Why Do You Observe Saturday?

By John Currier


 

This is a fair question and one that is asked quite often of those of our faith. I mean, after all, isn't Sunday the day that people are supposed to worship God? All the churches counting from the Roman Catholic Church right on through the Baptists, the Methodists, the Pentecostal churches, and even the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses observe Sunday as the day of worship. So, if all these churches say that Sunday is the day of worship, how can we claim otherwise?

Well, the answer lies in your Bible. Is there any place that Jesus said to change the day from the seventh day Sabbath to the first day of the week, Sunday? Are there any examples of the apostles observing Sunday as a day of worship? Did any of the apostles say that the day should be changed? How and when was it changed and why was it changed, and who changed it?

Many people today assume that the day of worship has always been Sunday. Others presume that it doesn't make any difference what day is used? Sunday is sometimes referred to as the "Christian Sabbath." Are any of these things according to God? Let's go to the only true source of knowledge—the Bible.

There are only eight places in the Bible that mentions the first day of the week. Six of these have to do with the Resurrection of Jesus and in no way relate to a worship service. The other two (Acts 20:7 & I Cor. 16:2) have to do with Paul. Obviously, from the text in Acts 20:7 he and others had come together to eat an evening meal. This was apparently on Sunday, but there was no intention of a worship service. There was no singing of songs of praise. There were no prayers being offered. There was no worship being done. What was being done is that Paul was teaching. And why was he doing this on Sunday? Because he was planing on leaving the next day and the people were wanting to hear as much as possible from him before he left. And so, he taught all through the night! At best, one may describe this as a "Bible Study" but certainly not a worship service.

In 1 Cor 16:2 Paul writes the following: "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." NIV Paul is not saying that he is coming on the first day of the week, but for the people to set aside a sum of money on that day. Why? Because this is the first day of the week--- the business day. Set aside the money on that day before they have spent it during the week. Then, when Paul comes, the money will have already been collected. There is no mention of a worship service. Those who support Sunday as the day of worship try to read into this that it's a tithe that is being collected during worship service. It is not.

Where did the idea of Sunday worship come from? From the ancient pagans! This was the day all the "sun gods" were to be worshipped. These pagan gods had been worshipped in one form or another throughout the world for hundreds of years. Only the Israelites---the Hebrews--- the Jews knew the command of God to worship on the Sabbath and of course, to worship Him only. The rest of the world worshipped on Sunday the pagan false gods.

When the Gospel began to go into the world, it was spread east by the apostles through Asia Minor and into Greece, etc. When it went to the west, it began to become distorted in the area of Alexandria, Egypt and on into Rome. In order to gain followers, the western church not only allowed many of the pagan rites and rituals to become part of the church, but actually adopted some of the thinking of those cultures. One of the things that made it easy for the pagans to accept this new religion is that they still worshipped on Sunday.

As time went on, there were many controversies between the eastern and the western churches. The western church wanted more authority and more power in the church since they had the larger following. It became their intention that they would separate themselves from everything that was "Jewish." This, of course, meant the Sabbath! However, they had to have some just cause for doing this. First they claimed that the "Jews" had killed Christ. Second, they claimed that Jesus was resurrected from the dead on Sunday and therefore, Sunday was now the "Christian Sabbath." In 325 A.D., the emperor Constantine, being a good sun god worshiper, declared and enforced the day of worship to be Sunday! Anyone observing the true Sabbath would be arrested and put to death. The western church had won!

The enforcement of the Sabbath went throughout the world. It wasn't until the Reformation started by Martin Luther that the subject was brought out again. Since then, many people have given their lives in support of the Sabbath of God. Remember, what Christ said in Luke 6:5:

Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." He did not say that He was Lord of Sunday!

Did Jesus say to change the Sabbath to Sunday? NO! Did the apostles say to change the Sabbath to Sunday or did they give any examples of worshipping of Sunday? NO! Do you think that any day is just as good as any other day to be the day of worship? God thought enough of that particular day to include it in the Ten Commandments and after so many thousands of years, why would He change it? He didn't!

We can see plainly that neither God the Father, nor Jesus Christ the Son, nor any of the apostles ever sanctioned the changing of the Sabbath to Sunday. We see that it was the church in Rome that was at the core of this. But what do the other churches of today say about the Sabbath? Let's read just a few comments: (All emphasis and underlining mine)

  1. Episcopal- "Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of the weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None." Manual of Christian Doctrine, p. 127.

  2. Methodist- "Take the matter of Sunday…there is no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day"- Harris Franklin Rail, Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942.

  3. Baptist- "There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day but that Sabbath day was not Sunday…it will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week… Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament---absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week." - From a paper by Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual.

  4. Christian- "There never was any change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change." - First Day Observance. Pp.17,19.

  5. Congregationalist- "The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament." - Dr. Lyman Abbott, Christian Union, January 19, 1882.

  6. Church of Christ- "I do not believe that the Lord's day came in the room of the Jewish Sabbath or that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day."- Alexander Campbell, Washington Reporter, October 8, 1821.

  7. Lutheran- "Observance of the Lord's day (Sunday) is founded not on a command of God, but on the authority of the church."- Augsburg Confession of Faith, quoted in the Catholic Sabbath Manual, part 1, Chapter 1, Section 10.

  8. Presbyterian- "The Christian Sabbath (Sunday) is not in the Scriptures and is not by the primitive church called the Sabbath." Dwight Theology, vol. 4, p. 401.

  9. Roman Catholic- "You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we (Catholics) never sanctify."- James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers. P. 111.

    "Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims 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." -The Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August, 1900.

    "Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the (Roman Catholic) Church, has no good reasons for its Sunday theory, and ought logically to keep Saturday as the Sabbath." - John Gilmary Shea, American Catholic Quarterly Review, January, 1883.

    "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 Elizabeth, NJ "News", March 18, 1903.

    "Protestants…accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change… But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that… in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope." - "Our Sunday Visitor", February 5, 1950.

  10. Dictionary- "The notion of a formal substitution by apostolic authority of the Lord's Day (meaning Sunday) for the Jewish Sabbath (or for the seventh day)… and the transference to it, perhaps in spiritualized form, of the sabbatical obligation established by promulgation of the Fourth Commandment, has no basis whatever either in Holy Scripture or in Christian antiquity." - A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, vol. 2,p. 182. Article "Sabbath"

  11. Encyclopedia- "It must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day."- M'Clintock and Strong, Cyclopedia Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Vol. 9, p. 19.

Note: Though some individual pastors may argue the point, we have not found one single Sunday-keeping organization yet, which did not in its official literature plainly admit that there is no Scripture to support Sunday observance.

Since there is no Biblical evidence to support the change from the seventh day Sabbath that God has commanded to the first day of the week, Sunday, it is our belief that this command is still to be obeyed. This has been a very short paper and a little information in support of the Sabbath. There is much more evidence to be shown throughout the Bible in support of the Sabbath and if you're interested in the information, then please contact us through this web-site. May God bless you in your search for the truth.

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