Posted by: Michael Stevenson on Fri, Jun 10, 2011
WE for the most part, been raised in Sunday-keeping world—a world which is greatly geared toward keeping Sunday. There-fore, we are all too used to Sunday. Of course, in this systems thinking, we are always wanting to do our “religious activities” on Sundays, forgetting about what the Bible says—thinking that we know better.
But, just what is the truth about Sunday?
Did the disciples of Jesus Christ ever keep Sunday? Did the early Christians keep Sunday? Did Jesus Christ ever authorize a change from Saturday to Sunday? Just what is the precious truth about the observance of Sunday? It may shock you to find out that there is something that you really do need to know about this important question! The truth will be discussed within this booklet!
We of course, in our modern society, have naturally taken Sunday for granted. The idea of whole different day is that the true Sabbath strikes us as fanatical and very absurd. Yet, as you will see, there are those who completely hold to the claim that Saturday is the right day. They always insist that the seventh-day is the only day that we really find within the Bible. They also go farther to claim that we are sinning—that we have the “mark of the beast” and that we will go through the seven last plagues—if we fail to keep the seventh-day Sabbath!
Many False Prophets Gone Forth
Jesus Christ had warned that there would be false prophets that would come forth—that they would deceive many people. So then, just what is the truth and how can we truly know what it is?
Let’s just remember that each of us shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged according to those things which we do. We shall be judged, not by our own sincerity in what we have believed through our careless assumptions, nor by our sincerity in following some new teaching without proof—rather, we shall be judged by the Bible—God’s written and inspired Word!
Just How We Can Prove the Truth!
We find that all “scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction”—2 Timothy 3:16. Yes, we see that we are not to take the Word of God and use it for anything which is not in complete harmony with the scriptures—in other words, we are to take the scriptures, we are to apply them correctly, proving for ourselves what the truth is and how the truth can set us free. Thus, the Bible tells to us that we are to “Prove all things”—1 Thessalonians 5:21.
So then, are we willing to stand corrected on issues when we are wrong? We must be careful not to be blown about “with every wind of doctrine” which comes along—just as many brethren within the churches of God—those that keep the seventh day Sabbath. And of course, even other churches which have been raised up by men. We need to keep our minds free from prejudices.
We must be willing to further study both sides with honesty, laying aside all of our many ideas and prejudices, becoming completely willing to put on the shelf anything which would stand in our way of learning, asking through prayer for God to give us guidance and to show to us where we are in error.
If we already are right, an honest investigation will also confirm it to us—but, we must make sure that we are studying this honestly.
If we are wrong, then we should have a desire to know it and understand where we are wrong, having a heart that is willing to accept the truth. When we have a desire to learn the truth and being willing to accept the truth, then we become as a little child, ready to learn and to be humble enough to allow God to reveal to us what we need to be doing in order to be in great harmony with His ways. Whatever way the truth may be, if our hearts are right with God, then we will be able to study so that we can be brought into His precious truth—the truth that will set us free.
While this booklet might be short, it will still offer to us an outline of the truth in regards to the seventh-day Sabbath, offering to us the answers to many of our questions in regards to what many have held before. There will be explanations, answers and many other things which will be given to us to help us to learn what God really says on this very issue.
There are three facts which are self-evident.
(1)Sunday is the first day of the week. We see the proof of this on just about any calendar, in any dictionary or even encyclopedias. Then, is it, by the authority of the Bible, the “Christian Sabbath” or also the “Lord’s Day,” as most claim that it is? Could they be wrong about this? Could we be wrong? We will explore this in this booklet.
(2)Jesus also kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). It was His very custom that He kept the Sabbath. The Sabbath He kept was on the same day of the week as what the Jews had kept, for the minister and congregation were all in the synagogue (v.20), and the Pharisees also rebuked Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and allowing His disciples to pluck wheat on the Sabbath.
(3)The Sabbath that Jesus Christ kept was also the seventh-day of the week. Three days after His crucifixion, this Sabbath was the very day that was before the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1). Thus, it was not just any other day of the week. (Also see Luke 23:56, 24:1).
…was the day every changed by Jesus Christ or the apostles, after this, to the first day of the week so that Sunday would now be the New Testament Christian Sabbath?
…does the New Testament anywhere show that Sunday is when the “Lord’s Day” is and commanded for Christians to keep?
Well, let’s just see what the Bible really has to say on this very subject—for you just might be surprised to learn the truth!
Was Sunday Mentioned Anywhere in the New Testament?
One of the most popular questions from those who come into contact with the Church of God Worldwide for the first time is “was Sunday mentioned anywhere in the New Testament?” This question is always answered! This is one reason for this booklet—so that those who ask such questions can read for themselves in this informative booklet the honest truth about the true Sabbath!
This change would not be able to be made—a different day, the first day of the week, could not at all be established by the authority of the New Testament authority—unless there was some text or texts which employ the phrase “first day of the week,” or even the word “Sunday” itself.
The word Sunday does not appear anywhere in the Bible.
But then, when we look for the phrase “first day of the week”, we find that it is found in the New Testament eight times. So then, it will not take us very long to look up this phrase and see what this phrase is referring to.
If the day was at all changed under biblical authority—if Christians are to find any biblical based authority at all for keeping Sunday as the “Lord’s Day” in our modern times—then we must find that authority within the Bible based upon these eight texts!
Let us therefore truly acknowledge from the beginning that since the seventh day of the week is clearly established in the Bible as the Sabbath up until the time of Christ’s death, that there can be no biblical authority for Sunday—unless—we find it clearly and plainly stated in one of these eight New Testament passages.
So then, we will now examine these and honestly and prayerfully consider what they really say to us.
The First Day of the Week
(1)Matthew 28:1: “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.” This is the first place we find in the Bible where the phrase “the first day of the week” is even mentioned at all. Here, Matthew is pointing out, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, six years right after the New Testament Church was established, that the Sabbath was drawing toward (Greek, into) the first day of the week. So therefore, this scripture is telling us, as we need to admit, that three days and three nights after all that was done away had been securely “nailed to the cross,” the Sabbath was still considered to be the seventh-day of the week rather than the first day!
Many have told us that the Sabbath command was merely for “one day in seven”—that it did not have to be the seventh-day of the week, but merely that the Sabbath had to be the seventh part of time. They go on to argue that Sunday, being one day out of seven, therefore fulfills this very command. But here, we see this passage saying, under the inspired direction of the Holy Spirit, six years later after the Church was founded, that three days after all things were supposedly done away with, that the Sabbath was still in effect and that it was the seventh day of the week—the day before “the first day of the week.” That is proven in this scripture. We need to be honest that this verse nowhere changes the Sabbath to any other day of the week at all—not even the first day of the week!
(2)Mark 16:2: “And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came into the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.” This here is Mark’s account, the same version of Matthew 28:1—but as told by Mark. It was written ten years after Jesus’ death. The first day of the week, further, was “after the Sabbath was past,” according to verse 1. So then, this text further proves that there is no command here that the Sabbath was ever changed, but that the Sabbath was still on the seventh-day of the week—not the first! The Sabbath as it was being kept on the last day of the week, was still being kept on that same day of the week—hence, it was impossible for it to be changed by this account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—nor was it changed by Mark. Many usually try to argue that it was changed just because Jesus Christ rose on the “first day of the week” but, that too is false! It does not at all say that Jesus Christ rose on the first day of the week!
The First Day of the Week Was A Work Day
(3)Mark 16:9: “Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” This speaks of Jesus’ appearing to Mary Magdalene later on the same day—that which was after the Sabbath!
There is absolutely nothing here which indicates the first day of the week being made as the Sabbath. Nothing here at all is calling it “The Lord’s Day.” Nothing here even hints to the Sabbath being moved from Saturday to a Sunday. Therefore, we find no command—no authority for the change from Saturday to Sunday as Sunday observers claim.
(4)Luke 24:1: “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”
Just like within Matthew and Mark, there is no indication here of the first day of the week becoming the Christian Sabbath, nothing even slightly hinting at it being the Sabbath. Rather, the first day of the week here is the same—it is a common day upon which they brought the spices—something which would never have been done upon a Sabbath—for the Sabbath was a rest day. “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandments”—this was the last verse of Luke 23. So there it is, Luke puts it plainly that on a Sabbath, they had the commandment to rest—not to do any work! Hence, it would not make sense why Luke would be saying that Sunday was a work day if the Christian Sabbath had been moved to Sunday. Would these women at all not know the truth about the Sabbath? They had returned and prepared the spices and ointments on the day before the Sabbath—then they rested upon the Sabbath—then the next day they came to the tomb. Here we see that the women would have clearly know when the Sabbath was—thus, they would not have gone on the Sabbath. Hence, this indicates that the first day of the week here was not at all being observed as the Christian Sabbath. Remember that the Holy Spirit is what inspires Scriptures.
Thus, we see established that the first day of the week was not all the true Sabbath as many claim.
(5)John 20:1: “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher.”
This, written about sixty-three years after the death of Christ is merely John’s own version of what happened. It further confirms what we have been speaking of.
Was There A Religious Meeting to Celebrate the Resurrection?
(6)John 20:19: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
Let us look at this verse carefully and examine it clearly, for some claim that this was a religious service that had been called for in regards to the celebration of the resurrection. But, if you will look at it more carefully, this is the same day of the week that had followed the Sabbath. It was the first chance that Jesus had to appear to His own disciples. We know that Jesus had been with them constantly for three and a half years. Now, here it was, these disciples went into hiding for fear of the Jews, and now, His meeting with them was to show to them that He was now alive again—that He was fulfilling what He had promised to them.
Were they assembled to celebrate the resurrection, thus establishing Sunday as the Christian Sabbath in honor of the resurrection? The text says they were assembled “for fear of the Jews” who had taken and killed their Master. They were afraid. The doors had been shut because of their fear—because they were not willing to allow the Jews to find them—and more than likely, the doors had been bolted. Why were they assembled then? “For fear of the Jews,” according to this text, and also because they all lived together in this upper room (Acts 1:13). They could not at all have come together in this upper room for any type of celebration for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for they did not at all believe that Jesus had been risen since they had not known (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:37, 39, 41). There absolutely nothing here which refers to the first day of the week being the Sabbath or even “the Lord’s Day,” or any sacred title. Sunday in this verse was never set apart, it was not made holy. Remember that no matter what authority—ONLY God is what makes something holy, sacred and set apart—man’s authority cannot override God’s authority! Therefore, we cannot get anything out of this verse that speaks of Sunday being set apart for worship.
The Lord’s Supper—Or Just an Ordinary Work Day?
(7)Acts 20:7: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.”
Now, we finally have a religious meeting on the first day of the week! But, it is not a Sunday meeting or service!
Notice that Paul had continued his speech until midnight! “And there were many lights in the upper chamber where they were gathered together.” It was AFTER sunset, prior to midnight, the first day of the week. Now, if we will notice that the time was the first day of the week, which did not begin at midnight as many today suppose. Remember that at that time, they always counted days from sunset to sunset. At sunset, it would have begun a new day—hence, after sunset on Saturday, it would have become the first day of the week. The Bible confirms that the days always begin and end at sunset. Throughout the Roman world, at that time, and for a few hundred years beyond that, days always ended and begun at sunset. The practice of starting a new day at midnight was not started until much later. Thus, this meeting, and Paul’s preaching, took place during the hours that we now call Saturday night—it was not at all a Sunday observance!
Now, let’s see what the rendering of Today’s English Version, which correctly translated the Greek says: “On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal. Paul spoke to the people, and kept on speaking until midnight, since he was going to leave the next day.”
Why Did Paul Remain Behind?
Let’s now look at the thread of the narrative that is heavily related to this passage. We being with verse 6:
“We sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them at Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow.”
Paul and his companions had been in the town of Troas for seven days. His companions had left by ship after sunset while Paul stayed behind for a final meeting. He had preached until midnight, “read to depart on the morrow.” At the break of day—sunrise Sunday morning—Paul had departed (v.11).
Now then, if you will look, you will see that “And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go affot. And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in”—vs. 13-14.
Now then, when we look at any map, we find that Paul’s companions had to sail about sixty miles around a peninsula—this was a distance that was quite considerable compared to what Paul walked. Paul walked on foot across this peninsula which was about 19½ miles. He was then able to walk this in much shorter time that it took to sail around the peninsula. Thus, Paul gave them opportunity by him remaining where he was until after they had left, for this final sermon and visit with the brethren.
So now, do you actually understand what had really taken place Paul’s companions were engaged in their labor of rowing and sailing the boat while Paul was preaching that Saturday night until midnight—on the fist day of the week. It was not a replacement of the Christian Sabbath—but rather, it was a time that Paul was allotting for the companions to mail it to Assos. They had set sail Saturday evening, after the Sabbath was finished. Paul therefore stayed behind to preach one final sermon. Then, at day break on Sunday, he then walked that distance which he walked from Troas to Assos. He therefore had waited until after the Sabbath was passed before he even left—a good hard day’s work. He did it on the first day of the week—again this was a common day of work!
Now many people will be shocked by this, but, when we look at the Jewish custom, which was also Paul’s custom, we find that the Jews would never have even walked that distance on the Sabbath—thus, if Sunday was now the Sabbath, then Paul would not have went against the Jewish custom to walk that distance!
But, What about the Breaking of the Bread?
Now comes another part that most Sunday observers will always use to try to justify their keeping of Sunday. But, as we find in this text, it does not mean that the disciples were having a communion service!
In the fist place, it does not mention anything about it being done on the first day of the week each week, nor does it say anything about the first Sunday of a month. It relates the events of this one incident of the first day of the week, ONLY! It is not speaking at all of any customs, but of the events which took place when Paul had remained behind!
Jesus had introduced the “Lord’s Supper” as part of the Passover, at the beginning of the annual “days of unleavened bread” which takes part every year! No longer did they need to kill lambs or eat the roasted body of Passover lambs, after Jesus Christ who became our Passover, had been once slain for us. Yet, the Passover was ordained to be observed forever (Exodus 12:24). At His final Passover, Jesus then took the wine in place of the blood of His body, thus symbolizing the shedding of blood. He then took the unleavened bread, replacing the roasted body of the lamb as a symbol of His own body, broken and bruised for us. The disciples then continued each year to keep the Passover on an annual basis—not weekly or monthly! They used only the bread and the wine as a lasting memorial each year (1 Corinthians 11:24) of the death of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:26), which thus shows to us His death until He returns. They then continued to keep the days of unleavened bread (Acts 20:6).
This particular year, they had kept the days of unleavened bread and the Passover at Philippi, after which they then came to Troas in five days, where they had stayed seven days.
Then, after the Sabbath had finished, at sunset, “upon the first day of the week…the disciples came together to break bread.”
People have falsely assumed that this means that they took of “Communion” and that this was thus instituting Sunday. But, if you will notice carefully, Paul had preached and had continued until midnight. They had no chance to stop and eat until then. When Paul “therefore was come up again”—after restoring the one who had fallen down from the third balcony—“and had broken bread, and eaten”—v.13.
Do you see it? “Broken bread and eaten.” This means that it was eating a meal! This expression was often used at that time period to say that they were eating a meal. It today is still used in some parts of the United States even and some other nations will still sometimes use this expression.
Now then, in Luke 22:16, it tells us that Jesus introduced the Lord’s Supper, taking it with His disciples, He said “I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Yet, the day after His rising from the dead, after He walked with the two disciples to Emmaus, “…as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them”—Luke 24:30. This is not saying that Jesus was holding a communion service with His disciples, rather, it was a meal—a dinner of sorts. Remember that Jesus said He would not partake again of the Lord’s Supper UNTIL He returns! Jesus “sat at meat” with His disciples.
Likewise, Acts 2:46 does not mean that there was a communion service taking place just because the disciples were “breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness.” This rather refers to that they were having meals from house to house—and it was daily—not on the first day of the week.
Further, when Paul had been shipwrecked on the voyage to Rome, the sailors had been fasting out of fright. But, “Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health…And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat”—Acts 27:33-35. Here, Paul is only eating a meal with them—not having a communion service!
The truth is, nowhere in the Bible is the expression “breaking of bred,” or “to break bread,” used to signify observing of “the Lord’s Supper.” In all of these, we find that is only the eating of a meal. So then, when we read Acts 20:7, “the disciples came together to break bread,” and how Paul had “broken bread and eaten,” we know by Scriptures interpretation that it only talked of eating a meal—not a communion service!
What of the Collection?
Now then, we come to the eighth and last place that uses the term “first day of the week” which is found in the Bible.
(8)1 Corinthians 16:2: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.”
Often times we will see this text printed on offering envelopes found in pews of popular churches, and are often told that this meant that the church met together on Sunday and took up offerings—thus trying to prove that this was referring to Sunday as the “Lord’s Day” or the Christian Sabbath.
Let us thus begin with the first verse and really see what the true meaning really is—for we must take things in their proper context—for this will give us then a clue to what is really going on!
We find that “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 everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
This is speaking of a collection—but, for whom is this collection—for what purpose? Note it! It was not for the preacher—nor for any evangelistic work—but, “the collection for the saints.” The poor who were in need in Jerusalem that had been suffering from drought and from famine. They were in need, not for money, but rather, for food. See what Paul was saying in further instructions to other churches. Now then, this was to observe his instructions to the Romans.
“But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia [where the Corinthian Church was located] to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem…When therefore, I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain”—Romans 15:25-28.
Do you see that plainly? It was not money, but rather, food—fruit that was now being sealed and gotten ready to be shipped to those saints in Jerusalem who were standing in need!
Now then, back in 1 Corinthians 16, Paul was speaking about a collection for the saints. Upon the first day of the week, each one of them is given instruction to do what? Does it say drop a coin in any type of collection pate? No, not at all!
It says “Let every one of you lay by him in store.” Notice it well! STORE UP! Store up by himself—at home! Not lay up at a church facility—but rather, at his own house!
But WHY? “That there be no gatherings when I come.” Men gather fruit from the orchards—they gather their food out of the ground and it is usually stored up. But, putting coins in a collection plate, or handing in a tithing envelope could not be the same as gathering, but an offering or a collection of money! There would have been no need to “gather” or to “lay up” at home!
Yet, most people usually read all this and believe that they were gathering a collection of money for an offering—something which is not supported at all in these scriptures—for they do not read the whole text and they do not keep it in context with what is really being said. Rather, they fail to realize the truth of what is actually said and thus, they take away from what is really meant.
Notice even further if you will that “And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they [more than one] shall go with me”—vs.3-4.
Now then, when we read this plainly, we see that it was apparently going to require more than one person so that this collection of fruit could be carried to Jerusalem. If it were money, then why would Paul need help in taking this collection to Jerusalem? If it were money, then Paul could have carried it alone.
So then, the last and final text in the Bible where we find the first day of the week ever mentioned makes no reference to Sunday ever becoming the “Lord’s Day” or even the Christian Sabbath—but, rather, it was a day for gathering of fruit and food from the orchards and gardens and the fields so that those who were in Jerusalem could have it. It was not a religious service.
No Biblical Authority Ever Given
So then, with not one shred of biblical authority ever given, we cannot prove then at all from the Bible that there was ever any authority given by God, Jesus Christ nor the apostles for changing the Christian Sabbath to Sunday. No text even shows this at all. We have examined what the Bible shows, and not one of those places mentions that it was for any type of religious meeting on a Sabbath! Sunday then clearly is not the Christian Sabbath according to biblical authority.
In none of these passages was there ever a religious meeting or preaching service that was held in honor of the Sabbath on a day we call Sunday. In none of these can we even find one shred of evidence to support the Sunday observer’s claims. There is nothing which supports any celebration on Sunday!
Sometimes, however, another passage which is often used to try to support the Sunday observer’s claim for their decision to keep Sunday, we Revelation 1:10 we read of “the Lord’s Day.” It says to us that “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice.” But this does not say at all that this was “the first day of the week,” or that it was “Sunday” is the “day” here at all called “the Lord’s day.” This “Lord’s Day” is the time of the coming plagues, climaxing in the soon return of Jesus Christ and the millennium—the time when Jesus Christ when reign for a thousand years on this earth. This is the whole theme of the book of Revelation. But, if someone wants to try to argue this point, and continue to insist upon this text applying to some particular day of the week, he will have to look elsewhere to see which day the Bible calls “the Lord’s Day” and he shall see that this is always in connection to prophecy—which prophecy is always connected to that same time period as in John’s record in the book of Revelation.
But Jesus Christ said that He was the “Lord of the Sabbath” and if He is the Lord of the Sabbath, then the Sabbath belongs to Him, thus, He is the CREATOR of the Sabbath, and is therefore belonging to Him and no one else—and therefore the Sabbath is the Lord’s Day (Mark 2:28). Isaiah 58:13 calls the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week) “MY HOLY DAY.” God is speaking. So the Sabbath is the Lord’s Day!
In the original commandment that was given within Exodus 20:10, we read that “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD THY GOD.” It is not my day, or even your day, it was not a day that belonged to the apostles—but rather, it belongs to Jesus Christ—Jesus Christ is the One whom owns it—for He created it for man. Sunday is a day of work—it belongs to us so that we can work on that day. So is Monday and Tuesday and on into Friday before sunset. After sunset Friday until sunset Saturday, it does not belong to us—rather, it belongs to God. All other days are for our working. But of the seventh day, it is not a day for me to work—it is the Lord’s! It belongs to Him, and He is the one who has made it holy—setting it apart—sanctifying the Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3). It is a command right from the Creator. We have no right to ever use it for ourselves. It is His day!
The TRUE SABBATH of the New Testament!
Now briefly, let us examine the true Sabbath of the New Testament and see exactly what day it is that Paul kept as the true Sabbath—for we will find that Paul kept the Sabbath as did everyone else at that time period!
Let’s notice what day Paul and Barnabas had used for preaching to the Gentiles on:
(1)Acts 13:14-15, 42-44: “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying. Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
Then Paul stood up, and spoke, preaching Christ to them.
“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.”
Now then, since Paul had been preaching “the grace of God”—v.43, here was his opportunity to straighten out these Gentiles, and explain that the Sabbath was done away with and no longer needed. Why should he wait a whole week, in order to preach to the Gentiles on the next Sabbath? If the day had now been changed to Sunday, why didn’t Paul just come out and tell then that they would not have to wait a whole week, but that they could not go on Sunday? Sunday, was the proper day for this service? But notice what Paul did.
“And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Here Paul waited a whole week, passing up a Sunday, in order to preach to the Gentiles of the Sabbath day.
Gentiles Also Met on the Sabbath
(2)Acts 15:1-2, 14-21: Study this whole passage carefully. Certain men had come down from Judaea to Antioch, teaching that the Gentile converts there were to also be circumcised and that they were to keep the law of Moses in order to be saved. Quite a dissension had then risen up between them and Paul and Barnabas. So it was further decided that Paul and Barnabas should go to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about the question.
During the conference in Jerusalem, James gave the decision.
“Wherefore my sentence is,” he pronounced (vs. 19-20). “…that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”
He did not say they should not keep the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were not all in question here—but only the ritual law of circumcision, which was an altogether different type of law. He merely mentioned four prohibitions, and otherwise, they did not need to observe the law of Moses.
But then, why this sentence to them? Not it well!
…”For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogue every Sabbath day”—v.21.
Do you see it? The law of Moses—the first five books of the Bible—was being taught within the synagogues every Sabbath! The apostles were only writing about what was being taught—not about the Sabbath, not about the Ten Commandments, but was only writing about the law of Moses—and those things which were put into place to keep the Sabbath from being a delight. They wrote this also because the Gentile converts were going to services on the Sabbath. They had heard God’s law and they read and expounded every Sabbath in the synagogues and did not need any further instructions. It then shows to us that the Gentiles converts had started keeping the true Sabbath, and went to services each week on that same day! The apostles’ letter further had not reproved them for this Sabbath observance.
This is something that is very important since the Gentiles never kept the Sabbath before. Therefore, it is something that these Gentiles started doing when they became converted; doing so after they were converted under the teachings of Paul and Barnabas!
A Sabbath Kept in Philippi
(3)Acts 16:12-15: Here also we find Paul and Silas in Philippi. And “we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a riverside, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened…and…she was baptized.”
Here once again, Paul and his companions had waited until the Sabbath, and then went to a place of worship, and preached, and this woman, probably who was a Gentile, was converted. This passage is really showing to us that it was their custom to meet on the Sabbath and that it was also a custom for Paul and his companions to also go to a place of prayer and worship when the Sabbath was always come—for this is something that they made sure that they did. If they were alive today, I would guarantee that they would do this same thing today!
Paul Worked on the Weekdays—then Kept the Sabbath!
(4)Acts 18:1-11: “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew name Aquilla…with his wife Priscilla…and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”
If we could find one text in the New Testament which would give us as strong authority for Sunday as we find here for the Sabbath, then we would have biblical authority for it! Here, Paul actually was working on the first day of the week and all the other days except the seventh day! On the seventh day, he then would keep the Sabbath and would teach the Gentiles and Jews each week!
Now then, we find the commandment telling us that “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work,” just as much as it says “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” There is just as much of a command to work six days as there is to rest the seventh—keeping holy and sacred the seventh-day of the week! And so then, if the day had ever been changed to Sunday, then Paul would have worked on the seventh day and went to church on the first day of the week. But, here he had worked weekdays, including Sunday, and then kept the Sabbath on the seventh day—going and teaching the Jews and the Gentiles the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God! He preached every SABBATH—and it was just not on one occasion—but, it was every Sabbath!
He had preached Jesus Christ and he preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. And when the Jews became offended and blasphemed, he then turned away from the Jews altogether and from then on he only preached to the Gentiles (v.6), and then he continued there for a year and six months (v.11)—working on the weekdays—preaching to the Gentiles ONLY—each and every Sabbath!
What more proof could there be? What stronger evidence can we find in the Bible than this, as to show to us the true Sabbath of the very New Testament? For a year and a half, Paul had worked on the weekdays—six days—thus, including Sundays—and then he would preach to the Gentiles only each Sabbath! Certainly, then it was his custom and his manner! He therefore would not have done this if it was changed to Sunday!
Paul Also Commands the Gentiles to Keep the Sabbath!
To these very Gentile-born in Corinth, Paul had said “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”—1 Corinthians 11:1.
Paul “as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures”—Acts 17:2. It was his manner, his custom and tradition for him to always go into the synagogues and teach the Gentiles on the Sabbath each week—a seventh day Sabbath. We find eighty-four various Sabbaths where Paul is shown to have been keeping.
Did he follow Jesus in this? Why yes! Jesus Christ “as his custom was…went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day”—Luke 4:16.
It was Jesus’ very custom for Him to go to the synagogues and to preach also and Paul was following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ—just as we should be doing today! Paul was commanding the Gentiles to also do likewise—to keep the same Sabbath day!
So then, today, the question would be “Are we willing to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ and keep the same Sabbath just as Jesus gave us the example of? If we, like Paul, are also willing to do the same, then Jesus Christ lives within us, is keeping us, and leading us as we keep the Sabbath, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
It is important to the true Christian for the Sabbath to be kept and observed in the same manner as Jesus Christ kept. It is our duty, our obligation and our own responsibility to make sure that we obey Jesus Christ as we are supposed to do. This is not a choice for the true Christian, but rather, it is the true obligation.
Where Should We Keep the Sabbath?
Sometimes people who learn about the Sabbath will sometimes eek some religious group to assemble with. But, it is not enough to just imply meet with just any religious organization because a group might accept the argument over the Sabbath. This does not really fully mean that they are the true CHURCH OF GOD!
God commands that we seek out His Church—the Work—which is empowered by His Holy Spirit. We urge you to read our free booklet about the 18 Restored Truths—a booklet which explains how the late Herbert W. Armstrong restored 18 essential truths to the true Church of God!
What Should We Do Then?
If then, after having studied this booklet, you find that you have truly been taught wrong; if you find that you grew up being misled, accepting error instead of truth; if you find that you have been keeping the wrong day—a day which God has not at all authorized or even made to be holy—then just what should you do?
If you really want to be in harmony with God’s true Sabbath, then here is the good news, we do have certain services that will personally help you—we will give to you information on which will help you to find those who are nearest you that also keep these same truths!
The Church of God Worldwide is just a part of the spiritual body of Christ and we will help you to find in your area those true Sabbath keeping churches of God that continue to preach the same as we do—if we do not have one of our congregations near you, then we will give you information on another group. There are others out there besides ours! If then after your own admission, you desire to learn more about these truths—then write to us and we will help you. Each of those churches of God which keep this same truth are all part of the spiritual Church of God. They will help you to understand the truth.
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