There are common beliefs in Christian circles on the Sabbath. These beliefs are what is called Replacement Theology and they are anti-Torah. Christianity has a different “perspective” on the Sabbath than what the Bible teaches. So, we are going to develop some of this out, and here are some of the idea’s.
The Seventh Day Sabbath was to celebrate the “old creation” so the Lord’s Day celebrates the “new creation.” First of all, this is classic Replacement Theology. The seventh day is replaced by the first day of the week, Sunday, and calling it “The Lord’s Day.” The Lord’s day has always been the seventh day Sabbath and it is the name of the last 1000 year period of God’s 7000 year plan. It is an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah because the final 1000 years begins on a Rosh Ha Shannah. By changing it to Sunday, the first day of the week, Christianity has replaced all this in Christian thought and eschatology.
They will say that many “believers” and “holy men” in the past believed that Sunday replaced Saturday (seventh day) and if their logic was not true, they would have been “convicted” about it. On the other hand, maybe they just weren’t true believers. Because they are “under grace” according to their dispensationalism, the written laws on the Sabbath are not imposed. However, does that logic carry over about other written laws on lying, stealing, murder, homosexuality and idols? We think not. They will say that the Sabbath is kept in the heart. If you keep the Torah, you are “under a tutor” because “faith” has not come to you (Gal 3.23). But Christians stand before God as “adults” in no need for a tutor, so no need of the Torah. Life for a Spirit-filled Christian believer will be occupied on Sunday due to the resurrection and the “new creation.” Anything otherwise means his heart has yet “to yield” to God and is still carnal, and an observance of any other day would be displeasing to God. The issue for Christians is not “outward” actions but a “yielded” life. The observance of Sunday is indicated by several events.
They believe the Sabbath is no where imposed on a Christian under grace. But if grace started in the Garden of Eden, this cannot be true. But, to a Christian this makes sense because they believe grace started after the cross and the resurrection. Here are some of the reason’s Christianity teaches that Sunday is now the “Lord’s Day”:
1) The resurrection was on the first day of the week
2) He met with his disciples in a new fellowship in John 20.19-23. But, it was First Fruits and it always falls on the first day of the week-Lev 23.9-14
3) The “Spirit” came from Heaven on the first day of the week in Acts 2. However, it was Shavuot and it always falls on the first day of the week-Lev 23.15-22
4) Paul preached in Troas on that day in Acts 20.6-7. In reality, it was a Sabbath day because in verse 7 it says in Greek, “On one of the Sabbaths” not “upon the first day of the week.” The literal Greek translation was changed in English to “first” for “on one” and “week” for “Sabbaths. This was to give the impression that they were meeting on Sunday. What they were doing in verse 8 was a Havdalah service at the end of the Sabbath day. They were eating a Sabbath meal where it says “breaking bread.” Now, Havdalah is a short service after the sun has set at the end of the Sabbath day. This ceremony is done as a “separation” of the day because Sabbath had a higher kedusha than the other days of the week (called “chol” or “common” days). Anciently when the ceremony was done, there was a large candle called the “Lapid” meaning “torch” that was extinguished in a glass of wine. Today, the lights are turned on in the room where it is done, but anciently everyone lit candles, illuminating the room and that is what you see in 20.8. This verse is not talking about a “Sunday service” in 20.6-9 but a Sabbath service that is still done today. Paul preached till midnight of the first day of the week, and talked with them till daybreak. On the first day of the week, as soon as it was light, Paul was traveling, not “going to church” (Acts 20.11-13). Christianity has replaced the truths of these verses to falsely support their premise that this was a Sunday, but it wasn’t. It was a Sabbath day and he didn’t travel, so they had a Sabbath meal and a Havdalah service. Then he taught till midnight (of the first day of the week) and someone fell asleep and he fell out of a window. He was alright, and Paul continued to talk until daybreak and then departed.
5) Another “proof” is 1 Cor 16.2 and this is where Christianity says that “collections” were made “on the first day of the week.” They say this proves they “met for church” on Sunday. However, this is what was really happening. People got paid daily, not at the end of the week like we do. The one day you didn’t work was the Sabbath. So, on the first day of the week (Sunday) was the first work day and what Paul was telling them was to lay aside part of your wages for the collection that was to be taken to Jerusalem on the first day you get paid. This was advised so that they wouldn’t spend it all. This doesn’t mean they were in a “church” service and they were passing a collection plate. This expression “on the first of the week lay aside” is common in the Jewish writings, like the Talmud. Nobody would take the Talmud and say, “Hey, look, the Jews were meeting for church on Sunday!” Christianity takes these verse and makes them say something they don’t say.
6) They believe “Christ” appeared to John on Patmos in Rev 1.10 on a Sunday. However, the “Lord’s Day” is still used in Judaism and it is another name for the Sabbath. It is also an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah. In Isa 58.13 the Sabbath is called “My holy day” and “the holy day of the Lord.” In the first century, John and the people understood the “Lord’s Day” as the Sabbath. Christianity’s belief that this was a Sunday is untrue. John had this vision about eschatology on the day that these things will occur, the seventh day (1000 year period) of the 7000 year plan of God, called the “Day of the Lord.”
Catholicism and Christianity at large teach that Sunday has replaced the seventh day Sabbath. The Catechismus Romanus freely admits that the Pacacy (Popes) changed it. At the Council of Trent in 1566, they said “By order of Pope Pius V” that “It pleased the Church of God that the religious celebration of the Sabbath should be transferred to the Lord’s Day.” How does the “church” have power to command feasts and holy days? By the very act of changing the Sabbath to Sunday, which Protestants allow, and they contradict themselves by keeping Sunday. Had the church not had such power in their mind, then other religious sects would not have agreed with it. Such an act has no scriptural authority. Here is what the Catholic Church has said. James Cardinal Gibbons (1877-1921), Archbishop of Baltimore said in a letter, “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!”
The Catholic Mirror, the official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893 said, “The Catholic Church by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” John Laux, Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies (1936), Vol 1, p.51 says, “Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that he himself has explicitly substituted Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave his church the power to set aside whatever days she would deem suitable as holy days. The church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days.”
In the Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947, p.9, in an article called “I tell you the truth” it says, “For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the Roman Catholic church outside of the Bible.”
In Part 23, we will pick up here and show you some Protestant confessions about the Sabbath and admitting that there is no Biblical authority for observing Sunday as the Sabbath.