When Jesus comes there are going to be a multitude of professed Christians who will be horrified that their rejection of Bible truth will have cost them eternal life. Matthew 7:21-23.
Revelation 1:10 is a verse that many have taken out of context in an attempt to support an erroneous, non-biblical, man-made tradition.
The prophet says simply that he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” He does not say which day of the week this is; but simply tells us that there is one period of twenty-four hours in each week that is different from the other six days, and that this period of time is considered by the Lord to be His day.
For one to ascertain which day of the week the Lord accounts as His day there is no one better to ask than the Lord Himself, and he clearly tells us that He is Lord of the “Sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28).
We also find that at the creation of this world “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” (Genesis 2:1-3) as a memorial of His creation. This special day was so important to God that He included it in the Ten Commandments some 2,500 years later, in the clearest language possible.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).
Some 800 years after Sinai the Lord called upon His people to stop desecrating “the Sabbath” by doing their “pleasure on My holy day” (Isaiah 58:13).
In light of all this Bible evidence, and without any Scripture to support their erroneous position, there are many who still insist that the “Lord’s day” refers to Sunday, or that the first day of the week is really the seventh day of the Bible. However, the word of God makes very clear which day of the week is the first and which is the seventh.
There is great unanimity among Christians today that the day of Jesus’ crucifixion was Friday. The Christian celebration of that event is even called “Good Friday.” The same unanimity exists as to the day of His resurrection, which Christianity refers to as “Easter Sunday.” Now, in the Scripture, we find that the day on which Jesus was crucified is called “the preparation” day and preceded the Sabbath day (Luke 23:54).
As Jesus was taken from the cross and carried to the tomb on “Good Friday” the women followed, and then returned to prepare spices and ointments for the burial; but instead of returning to the tomb they “rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:55-56).
After the Sabbath was over they returned to the tomb “upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning” (Luke 24:1).
The word of God is so simple that even a young child can easily discern that the “Lord’s day” is the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment; or the day that comes between “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunday.”
Even though the Scriptures are clear that the Sabbath was made for all mankind (Mark 2:27), some have tried to say that the Sabbath was only a Jewish institution.
This is further shown to be totally without merit inasmuch as it was given at creation (Genesis 2:1- 3), thousands of years before Moses, or any Jew.
Others claim that one should keep Sunday holy in honor of the resurrection of Christ. This immediately presents two insurmountable problems.
1. How can anyone keep holy that which God has not made holy?
2. Jesus said that baptism is the ordinance one is to practice to honor His resurrection. Romans 6:3-4.
Some have even said, “I keep every day alike.”
This too presents problems of tremendous magnitude. To observe them all alike is deliberate ignorance and disobedience, for He did not make them all alike.
He made one different from the other six and said remember to keep it holy. Six days are man’s in which to labor and get his work done. The Sabbath is God’s holy day and we are to cease from our labors. Hebrews 4:9-11.
It is an absolute impossibility, to keep alike that which is not alike.
Furthermore, it is a lie to claim that one can do it, and rebellion to attempt to do so.
While Jesus was on this earth He kept the Sabbath. Luke 4:16.
In speaking of an event 40 years after His death He showed He still intended for His people to be keeping the Sabbath. Matthew 24:20
The Gentile Christians kept the Sabbath. Acts 13:42.
Nearly the whole city came the next Sabbath. Acts 13:44.
The people came together every Sabbath. Acts 18:4.
Paul’s custom, or manner, was like that of Jesus’ in observing the Sabbath. Acts 17:2. Is yours?
God’s law, including His Sabbath, will endure forever; even in the earth made new. Isaiah 66:22-23. It has always been a sign between God and His people. Ezekiel 20:12, 19, 20.
Man changed God’s day of worship from Saturday to Sunday at the Council of Laodicea in A.D. 336, and today many worship on Sunday, thereby following man-made tradition instead of the commandments of God.
Jesus says that when one knowingly replaces His commandments with man-made traditions, that person’s religion becomes worthless. Matthew 15:3, 9.
It is not for man to say “I know what you say, Lord, but I have decided that something else will work just as well.”
It is most clear that at all times “we ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29. Jesus says “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 NKJV.
His call to His people is still the same today as it was centuries ago. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Joshua 24:15.
If you truly love Him, let your answer be; “The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.” Joshua 24:24.
FIRST DAY TEXTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
There are only 8 texts in the entire New Testament that refer to the first day of the week. This study will consider each of them.
The first reference to the first day is found in Matthew 28:1 and is simply Matthew’s account of the resurrection.
Mark 16:1-2 contains the second mention of the first day and is Mark’s record of the resurrection. Mark 16:9 simply informs us that after His resurrection the first person He appeared to was Mary. Verses 10-13 tells us, that far from celebrating the resurrection, they did not even believe that
Jesus was risen from the dead when others reported He had appeared to them. As a result of their unbelief Jesus rebuked them when He later appeared to the group. Mark 16:14.
The fourth mention of the first day is found in Luke’s record of the resurrection. Luke 24:1.
Again we find that the others were not honoring the resurrection, but rather disbelieved the women and considered their story an idle tale. Luke 24:9-11.
If anything, this passage shows that the first day was considered a regular day in which they women had come to the tomb to do that which they would not do on the Sabbath. Luke 23:52- 56.
John 20:1 contains John’s reference to the resurrection, but again not the slightest indication of a change in the day of worship.
Reference six to the first day is found in John 20:19.
Notice that the reason they were assembled was not for worship, or to even acknowledge the resurrection; but because they were afraid of the Jews. They were hiding.
Many have attempted to use Acts 20:7-10 to justify rejecting the fourth commandment and keep a man-made tradition; but notice carefully several points in this seventh reference to the first day.
1. There were “many lights” because it was dark. It was an evening meeting. 2. Paul preached until midnight when a young man fell from a window.
3. Paul raised him to life and continued to preach until dawn.
4. At sunrise Paul walked 20 miles to Assos to meet others and sail to Mytilene.
This is a Saturday night meeting that continued until dawn on Sunday, as some modern translations show.
The Bible reckons a day as beginning at sunset, or at evening. Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31. The Sabbath is to be observed from evening until evening. Leviticus 23:32.
We still follow this practice for certain holidays such as Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve. It was not until the Synod of Diamper in 1599 the time-table was changed to begin the day at midnight.
Man can change the clocks, but he can’t change the sun.
Even without these irrefutable facts, simply because one preaches on a certain day does not make that day holy.
Only God can make something holy, and man can only keep holy that which God has made holy. The same is true with “breaking bread” for the early church did this daily. Acts 2:46.
The eighth and final reference that some use to try and defend disobeying the Sabbath commandment is found in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
Many claim that this proves that Sunday is holy because they took up a collection on that day. At one time or another I have taken an offering on every day of the week. Does that make every day holy?
Does taking an offering make a day holy?
We have already seen that we can do nothing to make something holy.
All we can do is keep holy that which God has made holy.
This passage is instructing the believer to “lay by him in store”, or lay aside money at home for the poor.
Paul was not even there with them, but was coming to pick it up and take it to the believers in Jerusalem. Acts 11:29, 30.
There are many pastors and authors telling people they do not have to keep God’s holy Sabbath. Each give different reasons, they are not even agreed among themselves.
How much better it would be if they would just recognize the facts as they are, as history shows them to be.
Remember, Sunday keeping does not come from the Bible at all. It comes from the traditions of men and branded with paganism and rebellion against God.
Could it be that Jesus’ question “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matthew 15:3) applies to you?
He says very clearly “ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:6) and those who do worship Him in vain, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9.
When Jesus comes there will be many professed Christians who will be surprised to hear Him say “depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23.
Iniquity is sin. Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). God’s law contains the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11).
An appropriate paraphrase would be “Depart from Me, ye that reject My Sabbath and transgress My law.”
The word of God warned that there would be “false teachers” who would “bring in damnable heresies” and “many shall follow their pernicious ways” and the “truth shall be evil spoken of.” 2 Peter 2:1-2. People are told they do not need to keep the law. The law has been abolished. It has been nailed to the cross. It was only for the Jews. We don’t need it because we are under grace. The Sabbath is not important. We should keep Sunday in honor of the resurrection. Look at how many keep
Sunday and how few keep Saturday. The multitude can’t be wrong.
Hear the word’s of Jesus: “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14.
“Fear not, LITTLE flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32.
His flock may be small, but it is comprised of those who hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27).
Hear His voice as it spoke from Sinai. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. Hear Him as he pleads: “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
Do you love Him? Are you willing to keep His commandments?
Yes, the multitudes reject God’s holy Sabbath as well as much of the rest of His word; but remember, the multitude was found outside the ark and it was the multitude that cried out “Crucify Him.”
Will you stand with the multitude, or with Jesus?
HOW MAN’S TRADITION REPLACED GOD’S COMMANDMENT
“Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church, but with a rigor and solemnity gradually diminishing until it was wholly discontinued.” Bible Readings for the Home, p. 422.
“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. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50.
“Question – Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“Answer – Had she not such power, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.” A Doctrinal Catechism, p. 174.
“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” The Catholic Mirror, Sept. 23, 1893.
“Nowhere in the Bible do we find that 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 church [Catholic] outside the Bible.” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947.
“If you go to the Bible you find that the seventh day Sabbath was the original Sabbath, but there is one thing you must understand and that is that we Catholics take the stand that the Bible does not contain all truths necessary to salvation, but that tradition of the Fathers and acts taken by the church are of equal importance with the Bible. The early church Christians observed the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the Sabbath. In the early day the early Christian fathers began advocating Sunday as the Sabbath in honour of the resurrection of Christ. Early church councils took certain actions changing to Sunday the Sabbath. There is no text in the Bible that gives authority for this change. Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church in the 15th and 16th centuries, but they did not go back to the Bible Sabbath: they are still following the Catholic Church in the observance of Sunday.” A Roman Catholic Priest in Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO., May 17, 1936.
“Question – What Bible authority is there for changing the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week? Who gave the Pope the authority to change a command of God?”
“Answer – If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jews. But Catholics learn what to believe and do from the divine, infallible authority established by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Catholic Church?” Question Box by Conway, 1903 Edition, pp. 254, 255.
“Sunday is founded not on Scripture, but on tradition, and is distinctly a Catholic institution. As there is no Scripture for the transfer of the day of rest from the last to the first day of the week, Protestants ought to keep their Sabbath on Saturday and thus leave Catholics in full possession of Sunday.” Catholic Record, September 17, 1891.
“Reason and common sense demand the acceptance of one or another of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping of Saturday, or Catholicity and the keeping of Sunday. Compromise is impossible.” Catholic Mirror, December 23, 1893.
“Dear Sir: Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts: “That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath…We also say, that of all Protestants, the Seventh-day Adventists are the only group that reason correctly and are consistent with their teachings.” Extension Magazine, April 1, 1929.