Sabbath Vs. First Day of the Week
Is There A Christian Sabbath?

Strictly speaking, there is no “Sunday-Sabbath” or “Christian Sabbath” (pertaining to a day of the week). When God inaugurated Judaism upon Mt. Sinai, he established the seventh day of the week as the day of worship.

“Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

God patterned the Jewish Sabbath according to God’s creation of the world in six days, ceasing from his creating on the seventh day. “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 20:11).

However, both Patriarchy and Judaism (the Old Testament, inclusive of the Ten Commandments or so-called moral law) have been replaced with the Gospel (the New Testament). Today, we live under Christianity, not Patriarchy or Judaism. We turn exclusively to the New Testament for doctrine. Everyone who turns to the Old Testament today for doctrine is fallen from grace. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

While Seventh Day Adventists acknowledge that the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament (for instance, we are not compelled by God to offer animal sacrifices today), they maintain that the so-called “moral law” in the Old Testament, namely the Ten Commandments, is still valid today. The following passages teach that the Old Testament has been replaced with the New Testament: 2 Corinthians 3:6-16; Ephesians 2:11-18; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 8:6-13. Romans 7:1-7 also teaches that the Old Testament was replaced with the New Testament, but it shows that the Decalogue or Ten Commandments were replaced, too. The Ten Commandments are specifically included in this passage through reference to one of the Ten Commandments.

“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:6-7).

Generally, it is recognized, that in one form or another, nine of the Ten Commandments are reiterated in the New Testament, whereas the commandment to “keep the Sabbath Day holy” has not been re-instituted in the New Testament. Christians adhere to the nine commandments, not because of their inclusion in the Old Testament which has been retired, but because of their inclusion in the New Testament. We are obliged to live by the New Testament today, and by the New Testament we who live today will be judged before the throne of God (Revelation 20:12).

Not only did Jesus Christ rise from the grave on the first day of the week (we call that day Sunday) according to Matthew 28:1-6 and Mark 16:9, several other significant references to the first day of the week appear throughout the New Testament. (1) Jesus appeared to his disciples on the day he resurrected (John 20:19). (2) The Lord’s church began on the first day of the week (Acts 2). Pentecost refers to 50 days, counted from the Passover Sabbath. Seven weeks after the Passover comes to 49 days, also a Sabbath. The fiftieth day, then, is the first day of the week. (3) The only New Testament passage that indicates the day on which and the frequency with which the communion was observed by the early church names the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). (4) The only New Testament passage that indicates the day on which the early church worshipped by giving a collection names the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

The apostle Paul and others frequented the synagogues on the Sabbath to teach Jews who were gathered there. However, all references to Christian worship that make any specification indicate the early church, which was led by the Holy Spirit through the apostles and others, worshipped on the first day of the week. This information should provide you with sufficient response to proponents of worshipping on Saturday today. The biblical evidence above predates any allusions to what the Catholic Church may or may not have done regarding the day on which people worship. Your Adventist acquaintances may not be convinced, but it will not be because there is any lack of biblical evidence.

Your references to the “Christian Sabbath” require further explanation here before we close. There is a reference of sorts to a Christian Sabbath, but it is not a reference to any day of the week. Rather, it is a reference to a time (the last day) and a place (heaven). At that heavenly place only will God’s children from all religious ages (Patriarchy, Judaism and Christianity) find ultimate “rest.”

In Hebrews chapters Three and Four, though the word “sabbath” is not used, the word “rest” is used to stand for the sabbath. References appear relating the “rest” to the seventh day on which God rested from creation. In a sense, Canaan at the end of the Israelites 40 year march from Egypt is in those chapters called a “rest.” Likewise, the context of those passages refers to heaven as the journey’s end for the Christian as a comparable and much sought “rest.”

“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)” (Hebrews 3:8-11).

“While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 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. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 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. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:15-4:11).

Strictly speaking, the “Christian Sabbath,” then, really pertains to the eternal heaven for which Christians long and toward which they make their pilgrimage day by day. I hope this helps, in two ways: (1) providing you the biblical references you sought for evidence of Christian worship on the first day of the week, and (2) biblically clarified the use of the terminology “Christian Sabbath.”

The Bible, and for people living today the New Testament, is God’s final, absolute and unchanging standard of authority in religion. Every religious question must be answered with a wholly biblical answer, whether the religious world fully appreciates what God has legislated. For instance, contrary to what many religionists teach, the Gospel indicates that man’s part in the redemptive plan of God includes: hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17), faith or belief (Mark 16:16), repenting of sins (Acts 17:30), professing Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), immersion in water for the remission of sins (Romans 6:3-5; Acts 2:38) and faithfulness (Revelation 2:10).

Author Unknown

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