The majority of professed Christians today believe that the disciples changed the Sabbath day from the 7th day which God commanded in the 4th commandment, to the 1st day in honor of the resurrection of Jesus. These Christians also use certain texts from the New Testament in support of this belief. So on this page we will be dealing with these particular New Testament texts to see if they support a Sunday sabbath or not.
SUNDAY KEEPERS USE … 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, that there be no gatherings when I come.’
Ok, what is Paul dealing with here? This is a letter/request made by Paul, to the churches in Asia Minor to help the Christians in Jerusalem, due to their lack of food and other necessities. Now many people tend to think that this is a ‘church meeting’ on the first day of the week. But this is wrong. This is simply a letter or request made by Paul which was to be conveyed to the people by the church leaders. And if we use the Bible, which day did they gather to have ‘church’?
Acts 13:42 …’And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.’
So they continued to worship and do ‘church’ on the Sabbath day, which was the 7th day of the week as per the 4th commandment. Now the words ‘lay by him in store’ actually means to gather things AT HOME which they could donate to the Christians in Jerusalem. So let us put this all together. Paul sends a letter/request to the churches in Asia Minor. That request is made to the Christians in church on the Sabbath day for them to lay aside anything they can at home on ‘Sunday’. And why did Paul ask them to do this on the first day of the week? Because the request would have been made at church on the Sabbath, and the next available time they would be able to do this was on ‘Sunday’. Plus, this would have required ‘work’ to gather these things together, which was not appropriate to do on the 7th day Sabbath. So as you can see, this verse in 1 Corinthians 16 in no way supports the keeping of Sunday as the Sabbath.
SUNDAY KEEPERS USE … Acts 20:7-8 …’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.’
Many Christians look at this today and think that because Paul ‘preached’ to them, and also ‘broke bread’ with them, then it must indicate a ‘new Sabbath day’. But again, important facts are being missed out here. Firstly, the verses says that it was ‘upon the first day’, and that is was dark and Paul preached until midnight. Now what does Genesis say in regards to how a day is structured? … “the evening and the morning are the first day.” … So a day begins at sundown in the evening. Which means this meeting was actually occuring on a ‘Saturday’ evening. And in Acts 20:11 it confirms they talked until the ‘break of day’. Now does anyone really believe that this meeting continued from ‘Sunday’ morning until ‘Monday’ morning? No. They met on Saturday evening and it lasted until Sunday morning. At which time Paul then went on his journey during Sunday. So there is no sacredness attached to Sunday here whatsoever. The disciples simply met on Saturday evening with Paul because he was going on a journey on Sunday.
But what about the breaking of bread? Surely this denotes a ‘special meeting’? No. Look at what Acts 2:46 confirms …‘And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.’ … So this ‘breaking bread’ was a daily occurrence. So again, we have no support in these verses for a ‘Sunday Sabbath’. Quite the opposite!
SUNDAY KEEPERS USE … 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.’
This is another verse that Sunday keeping Christians use today to support their belief. And yet they miss the very fact as to WHY the disciples were gathered. Was this a weekly ‘church’ service? No, the text actually tells us. They were simply gathered together because they were in ‘fear of the Jews’. So they sought comfort together. The Jewish leaders had crucified Jesus, and now they would switch their attention to the followers of Christ. And do you know how we can truly tell this is NOT a ‘church’ service? Because they ‘locked the door’! They were simply locking themselves in from fear of an attack from the Jewish leaders.
You will also notice that the verse says it is ‘evening’ on the first day of the week. Which means this is late on Sunday, and about to become Monday. So you have to do a lot of stretching and twisting to use this verse in support of Sunday keeping.
SUNDAY KEEPERS USE … 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.’
I have heard a number of people say that because Jesus appeared to Mary and the other disciples on the first day, then this means ‘Sunday’ became the sacred day of the week instead of ‘Saturday’ (7th day). But you just need to use common sense with this. When did Jesus rise from the dead? Well, the Bible doesn’t explicitly confirm, because Jesus was already risen when Mary got to the tomb early Sunday morning. So when would be the ‘natural’ time for Jesus to appear to them? Yes, the day He arose, the first day! This in no way applies any special status to ‘Sunday’.
Also, one thing that many Christians miss is the fact that Jesus RESTED ‘in death’ on the 7th day Sabbath. Why didn’t Jesus rise from the dead straight away? Because the 7th day Sabbath is God’s holy day, so God did not raise Jesus from the dead until after His holy 7th day Sabbath! Remember, God is very consistant, and if He says a certain day is ‘holy’ and ‘sanctified’, then even He will keep it holy!
TRUE New Testament Sabbath
As you can see from the above, there is no hint whatsoever that the first day of the week replaced the seventh day as the New Testament Sabbath. Christians today only look at the very surface of these Bible verses and completely miss the deeper meaning of them.
So is there any reference in the New Testament to continued seventh day Sabbath keeping by the disciples? Yes. Remember, ‘Sunday’ in the New Testament is called ‘the first day of the week’, but the 7th day in the New Testament is called ‘the Sabbath day’. This should hit home straight away – the fact that the 7th day is still called the Sabbath, and yet the first day is given no special name whatsoever! So let us look at some references to the Sabbath.
Luke 23:55-56 …’And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; andrested the sabbath day according to the commandment.’
Acts 13:42-44 …’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 when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.’
Acts 16:13 …’ And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.’
I love the verse in Luke 23 above. God isn’t just telling us that the followers of Jesus, after His death kept ‘a Sabbath’. He is telling us that they kept ‘THE Sabbath’ … according to the commandment … ie, the 4th commandment! Which specifically tells us to keep the 7th day holy. And this is clearly what the followers of Jesus in the New Testament did.
Acts 13 above and Acts 16 also confirm that the disciples AND new converts kept the Sabbath. Why did the Gentiles ask Paul to preach to them ‘the next Sabbath’ if they were now keeping the first day of the week? Time and time again throughout the New Testament, the 7th day Sabbath is still called ‘the Sabbath’, showing it has not changed. And yet ‘Sunday’ is simply called the first day of the week – giving it no special status.
Now take a look at Hebrews 4 below …
Hebrews 4:4,5,9,10 …’For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest … There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.’
The original Greek for ‘a rest’ in the verse that says ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God’, actually means a ‘SABBATH REST’. So this verse is saying … There remaineth therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. And that ‘Sabbath rest’ is the 7th day Sabbath, as per the 4th commandment.
Friend, the truth is clear concerning the Sabbath. It has not been changed or abolished. The 4th commandment still stands just as it did in Old Testament times. It is not just for the Jews, as you will see throughout this site. It is for all mankind. And it is not just a ‘suggestion’. It is a commandment from our Creator!
For many articles like this on the Sabbath please visit The Bible Sabbath