Monday, October 14, 2013

The Sabbath or the Lord's Day?


Several friends have been talking recently with devout religious folks who believe that the seventh-day Sabbath is the day of Christian worship. Without questioning anyone's sincerity, this post attempts to address various points offered by various "Seventh-Day" proponents. 
“God does not change.”
It is true that God's character is forever the same. However, God has in fact changed the practices in which we are to engage. Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19). Gentiles can become “children of Abraham” without being circumcised (Acts 10; Gal 2-3). Though Mosaic Law called for stoning adulterers (Dt 22:22), Jesus set an adulteress free and told her to sin no more (Jn 8:1-11). Gentile Christians were not required to observe the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, though these were "forever" items under the Law (Ex 12:14-17).
Principles do not change; practices do. Grace, faith, obedience, worship, sexual purity, etc. are as important as they have ever been. But the administration of these principles has changed.
“Acts 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 refer to Christian observances of the Sabbath.”
Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogues to proclaim the gospel. None of these Sabbath gatherings was an assembly of Christians, but of Jews and God-fearing Gentiles.
The early church met on the first day of the week to break bread.
Ac 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
It was during the first-day assembly that Christians gave.

1 Co 16:2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
“The New Testament does not say that the Sabbath has been changed.”
Yes it does, actually. The New Testament declares that the Sabbath was part of the shadow of the reality that is found in Christ.
Col 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
The New Testament fulfillment of the Sabbath is described in Hebrews 4. As God entered His rest after His six days of work in creation, Christians will enter our “Sabbath rest” in heaven after we finish our “six days” here on earth. The earthly Sabbath was a shadow or facsimile of the true Sabbath rest in heaven.
Heb 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
So the New Testament teaches that heaven is the fulfillment of the Sabbath. That’s why the church in the New Testament was never commanded to meet for worship on the Sabbath.
“The Catholic Church (not the apostles) changed the day in the fourth century.”
Actually, the significance of the first day of the week is evident in the first century.
In fact, the term “Lord’s Day” (see Rev 1:10) renders the Greek word kyriake. This is the word that the Greeks use still today for the first day of the week. The fact that, in the first century (in Revelation), the word “Lord’s Day” was already used, indicates that the first day of the week was the first-century day of worship for the church.
If the Catholics changed it in the fourth century, how could we find the following statements from the second century?
DIDACHE (AD 90-110): Having earlier confessed your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure, come together each Lord’s day, break bread, and give thanks. (14:1)
IGNATIUS (d. AD 110): If therefore those who lived according to the old practices came to the new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath but living according to the Lord’s day, in which also our life arose through him and his death (which some deny), through which mystery we received faith, and on account of which we suffer in order that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher, how shall we be able to live apart from him for whom even the prophets were looking as their teacher since they were his disciples in the spirit? (Magnesians 9)
PLINY (c. AD 112): [The Christians] affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, hut never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind … (Letters Book X.xcvi, addressed to the Emperor Trajan)
BARNABAS (AD 130): Moreover God says to the Jews, “Your new moons and Sabbaths I cannot endure.” You see how he says, “The present Sabbaths are not acceptable to me, but the Sabbath which I have made in which , when I have rested from all things, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world.” Wherefore, we Christians keep the eighth day for joy, on which also Jesus arose from the dead and when he appeared ascended into heaven. (15:8f.)
JUSTIN (AD 150): We are always together with one another. And for all the things with which we are supplied we bless the Maker of all through his Son Jesus Christ and through his Holy Spirit. And on the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a city or a rural district. …We all make our assembly in common on the day of the Sun, since it is the first day, on which God changed the darkness and matter and made the world, and Jesus Christ our Savior arose from the dead on the same day. For they crucified him on the day before Saturn’s day, and on the day after (which is the day of the Sun) he appeared to his apostles and taught his disciples these things. (Apology I, 67:1-3, 7)
JUSTIN (AD 150): There is no other thing for which you blame us, my friends, is there than this’ That we do not live according to the Law, nor are we circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers, nor do we observe the Sabbath as you do. (Dialogue with Trypho 10:1. In verse 3 the Jew Trypho acknowledges that Christians “do not keep the Sabbath.”)
The commandment of circumcision, requiring them always to circumcise the children on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision by which we are circumcised from error and evil through the resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week of Jesus Christ our Lord. For the first day of the week, although it is the first of all days, yet according to the number of the days in a cycle is called the eighth (while still remaining the first). (Dialogue 41:4)
JUSTIN (AD 150):
And on the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a city or a rural district. The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader ceases, the president in a discourse admonishes and urges the imitation of these good things. Next we all rise together and send up prayers. And, as I said before, when we cease from our prayer, bread is presented and wine and water. The president in the same manner sends up prayers and thanksgivings according to his ability, and the people sing out their assent saying the “Amen.” A distribution and participation of the elements for which thanks have been given is made to each person, and to those who are not present it is sent by the deacons.
Those who have means and are willing, each according to his own choice, gives what he wills, and what is collected is deposited with the president. He provides for the orphans and widows, those who are in want on account of sickness or some other cause, those who are in bonds and strangers who are sojourning, and in a word he becomes the protector of all who are in need. (Apology I, 67)
The Catholics also take credit for producing the Bible! We should not be surprised to see that they claim to have originated other beliefs and practices. As noted earlier, observance of the Lord’s Day is noted frequently by second-century writers. Therefore, the Catholics could not have actually made this change in the fourth century, regardless of their claims.
For further information:
Research the “vision” of Ellen G. White, the Seventh-Day Adventist “prophet,” in which she reportedly saw the central significance of the Sabbath command. Note the following from this website: http://www.bible.ca/7-White-halo.htm.
Ellen G. White wrote under "inspiration" the following:
·                     In "Life Sketches of Ellen G. White," as published by the Adventists, we have this language relating Mrs. White's "vision" of the Sabbath day. "Elder Bates was resting upon Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and he urged it upon our attention as the true Sabbath. I did not feel its importance, and thought that he erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than upon the other nine. But the Lord gave me a view of the heavenly sanctuary. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and I was shown the ark of God covered with the mercy seat. Two angels stood one at either end of the ark with their wings spread over the mercy seat and their faces turned toward it. This, my accompanying angel informed me, represented all the heavenly hosts looking with reverential awe toward the law of God; which had been written by the finger of God. Jesus raised the cover of the ark, and I beheld the tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts with a soft halo of light encircling it. Said the angel, 'It is the only one of the ten which defines the living God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that are there­in."' (Pages 95 and 96.)
·                     Ellen G. White recorded under "inspiration", "In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of stone, which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the Ten Commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were Four and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God's holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious ­ a halo of glory was all around it. I SAW THAT THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT WAS NOT NAILED TO THE CROSS. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for he never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh day to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws." ("Early Writings of Ellen G. White," page 33.) Again on page 65 of the same book Mrs. White says, "The pope has changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day."
Research further the early references to the first day of the week as the day of Christian worship. http://www.bible.ca/H-sunday.htm
It was the resurrection of Jesus, not the Catholic Church, that changed the day of worship. Many of His appearances took place on the first day of the week, the church began on the first day of the week, and the disciples gathered to break bread on the first day of the week. No wonder it, and not the Sabbath, is "the Lord's Day."
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