“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”
Some Christian denominations like the Seventh-Day Adventists claim that violators of the day they believe is the true Sabbath, Saturday, have the mark of the beast, especially Christians who worship on Sunday. Many Seventh-Day Adventists claim that Sunday-Sabbath keepers have received the “mark of the beast,” which they claim comes straight from the Roman Catholic Church. They claim that Constantine in 321 AD changed the Sabbath through the Catholic Church’s claim that Peter was the first Pope or Bishop of the Roman Church. But they can’t see the forest for the trees. I believe that the first-day of the week Sabbath position has strong Biblical support in the following verses from:
Leviticus 23:15-16 which state;
15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
This has to do with Pentecost and the “first day of the week”. These verses provide the Biblical and lawful bases for Sabbath worship on the “first day of the week”. It commemorates Jesus resurrection and I believe replaces the Old Covenant Sabbath. Jesus arose on the “first day of the week”, thus ushering in the New Covenant. Certain things did change, and what Jesus did and accomplished became the reason for these changes and to celebrate the liberty we now have in Jesus.
Yes, I know that what I said is blasphemy to those who hold Saturday as something sacred, but at least follow along so you can fully understand what you think you already disagree with.
Proverbs 18:13 states;
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Fifty days after the feast of firstfruits, the feast of Pentecost occurred. The feast of firstfruits was fulfilled by Jesus in His Resurrection. He was the “firstfruits from the dead”. According to the verses we were reading, the day after the Sabbath began the seven sabbaths count down for a total of 49 days.
“ - - - - -the morrow after the seventh sabbath - - - ”.
shall be the number of fifty days, or the day of Pentecost. On the feast of Pentecost, which was the “first day of the week”, the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who gathered together in the upper room - (Acts 2:1).
This is the basis for which the Apostle Peter (whom the Catholic Church claims to be the first Pope, but he most certainly was not!) is said to have declared the “first day of the week” to be the Christian Sabbath. What we do know for certain, is that Sunday was observed by Christians as their sabbath for over 300 years before Constantine made it a law.
Think about it.
The fact that Constantine made Sunday a sabbath law really proves nothing. There was no Roman Pope ruling over Christians for centuries, and yet, Christians kept Sunday as their sabbath. Even the Adventists admit that the papacy did not come into power until 538 AD; a full 217 years after Constantine made the law.
By the fourth century, Christians were already accustomed to worshipping on Sunday according to The New International Encyclopaedia, and the Emperor Constantine merely confirmed the already established Christian custom by a law of the state.
In “The Ante-Nicene Fathers” - Theophilus, pastor of Antioch, in 162 AD said the following: “Both custom and reason challenge usthat we should honour the Lord’s day, seeing on that day it was that our Lord completed his resurrection from the dead”.
It was on the basis of the verses we just read in Leviticus 23:15-16 concerning the Sabbath that the “first day of the week” was upheld by Christians. Also, Pentecost represents the Church Age.
Does Sunday represent the first day of the week (the Lord’s Day), and is Sunday the fulfilment of the law as stated in Leviticus 23?
You be the judge.
In the ten volumes called, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” many of these early Christian Fathers of Christendom wrote about Sunday and openly supported the day as the Christian Sabbath.
Irenacus in 178 AD stated the following:
“The mystery of the Lord’s resurrection may not be celebrated in any day other than the Lord’s day and on this alone should we observe the breaking of the Paschel Feast - - - Pentecost fell on the first day of the week, and was therefore associated with the Lord’s day.”
Many new things transpired because of the New Covenant, and we all had better say Hallelujah and Amen to that, otherwise, we are all dead in our sins. We are under grace today. We do have the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit available to us. We do have Salvation through Jesus the Anointed. We do have a greater promise through the New Covenant; Concerning His New Covenant, He will write his law upon our hearts, and we no longer have to beat each other upside our heads to prove how legalistically correct we may be.
On this 50th day, Leviticus 23:16 states;
“- - - - and ye shall offer a new meat-offering unto the LORD.
Today under the New Covenant, we are the “new meat-offering unto the Lord”. We are to be new creatures in Jesus Christ, and set free from the curse of the law by his precious shed blood whereupon He paid the full price for our sins.
In Romans 5:8; - (the Apostle Paul tells us)
But God commendeth his love toward us (Israelites), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
It is scriptural blasphemy to claim otherwise, and would be an affront to our precious Saviour Jesus Christ.
Also, with regard to the Sabbath, this is one area where the Scriptures specifically tell us not to judge one another.
Colossians 2:16-17 states:
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ.”
This should not be a secret to any Christian that we are no longer under the Old Covenant. We are under the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. We are no longer under the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law which Jesus quoted in Matthew 12:1-4; when He and his disciples were hungry on the sabbath and they went through a nearby cornfield to pluck off corn for them to eat.
The Pharisees didn’t like it and accused Jesus of violating the sabbath, but Jesus reminded them of David and his men going into the temple on the sabbath and eating the shew bread. Jesus spoke to them about the spirit of the law which they knew nothing about. They only understood the letter which “killeth”, but it is the spirit which “maketh” alive.
Under the New Covenant, Jesus is responsible for writing his law within our heart. In the spirit of the law, - - -
27 “ - - - - The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
- (Mark 2:27.28).
Pastor Earl Linville (himself a former Saturday-sabbath keeper), in his book:
“Why I no Longer Observe Saturday as a Day of Worship” (#921 @ $3.25ppd), he states on page 3:
“According to the Bible and ancient Hebrew Calendar, the first day of the year was a sabbath and then every seventh day after it was a sabbath. The phrase “seventh day of the week is NOT in the Bible. It was merely six days of work, one day of rest. Sabbath means “cessation, stop, rest”. The command was to work six days, then rest”.
He goes on to explain:
“Studying ancient calendars and encyclopaedias will reveal that Saturday was Babylon’s “Sabbath”. Furthermore it is believed by many that this Saturday sabbath was probably incorporated into the Jewish religion during their 70-year exile there and the approximate 500 years they had to build their “mixed” religion of Babylonish and Hebrew, before the appearing of the Messiah”.
[(Note by Dave Barley):
“In other words, Sunday may very well be the true Sabbath of Israel. Saturday was Babylon’s day, but when Jesus came, he took the opportunity to use the first day of the week events to correct, or set the sabbath for that time forward. He fulfilled Pentecost, Tabernacles, and Passover. His resurrection began a New Covenant Age and Sabbath. Only when this age is complete, and Jesus has fully written his law within our heart, will man be able to “fully enter into His Rest”.
Saturday is known as the Jewish Sabbath.
Sunday is known as the Christian Sabbath.
The Bible tells us in Exodus 31:17;
It (the sabbath) is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Christian Israel for the most part has kept Sunday as their Sabbath and it is a Biblical sign fulfilled, or is God Almighty a liar? I think not!”].
Returning to Pastor Linville’s book:
“As we will eventually see, the Bible establishes the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath. And yes, it comes every seventh day after six days of work. Merely saying “seventh day” does not prove a Saturday sabbath. This is something that I (and MANY others) have been guilty of assuming as I look at our present day Calendar. I, and other Saturday keepers have subconsciously and mentally inserted “of the week” behind “seventh day, “when as I said, the phrase ‘seventh day OF THE WEEK’ is NOT in the Bible. Not even in Genesis at the creation”.
We know that Jesus rose on the first day of the week - (Mark 16:9).
Christians are recorded three times assembling on the first day of the week, after the resurrection and before His ascension, never on the (Jewish) sabbath: - (John 20:19,26; Acts 2:1).
Please note that these were worship services. Jesus even gave the Apostle John the vision of the revelation on the first day of the week - (Rev. 1:10).
It is amazing to me that the Seventh-Day Adventists and other people elevate the sabbath issue to the most important of commandments in the Bible. They name themselves after this commandment and harp on this commandment constantly, when the Bible clearly tells us that the most important commandment is for us to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul”.
The favourite book of the Seventh-Day Adventists to promote is called “National Sunday Law,” by A. Jan Marcussen, which in my opinion rates right alongside Judeo-Christian fiction books like “The Late Great Planet Earth,” or “Left Behind”. This “National Sunday” fiction hype turns the sabbath issue into the mark of the beast issue, claiming that those “sacred” people who “honour God’s Sabbath” (which again, they claim to be Saturday), will be hunted down by the Sunday Sabbath keepers and mercilessly slaughtered, or beheaded. This Book Is Utter Hogwash, and their claim about the “mark of the beast” being Sunday worship is Utter Hogwash!
The book does have some accurate dates and historical events about the Catholic Church and its beast activity, but with the slant that the author puts on those events: For instance, it speaks of the 1260 years of the Papacy’s rule in which you would think that during those years, the Papacy selectively sought and killed and tortured violators of the “Sunday Sabbath,” but that was certainly not the case.
If Sunday Sabbath was the issue for the persecution of Protestants, there would be abundant evidence. Yet, for 1260 years of power, the Catholic Church did not persecute over the sabbath issue, but over its own claim of selective salvation through the Roman Church.
The “Saturday/Sunday” sabbath debate was not even a consideration for 1260 years. You would think, according to this book, that the sabbath issue would be the number one law they would “kill” for.
The Seventh-Day Adventists claim that observance of Sunday as the Sabbath is paying homage to the Catholic Church and that those who do so are bringing themselves under the authority of the Pope. Sunday they say, is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and that those who observe the day are in reality observing a commandment of the Catholic Church.
Well, to follow that logic, anything Biblical that the Pope of the Catholic Church commands, that is also followed by Protestants, is somehow evil? I don’t think any Holy Spirit led students of the Word are that naïve! Personally, I think it is a seriously weak argument given by the Seventh-Day Adventists concerning Saturday simply based upon the claim by the Catholic Church that they changed the sabbath day. The Catholic Church makes all kinds of claims about rituals, worship of Mary the mother of Jesus, Vatican Authority, Communion, Salvation, and so forth. Does their claim make something right, or even true? Certainly it doesn’t!
Origen, a great scholar and theologian, in his commentary on John from “The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” about 200 AD, wrote that John the Baptist was:
“Born to make ready for the Lord a people fit for Him, at the end of the Covenant now grown old, which is the end of the Sabbatical - - - - it is not possible that the rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh of our God; on the contrary, it is our Saviour who, after the pattern of his own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of his death, and hence also of his resurrection”.
Victorianus, another of our early church fathers in “The Ante-Nicene Fathers” in the section - “On The Creation of the World” in 300 AD stated:
“On the Lord’s Day we may go forth to our bread with giving thanks. Lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews, which Christ Himself the Lord of the Sabbath - - - - in His body abolished”.
Ignatius of Antioch (surnamed Theophorus) a disciple of the Apostle Peter, who appointed him bishop of Antioch advocated replacing the Old Covenant Sabbath with the Lord’s Day:
“If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning our life also arose through Him and through his death which some men deny - a mystery whereby we attained unto belief and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only Teacher” - Ignatius to the Magnesians 9.1, Lightfoot translation.
Lastly, although there are many others, Eusebius, the “Father of Church History” stated in: “The Ante-Nicene Fathers” in the section - “The Ebionites”, that these Ebionites (who had claimed that Jesus was just the fruit of intercourse of a man with Mary) held to the Jewish “Sabbath” (page 159) while others “like us they celebrated the Lord’s Day as a memorial of the resurrection of the Saviour”.
Eusebius also stated according to Finis Dake in his book: “God’s Plan for Man”: “From the beginning Christians assembled on the first day of the week, called by them the Lord’s day, for the purpose of religious worship, to read Scriptures, to preach and to celebrate the Lord’s Supper - the first day of the week on which the Saviour obtained the victory over death. Therefore, it has the pre-eminence, first in rank, and is more honourable than the Jewish Sabbath”.
If you carefully read the above paragraph, you no doubt noticed what was said about the “Ebionites” and that they claimed Jesus was not (the Son of) God, but mere man.
Listen, no matter what you believe concerning the Sabbath issue, I can guarantee you this, that whether you hold the right position or not, your doctrinal perspective will not grant you salvation or a higher position in the Kingdom of Heaven. The truth of the Sabbath is that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the sabbath, and the Scriptures command us to enter into “His Rest”. If you are in Christ and you rest in his word and promises, you are in keeping with the true Sabbath.
In closing, let us all please be mindful of these words from:
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Courtesy America’s Promise,
P0 Box 157
Sandpoint ID 83864
Remember: It is the anti-Christ Jews who keep Saturday!