disciples, Joh_20:19, and which the primitive churches set apart for his worship and service, and on which they met together to hear the word, and attend on ordinances, Act_20:7; and Justin Martyr (z) tells us, who lived within about fifty years after this time, that on the day called, "Sunday", (by the Greeks,) the Christians met together in one place, and read the Scriptures, and prayed together, and administered the ordinance of the supper; and this, he adds, was the first day in which God created the World, and our Saviour Jesus Christ rose from the dead;

Barnabas (a), the companion of the Apostle Paul, calls this day the eighth day, in distinction from the seventh day sabbath of the Jews, and which he says is the beginning of another world; and therefore we keep the eighth day, adds he, joyfully, in which Jesus rose from the dead, and being manifested, ascended unto heaven: and this day was known by the ancients by the name of "the Lord's day"; as by:





End quote

Some of you may not know the names listed: Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc… These men are known as the “Church Fathers” We value their opinion because they where disciples of the disciples… Yes, most of them knew the actual disciples/Apostles of Jesus Christ, and as they began to pass away, these men began to lead the church…

Fringe groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists will often discredit the Church Fathers… They do so because their thoughts, and words disagree so vehemently with what I call their “existence doctrines”

Existence doctrines are those doctrines so extreme that orthodox Christianity rejects them as heresy there fore a group is formed around the existence of this polarizing doctrinal view… it then becomes the soul reason for their shallow existence! The sum of all their sermons etc …

Nonetheless the writings of the Church Fathers and their historical value are so esteemed by so many scholars all over the world it is silly to refute them in totality!

Constantine Controversy

Poor Constantine, he was the fourth century Roman Emperor, and is usually the man in black for our Seventh Day Advents which is all to humorous to me, because he also is the devil in the Oneness doctrine as well… This guy gets blamed for more stuff!!! I am sure he was not sweetheart but come on… The rumor is Constantine created or imposed Sunday worship (along with the trinity as well) and then persecuted all the Sabbath-keepers and modalists of his age… Excuse me while I chuckle

Justin Martyr 110-165 a.d. [160 years before Constantine]

"Sunday is the day upon which we all hold our communion and assembly" (Justin Martyr, First Christian Apology)

Didache Estimated Range of Dating: 50-120

Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day. But every Lord's day (Sunday) gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: "In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations."

Obviosuly Sunday worship was happening LONG before Constantine, so that theory, accusation is false, and perhaps we may even say it is a lie…

The non-canonical Epistle of Barnabbas show that Christians were also assembling on Sundays.

The Epistle of Ignatius about A.D. 107 gives the reason why The Lord's Day was now seen as having more importance than the original sabbath:
'Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish Law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace....If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and By His death.'

'Apostolic Constitutions: Church life in the 2nd Century' says this:
'On the day of the resurrection of the Lord--that is, the Lord's Day--assemble yourself together without fail, giving thanks to God and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ.'

What about Jesus

Jesus bluntly corrected the legalistic view of the Pharisees when he stated, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).

The point Jesus made is that the Sabbath was not instituted to enslave people, but to benefit them.

The purpose of Sabbath is to give man the opportunity to honor God, and to rest from work to worship God… Not simply a law to obey!

A few final thoughts

Adventists claim: The Catholics take responsibility for changing Saturday to Sunday worship.

My answer – Maybe they do, I have not checked into this… but they also claim Peter as their first Pope! So who care what they claim as their, and what they take credit for? Is it scriptural, is it historical… That Adventist claim is MUTE, WORTHLESS, WITHOUT MERIT

Do not fail to remember worship on a Sunday is present within the New Testament itself (Acts 20:7 1 Cor 16:1-2 and Revelation 1:10, for instance).

The Sabbath command is never repeated in the New Testament, not even once.

Christ entered his own rest from His earthly labors on a Sunday - not a Sabbath.

The resurrected Jesus appeared to His disciples first on a Sunday (John 20: 19-22).

If you wanted to have church with the disciples during that time period… You better wait till Sunday (Acts 20:7 1 Cor 16:1-2 and Revelation 1:10). If you want to go the Jewish Synagogue and follow all the laws, dietary, and all other 600 or so… go ahead and do the Saturday thing

While Paul chose to preach on a Sunday - see Acts 20:7.


Legalism is a killer. It seeks to steal, kill and destroy. “Destroy what?” you may ask. Life, faith and grace… oh yes, and the cross of Jesus Christ. The command given to us regarding our worship to God is simple… Do it with all your heart!

(Matthew 22:36) Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

(Matthew 22:37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

(Matthew 22:38) This is the first and great commandment.

Other than not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, we will find no other commands in the New Testament about our public worship, not the correct day it must happen, the correct time it must happen… This foul “existence doctrine” of Saturday worship is sheer legalism, and it is void of scriptural, historical and logical truth. So then, I’ll see you Sunday.