Why I No Longer Observe Saturday
As a Day of Rest and Worship.
By: Pastor Earl Linville
The following pages explain why, after around 33 years of keeping and observing Saturday as a sabbath, I have repented, and now observe the Christian Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, known on our present day calendar as Sunday.
The following is not so much my first hand original research, as it is learning from other Christian writers who have researched the Scripture, and history, and written books to share those findings with others. For around 33 years, I have always observed what I was taught in the World-wide Church of God, which to me seemed correct according to my knowledge of the Bible at the time as to the sabbath.
Since it seemed right, I never seriously considered any other side of the issue. I assumed “seventh day” meant “seventh day of the week”, and that Saturday was the day God rested on after His creation work was finished. (If, in fact, creation was done in literally 24 hour days).
I assumed that this was an unbroken, undisturbed chain of sabbaths throughout history. I never questioned it or asked for proof and I suppose if I had, I would have been told that the fact that the Jews keep Saturday is the proof. I have since learned to examine, prove and analyze all things. I believe that truth does not fear examination.
Not all, but much of my recent studies have been through basically two books. One titled: “Sunday, The True Sabbath of God” by Samuel Walter Gamble, who has been credited with discovering and reconstructing the ancient Hebrew Calendar, a calendar that has been lost and is totally different from the present day Jewish Calendar.
Another source of my study has been a book titled: “The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day” by Charles Weisman, who considers, in addition to the Scriptures, Reason, Revelation, Law, Race and History.
I have already read and studied many writings and heard many sermons “pro” Saturday Sabbath for about 33 years, so my recent studies are merely “the other side of the coin”, a side I was taught was not worth considering, let alone researching and studying.
In short, I have come to realize that much of what l was taught by the World-wide Church of God and its then leader, Herbert W. Armstrong, was simply not true. So, today I stand before God with an upright conscience and positive attitude about the change I have made as to the “Sabbath”. My motive for undertaking this writing is that others might prayerfully read, study, and come to the same conclusion.
Why I No Longer Observe Saturday as a Day of Rest and Worship
When *1 Yahweh brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage on Abib 15th, He told them that the month of Abib was a beginning of months to them. Abib the 1st was then, the first day of the first month, New Years day, and naturally, the first day of the seven day cycle, the first day being a sabbath and then the cycle of six working days following, then a sabbath, etc. ... (Exodus 12:2; Deut. 16:1; Exodus 40:1-2, 17, 22-23; 2 Chron. 29:16-17; Leviticus 24:8; Exodus 20:8-11).
(*1 F.N. The author uses the Hebrew names Yahweh for the God of the Old Covenant, and Yahshua for Jesus interchangeably).
The “week” as we know it, was not in existence, named after planets and “gods”. This was done by Babylonians and Romans around 90-80 BC. These were named after the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn - (Sun’s day, Moon’s day, Tiw’s day, Woden’s day, Thor’s day, Frigas day, and Saturn’s day).
Israel’s Calendar was solar as shown by Dr. Samuel Walter Gamble, Charles Weisman, Colombian Encyclopedia, Vol. 32 (Year). Others who say the calendar was solar is Dr. Julian Morgenstern, former president of the Hebrew Union Calendar at Cincinnati, Ohio, in his book: “The Three Calendars of Ancient Israel”. (The Hebrew College Annual Vol. 1(1924), and also Dr. Eduard Mahler, imminent Austrian Astronomer in his handbook of Jewish Chronology. (Lepzig 1926)
At the equinox the sun is at one of the two points where the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator, so day and night are of equal length.
The first day, Abib 1, New Year ’s Day, on the Vernal Equinox was the first sabbath of the year, followed by six working days, then seventh, a Sabbath and so on. The sabbaths were fixed days of the month. For instance in Abib, they were on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th.
If we were to take the names of the weekdays we “now” have today, and apply them back in history to the Ancient Hebrew Calendar, most historians agree that Abib 15 of the year Israel left Egypt was on a Saturday.
(But it was not the 7th day of the week it was the 1st, according to the Hebrew Calendar).
Since their Sabbaths fell on fixed days of the month, Saturday Sabbath would only occur every seven years. For instance, their first Sabbath change would have occurred on the first Pentecost after leaving Egypt, where Sunday would replace Saturday. The next Pentecost, Monday would replace Sunday (and so on). But again, please remember, they really didn’t have days by these names then. Scholars and Historians have calculated “back” to what they “would have been”, if so named.
Also, Israel’s feast days (except for the solemn holy day “Day of Atonement) always fell on weekly sabbaths. Therefore, trying to harmonize the Hebrew Calendar with Saturday Sabbaths and our today’s Gregorian Calendar or Roman Calendar would eventually result in conflict. For instance, in the Hebrew Calendar the Sabbaths were fixed days of the month, (Abib 1, 8, 15, 22, 29) while the 10th, 14th, and 16th were appointed labor days - (Exodus 12:3,5-6,24; Lev. 23:15). Eventually one would be confronted with laboriously slaughtering animals, cleaning, gutting, building a fire to roast for hours, on “Saturday”, conflicting with Exodus 20:10 - “In it (the 7th day) you shall not do any work - - - ”. (If, in fact, Saturday was the Sabbath).
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 work, one day of rest, six days of work, one day of rest. Sabbath means - “cessation, stop, rest”. The command was to work six days, then rest.
Having said the foregoing, it must also be said that sabbath is not always a day, or a 24-hour period. A sabbath can be one day - (Exodus 20:8-11) or it can be two days - (Lev. 23:15-16, 21) or it can be one-year long - (Lev. 25:4-5, 8) or two years - (Lev. 25:8,11-12) or seventy years - (2 Chron. 36:21).
Studying Ancient Calendars and Encyclopedias 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 Babylon and Hebrew, before the appearing of the Messiah.
As we will eventually see, the Bible establishes the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath. And, yes, it comes every 7th day after 6 days of work. Merely saying “seventh day” does not prove a Saturday Sabbath. This is something I 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 7th day of the week is not in the Bible, not even in Genesis at creation.
In fact, the phrase “7th day” is even used in other instances than Sabbath. Check Leviticus 13:5-6, 27, 32, 34; Lev. 14:9, 39-42; Numbers 6:9; Num. 19:11-12, and you will see that those with boils or leprosy were examined, then told to come back on the 7th day. Did this mean on Saturday? No, it meant the 7th day from when they first saw the high priest. There are also more examples, such as touching a dead body - (Num. 19:11-12) etc.
The Sabbath day to Yahweh and Israel was a memorial of creation, and of coming out of Egyptian bondage - (Ex 20:8-11; Deut. 5:15).
In the year that Israel came out of Egypt, the day of the week, if we use the Babylonish/Roman planet names, was Saturday. According to Mr. David Davison, M.C., M.I., Struct E.; the eminent Egyptologist, Pyramidologist, and Mathematician, the date of the Exodus has been definitely fixed as he writes in the National Message, 19/7/47, page 215:
“In 1486 BC, Israel’s deliverance at the crossing of the Sea of Reeds was in the early morning of Saturday, April 6, (Greg. Calendar). It was on a “Saturday” all right, but it was the first day of the week on the Hebrew Calendar. So that year, up until Pentecost, was of Saturday Sabbaths. We now to arrive at Pentecost; Yahweh told them to count from the morrow after the sabbath (Abib 15) “from the day ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven sabbaths shall be complete, even to the morrow after the seven sabbaths shall you number” - (Lev. 23:15-16). And verse 21 states that this day, this “Pentecost” was to be a holy convocation, a sabbath. Most all agree this Pentecost day when Yahweh gave Israel the Ten Commandments, the Law, was “Sunday”. (And for the rest of the year, until the next Pentecost, Sunday was the Sabbath every week).
I would think it is just as believable as to think Yahweh rested after creation on Saturday of the Gregorian Calendar, and that Saturday has been an unbroken chain of sabbaths ever since.
While we are on the subject, what else happened in the Bible on the first day of the week?
1) On the first day Noah and his family left the ark - (Gen. 8:13-22).
2) The exodus of Israel from Egypt was on the first day of the week - (Ex 13:3-4; Ex. 34:18; Num. 33:3; Deut. 16:1).
3) The Israelite Calendar begins on the first day of the week - (Ex. 12:2).
4) Israel began the journey in the wilderness on the first day of the week - (Num. 10:11-12).
5) The tabernacle of God was first reared up and anointed and the Ark placed inside of it - (Ex. 40:2,17-21).
6) The Feast of Unleavened bread, a holy convocation began on the first day of the week - (Lev. 23:7).
7) The seven Sabbaths and Feast of Weeks were on the first day of the week - (Lev. 23:15-16; Deut. 16:9-10).
8) The Feast of Trumpets was on the first day of the week - (Num. 29:1).
9) Special offerings and sacrifices were on the first day of the week - (Ezekiel 45:18, 25; Ezra 3:6).
10) Feast of Tabernacles (sabbaths) on first day of the week -
11) Solomon’s temple and altar dedication was on the first day of the week - (2 Chron. 7:1-11).
12) House of God sanctified on first day of week - (2 Chron. 29:17).
13) God’s people leave Babylonish captivity on the first day of the week - (Ezra 7:9).
14) Ezra brings the law to the people on the first day of the week -
15) The resurrection of Yahshua/Jesus was on the first day of the week - (Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:1-9; Luke 24:1-6; John 20:1) (More on this “subject” later)
16) The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles on the first day of the week - (John 20:19-22)
And also ON Pentecost - (Acts 2:1-4) where about 3,000 Israelites were redeemed that day. And, just as Sunday was the Pentecost in the year of the exodus, so it was in the year Yahshua the Messiah was crucified, buried and resurrected.
Back to the calendar, Israel had a 12-month year - (1 Kings 4:7; 1 Chron. 27:1-15), and a biblical month of 30 days - (Gen. 7:11; Gen. 8:3-4). To further confirm the 30-day month, prophecy in the book of Revelation tells us of 42 months, 1260 days and 3½ years as being one and the same. 12x30 come to 360 days, but in the Hebrew Calendar 5 days were added, 3 at the end of the sixth month, and 2 on the end of the twelve-month. Thus we have a solar year of 365 days.
The lunar year is around 11¼ days shorter than the solar, so a cycle of lunar years will become progressively more out of step with the seasons. This was important in Ancient Israel’s time as in the barley season the first fruits had to be ripe on the day they were waved. “For this reason (getting out of step with the seasons) a lunar year is of no real use for calendar purposes” – “Encyclopedia Britannica” 1768 (1969).
A common misconception is that the Jewish Calendar of today is the same as the Ancient Hebrew Calendar. Not so, and Jews admit that they have no calendar that dates beyond the Christian era. So it is a mistake to assume that the modern Jewish Calendar, which came into existence in 359 AD is the same as the Biblical Calendar, or to assume that the Biblical Calendar was Lunar, or Lunar-Solar.
Dr. Gamble believes that the true Hebrew Calendar was kept right up to the crucifixion of Christ. Therefore, in his reckoning, in Christ’s first year of ministry He kept Wednesday as sabbath, in His second year of ministry, Thursday, third, Friday, and Saturday was the sabbath at the time He was crucified.
According to Charles Weisman, in his book: “The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day”, the Southern Kingdom had the true Hebrew Calendar before going into exile in the Babylonian Captivity around 510 BC, but lost it there during the 70 year exile and there adopted the Babylonian Lunar Calendar AND the Saturday Sabbath. This seems to make more sense.
As to the Babylonian Sabbath, according to the “Encyclopedia Britannica”, Babylon thought the 7th day; Saturn was evil, unlucky, and not good for enterprise (so they would not work on the day).
Roman Historian Dio Cassius (C155-238) wrote that the Jews thought this also and “On the day of Saturn they undertook no serious occupation”. In fact, the Babylonians would allow no physician to heal on that day. Now, that is interesting, since the religious leaders of Christ’s day became so incensed when He would heal on (“their”) Sabbath.
So the question one might ask is: “Was it the Babylonian Sabbath (Saturn day) in effect as the law of the land at that time, and not the law of Yahweh?”
Were the People of Judea at the time of Christ keeping a Babylonian version of the Sabbath? Had they picked it up in Babylon, and in spite of efforts by Nehemiah and Ezra, finally over five centuries before the Messiah appeared, established it, along with the other mixtures of Babylon / Hebrew religion, or the traditions of men, as Christ called it?
It is also interesting that Yahshua / Jesus preached and taught on all the other nine commandments, but never the sabbath day. Oh, it was brought up by the Pharisees, and discussed when He healed on the day or when his disciples plucked corn to eat, but He never taught or preached to keep the sabbath “of the day” holy, while He said plenty about the other nine commandments. Was it “non-important, a non-issue” to Him, since it was either really the Babylonian Sabbath, or the rotating sabbath of the true Hebrew Calendar, part of the Commandments contained in Ordinances, - (The schoolmaster). He was about to abolish, and nail to the cross? - (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14-16). And did not Christ have the authority to abolish and change those sabbaths?
He said in Matthew 28:18; “All power (authority) is given to me in heaven and earth”. And in Matthew 12:8, He said He was Lord (Master) of the sabbath. When He abolished the Law of Commandments contained in Ordinances, what need was there any longer for a Hebrew Calendar with fixed sabbaths on the days of the month that changed every year?
Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV) states: “In that He says, a new covenant, He made the first obsolete.
Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away? It was just a few more short years from this writing that Jerusalem fell (AD 70) under the Roman Gen. Titus. There was no more Temple; there were no more sacrifices. There was no more Southern Kingdom or need for them to observe these “Sabbaths”. There was no Hebrew Sovereign, Independent Nation. (And really had not been for centuries since they were under dominion of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome).
But now, after AD 70, they were totally gone. Those who were not killed were scattered. The Christians had fled to Pella before the fall of Jerusalem, and His other Lost sheep, the Northern Kingdom of Israel (including most of the Southern Kingdom except Jerusalem itself) had gone into Assyrian captivity around 710 BC. By now they were everywhere, moving westward into England, Ireland, spreading all over the earth. (And had been for centuries). We are now in America, Australia, Canada, etc., everywhere. But we are in different geographical areas, separated by oceans. We are not all together somewhere as an Independent Hebrew Nation under a Theocracy. We, is Christian Israel. So, why would we need a Hebrew Calendar and its sabbaths that revolved around harvest seasons in Palestine, and that served as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ?
In Hosea 2:11, Yahweh told Israel He would cause her sabbaths to cease. I used to think that just meant that He was going to divorce the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and send them into captivity, so of course, not being a part of the covenant anymore, they would not be keeping sabbath days. But is there more to it than that? Is it possible that Matt 28:1 has been misunderstood by many, and that it announces the end of the Sabbaths of the Old Covenant, and point to the Christian Sabbath, Sunday?
Notice Matthew 28:1 (KJV);
“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 sepulchre”.
A casual reading of this verse in the Modern English Translation “appears” to be pretty clear.
But we need to examine closer. First, the word “day” is in Italics, which means it was not in the original text. Secondly, the word “week” is not totally or necessarily speaking of the seven-day cycle. It is word 4521 in the Greek, see “Strong’s Concordance” and it is the word “Sabbaton”, and in its definition, says: “(i.e. Shabbath) or day of weekly repose from secular avocation. (Also the observance of institution itself) i.e. the interval between two sabbaths, likewise the plural in all the above applications. Sabbath (day) week”.
The word ‘Sabbath’ in the KJV in “In the end of the sabbath” is also word 4521. The word “end” is (Opse - 3796) and can mean “late in the day, after the close of the day, at even”, and as rendered in the KJV, “in the end”.
Webster’s defines end many ways, such as: “A point that marks the extent of something, the point where something ceases to exist, to bring to any end, etc....” And, what about the word “first”?
It is word (Mia – 3391) in Strong’s, and means “one or first: - (a certain), + agree, first, one, x other”.
Now, maybe first just means first, as in first, second, third, etc. But again, in Webster’s, among other things, it means “preceding all others in time, order or importance”. Or, we could use the word chief, or special. God’s way was for the first born to have the birthright and blessings. My wife is first in my life - (Chief, special, #1).
I dissected almost every word in Matthew 28:1, so you might understand (whether you agree or not) how some render this verse, as follows:
“In the end of the sabbaths (plural) as it began
to dawn toward the chiefest (foremost, most important) of the sabbaths (plural) came Mary Magdalene” - - -.
Others see and render this a little different, but the key point to remember is that week is “Sabbaton”, in this and all the New Testament verses using the English word “week”. Further, no New Testament writer ever called Sunday the first day of the week, or the morrow after the sabbath. They had Greek words available to them for the word week also, so, why did they use “Sabbaton”?
Because as we will eventually see, Christ was resurrected on what we know as the first day of the week of our calendar, and it was called the first, chiefest of all sabbaths. It replaced the rotating sabbath of the Ancient Hebrew Calendar. There never was a perpetual Hebrew Saturday Sabbath from creation and down through history. Again, this is assumed because people see the Jews keeping the day, now, and possibly for 25 centuries. (From Babylonish exile and on).
It cannot be proven that when Ancient Israel was brought out of Egypt and to Mt. Sinai that they were given and observed a perpetual Saturday Sabbath.
In his booklet “Israel’s Calendar and the True Sabbath”, Curtis Clair Ewing had this to say:
“We deny that Israel kept Saturday as the sabbath. Most people, in facing the issue, yield the Saturdarians a major victory by not making them prove from Scripture that the Biblical Sabbath came on Saturday”.
Yes, the sabbath was on Saturday (though they did not have or use the names we do for our calendar) in the year of the Exodus, and in the year of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, but there was also 1680 years between these two years and events, with the sabbath changing to a different day of the week every year. But, again, the “day of the week” was not that important or observed, except working 6 and resting on the 7th.
The sabbaths themselves were on fixed days of the month. True Israel never had a perpetual Saturday Sabbath. I would agree with Pastor Ewing, that those who say so or that God rested on Saturday after creation is asked to “prove it”.
As I said earlier, the phrase “7th day of the week” is not in the Bible. And, as I said, we only assume that Saturday is the Sabbath because today, on our present day calendar, Saturday is the 7th day of our week. We also assume it, and consider it “proof” because today’s orthodox Jews keep Saturday. But even they have the wrong day as they have rejected the Ancient Hebrew Calendar and Sabbath for a Babylonian one.
The church Father Tertullian, in AD 200 wrote:
“Those of you who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury go far away from Jewish ways of which they are ignorant” (Emphasis mine). He meant “original Hebrew ways” and that even the Jews of his day were not keeping the right day.
J. N. Andrews is a second witness to this. In his book “History of the Sabbath” on page 280 he wrote that:
“After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish church and its history, Jewish tradition and practices were broken and lost, and that they were taken up with Saturday keeping; as the Ancient Jewish Sabbaths were far away from Jewish ways, because of their ignorance with sabbath counting”.
(It would have been better if Mr. Andrews and others would use the term “Ancient Hebrew Sabbaths” as Judah was only one tribe of twelve, Abraham was not a Jew, Jacob was not a Jew, Joseph was not a Jew, the Apostles Paul and Peter were not of the tribe of Judah, and furthermore most Jews today have no Hebrew or Semite blood in them. But that is a different subject, and I merely quote Mr. Andrews’ actual words.)
Anyway, so much for the idea that the Hebrews, by an unbroken tradition for 3303 years kept a Saturday Sabbath. And yet most people, even Sunday keepers believe Saturday and sabbath are synonymous.
I already stated that in Hosea 2:11, God told Israel that He would cause their sabbaths to cease. It happened pretty quickly for them, the Northern Kingdom, when He divorced them and, centuries later with the Southern Kingdom; whether we say in Babylonian exile, or the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple and the Southern Kingdom in AD 70.
And Matt. 28:1, when understood and read properly announces this change to the new Christian Sabbath. I quote it again in pertinent part:
“In the end of the sabbaths as it began to dawn toward the chiefest of the Sabbaths came Mary Magdalene - - -”.
Then of course, Paul tells the Ephesians in Chapter 2, verse 15 that Christ abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances. This would include the Hebrew Calendar, as it was part of the old schoolmaster no longer needed. He also told the Colossians in 2:14-17 that this schoolmaster was nailed to the cross, so therefore, don’t let anybody judge you in meat, drink, in respect to a holy day, or of the sabbaths.
Now, very important, Hebrews 4:9 saying:
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
The word “rest” in Hebrews 4:9 is the Greek word “Sabbatismos” - Strong’s 4520, from a derivative of the 4521 (which is the Sabbaton we saw earlier in “week”). “A Sabbatism”, i.e. fig. The repose of Christians (as a type of heaven) Rest”.
So, “rest”, means sabbath here. And, the word “remaineth” is interesting also. I always looked at it as a future thing, like:
“Someday we will rest from our trials and tests here on earth”.
And I guess it can mean that as the context indicate of:
10 For he that is entered into his rest, also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief”.
But, the word “remaineth” - Strong’s #620, is from the Greek “Apoleipo” and means “to leave behind, leave”. That does not suggest future as much as past or present. According to that definition, of “remaineth”, the text would seem to say: “There is left, or left behind a Sabbath for the people of God” or “there is left for us a sabbath”.
This makes more sense in light and harmony with Hosea 2:11; Matt. 28:1; Eph. 2:15 and Col. 2:14-17, which all together say: God said He would take away Israel’s Sabbaths; in the end of these sabbaths was left behind a chief or more important one, the day Christ was resurrected.
So Paul tells the Christians God has abolished these sabbaths of the Old Covenant and Calendar (Commandments contained in ordinances), therefore don’t let anyone judge/condemn you for not observing them. We have a Christian Sabbath, Sunday. I believe this is basically what Paul was teaching, and why he was so hated and hounded by the Judaizers.
Mark 16:9 says;
Now when Jesus (Yahshua) was risen early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he cast seven devils.
Here again, “day” is not in the original text, and here again “first” and “week” mean the same as they were shown to mean in Matthew 28:1.
So the verse 9 says: “Now when Jesus was risen early in the first/chiefest of sabbaths - - - - -”.
And, in that year, that day is what we call “Sunday”.
All the early Church Fathers (some a generation or two behind the original Apostles) long before there was a Pope or Catholic Church, stated that Christ was crucified on a Friday and rose from the grave Sunday morning, their quotes will follow shortly. I have always been taught, and still believe that Pentecost (that year) came on a Sunday. So, therefore, as per Acts 2:1-4, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in Jerusalem, on Sunday.
In his book “Sunday, the True Sabbath of God”, Dr. Samuel Walter Gamble (who discovered and reconstructed the Ancient Hebrew Calendar) quotes the English Dr. Rutherford’s chronology stating that Christ was crucified in AD 33 and that Nisan 14 that year was on a Friday. He also states that from AD 27 to 33, Nisan 14th never fell on a Wednesday. I tend to think it “might” have, but I am no expert, and if the year of the crucifixion was in AD 33, then most all historians and authors put it on Friday.
So, in light of Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:9 and everything else we have considered, turn now to Acts 20:7. And we read, “And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight”. We find the same wording as before, and again, here and 1 Cor. 16:1-2, where Paul tells them to lay up in store the first day of the week for the collection for the saints in Judea for relieving the brethren suffering hard times.
It is all the same thing. “Day” isn’t in the original, “first” means first of importance, and “week” means Sabbath. (And even if we embraced the phrase “first day of the week”, wouldn’t that make Sunday synonymous with sabbath as per week meaning Sabbaton? And couldn’t the first day of our week (Sunday) come every 7th day?)
Now the quotes by the early Church fathers as to the Lord’s day, the Christian Sabbath.
“The Didache” (AD 85) - is perhaps the oldest Christian document known to exist, and it is also called the teaching of the 12 Apostles. It bears witness to the celebration of the first day of the week.
Ignatius of Antioch, (AD 69) - activities are traced to the year AD 70. He is known as a disciple of the Apostle John. I quote from him in pertinent part:
“If then they who walked in ancient customs came to a new hope, no longer observing the sabbath, but living according to the Lord’s Day on which also our life sprang up through Him and His death - whom some deny”.
Ignatius is saying the Hebrews who once walked in ancient customs came to a New Hope. Wasn’t that what was promised in Jeremiah 31:31-33 and elsewhere, and acknowledged in Luke 1:68-79 and elsewhere? So naturally Paul warns the Galatians (and others) not to go back to the schoolmaster, the shadow, the Law of Commandments contained in ordinances.
In Gal. 4:10 he scolds them for observing days, and months and “times” and years. “Times” here is from the Greek word “Karios”, and can mean “an occasion, set and proper time, season, time, etc....”
“Set”? Sure, the Ancient Hebrew Calendar had fixed days of the month for feast days, and the weekly Sabbaths they fell on. There was nothing “wrong” with it in fact it was God’s will and plan at the time. But it was all a shadow and tutor(schoolmaster) of what was to come, salvation and redemption for Adam/Israel by the blood of, and death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God, Israel’s kinsman redeemer. And He fulfilled it, so why try to keep the schoolmaster, the shadow?
As one preacher wrote, who would want to marry the “shadow” of a man or woman? As to keeping “part” of the Commandments contained in Ordinances.
In Deut. 12:32, Yahweh God says:
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Paul said in Gal. 5:3; “One who tries to keep any part of the Old way, Law of Commandments contained in ordinances is a debtor to keep it all”. (Circumcision is synonymous with the Commandments contained in ordinances, i.e. the Sabbaths, the Sacrifices, and the Calendar).
Again, there was nothing wrong with them at the time, but again, Paul warns about trying to mix or keep a part of them “now” in:
For it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
So, Ignatius correctly stated that those who walked in ancient customs came to a New Hope. Some tried to return, in part or all the way, and Paul addressed this issue in Galatians, Colossians, the Book of Hebrews, and elsewhere.
Barnabas, in his epistle in AD 115 quotes from Isaiah, then makes a comment:
“Incense is vain abomination unto Me, and your new moons and sabbaths I cannot endure”.
Then Barnabas goes on to say:
“He has therefore abolished these things - - - - wherefore we keep the 8th day with joyfulness, the day also which Jesus rose from the dead”.
One of the most famous of the early Christians was Justin Martyr, who wrote:
“On the day called Sunday, all who live in the cities or in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the Apostles, or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader has ceased, the President verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of those good things”.
And “Sunday is the day we all hold our common assembly because it is the first day, on which God, having wrought a change in darkness and matter, made the world, and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.”
In the “Apostolic Constitution” (180-250), one of its documents states:
“On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord’s Day assembles yourselves together without fail, give thanks to God and praise Him for the mercies He has bestowed upon you through Christ”.
Clement of Alexandria (AD 192) wrote:
“The old 7th day has become nothing more than a work day.”
Tertullian (AD 200) wrote:
“On Sunday we give to joy. We have nothing to do with sabbaths or the Jewish festivals - - - - -”.
Eusebuis, Bishop of Caesarea (AD 315) wrote:
“All things whatsoever were the duty to do on the sabbath them we have transferred to the Lord’s Day.”
Origen, prominent Church Father (AD 185-253) writes:
“Thus was he, John the Baptist, born to make ready a people for the Lord, a people fit for Him at the end of the Covenant now grown old, which is the end of the sabbath period. It is one of the marks of the perfect Christian to keep the Lord’s Day”.
These early dates of quotes of men shown above should dispel the accusations that Constantine, or the Catholic Church had anything to do with changing Saturday to Sunday. God did it. There was no pope or Catholic Church at the time of the writings of these men. I was always told that the Pope made the change, but again, there was no Roman Church this early, plus those who blame the Pope cannot name the Pope nor the date it was done. The Catholic Church does claim to be the successors of the original Apostles, and say that they, - the Apostles, changed it. They merely acknowledge, as did Constantine, the Sunday Sabbath that Christians had already been observing for three centuries. And, yes, they were heavy handed, dictatorial and tyrannical about enforcing it at times.
I was always taught that these early church fathers I quoted from, were either Catholic, or part of the great “falling away”. Of course Saturday keepers taught me that. I would now put the burden on them to “prove it”. Maybe I should say “Roman Catholic” as the word “Catholic”, I believe, simply means universal.
One of the Scriptures I was taught that was supposed to prove that Christ could not have been crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday morning was Matt. 12:40 where He said that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. Saturday keepers maintain that He had to have been in the grave 72 hours, and from Friday evening to Sunday morning is not 72 hours. This sounds reasonable, taken in and of it, if there is nothing else in the Bible to consider. But there is. One thing we must consider as we read our English translations of Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek is that the customs, speech and idioms of the people in those times are different from ours.
In addition to that, there are other Scriptures which are overlooked that could shed light and understanding on Matthew 12:40. There are even things that Christ Himself said in other places of the gospels that “seem” to contradict what He said in Matthew 12:40. Since this is not possible, is there another explanation?
Following are some of these things Christ said:
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
(Now, in John 11:9 Jesus said “Are there not 12 hours in the day?”).
And all He says in John 2:18-19 is in 3 days.
In Mark 8:31 Christ said that “after” three days He would rise again.
(Would not “after” three days be the “fourth” day?)
In Matthew 16:21 He said He would be raised up “the” third day, and He also said the same in Matthew 20:19 and Luke 9:22.
So, which did Christ mean, literally 72 hours, in 3 days, after 3 days or on the third day?
Furthermore He may have used the phrase “within” three days.
In Mark 14:58, his enemies (false witnesses) said:
We heard him say, “I will destroy this Temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands”.
(That is not what Christ said as they referred to the literal Temple, and He, his body, but He may well have said “within”).
Also, in Matthew 27:63-64, we read where the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate:
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, “After” three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure “until” the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Notice, they said Christ said He would rise after the third day, but they only wanted it guarded until the third day. Wouldn’t you think they would want to be more sure, and maybe have it guarded until the fourth day?
Also, read Esther 4:15-17 carefully. Esther tells Mordecai to have the Jews fast “for three days, day and night” before she went in to see the king.
The “Farrar Fenton Translation”, has her words as “I will then go to the king”.
Yet, in Esther 5:1-2, Scripture says she went in on the “third” day.
Another example can be found in the 10th Chapter of 2 Chronicles. Right before the split of the Kingdom of Israel over taxes, we find Jeroboam and Israel (10 northern tribes) speaking to King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, saying they would serve him if he would not be as harsh (grievous servitude) as his father. Deciding to give it some thought and seeks counsel, he said in:
2 Chronicles 10:5;
And he said unto them, Come again unto me “after” three days. And the people departed”.
But notice verse 12;
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam “on” the third day, as the king bade, saying Come again to the on the third day”.
But we read in verse 5 he told them come back after three days.
So, what is the answer?
The entire above can mean one and the same thing:
Three days and three nights; three days; day and night; within three days; in, after three days; on the third day; are interchangeable figures of speech, or idioms. “Idiom” according to “Webster’s” means - “individual peculiarity of language, the language peculiar to a people, or to a district, community or class, dialect, etc….”
Their expressions in the above all meant the same thing. Further, the phrase ‘three days and three nights’ is an expression for uninterrupted continuity for emphasis. Sometimes it can be a mistake to read something in our English “translations” of Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek, - and “hang our hats on it” without a deeper study.
Scripture states that Christ rose “the” third day - (Matt. 17:23; Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:34; Luke 24:7, 46; Acts 10:40 and 1 Cor. 15:4) and a literal 72 hours is not required.
“Langes Commentary” - on Matt. 12:40 gives quotations from Jerome, May and Afford which state: “That in Ancient Jewish reckoning, a portion of a day was considered a whole day”. I think we just saw this in Esther, 2 Chronicles, and the words ‘on, in, and after’, all referring to the same event.
So, if Christ was buried a couple hours, or just before sundown Friday, Friday is reckoned a day. Saturday would be the second day, and right after sunrise Sunday morning is the third day, as Sunday is counted as a whole day, just as Friday. Again, not only language, but also the customs then and there were not necessarily like ours. The third day was simply the day after tomorrow! - (Ex 19:10-11; 1 Sam. 20:5; Luke 13:31-33).
Speaking of days, this might be a good time to point out that many believe the reckoning of the civil day from evening to evening is clearly connected with the Lunar Calendar of Babylonish origin. When ‘even to even’ is mentioned in our Bible, it is usually in relation to a holy, religious observance, such as the Day of Atonement. And while an argument might be made for Ancient Israel starting a day at sunset, a thorough research of the word “even” reveals it can also mean, “the dividing of light and dark”. That could be sunrise as well as sundown. In fact “Farrar Fenton Translation” has the Day of Atonement from “dawn to evening”.
There are even instances in the Bible where midnight even seems to divide a day. For instance, the Passover, (the death angel) and the exodus occur in the same night, but one is the 14th of Abib, the other is the 15th of Abib. One thing for sure, at that time, and what happened, sunset to sunset could not have divided those two days.
A word on New Moon. There should be no such phrase as “New Moon” in our Bibles. This is a fraudulent insertion by Jews and scribes who mixed God’s Calendar with the Babylonian one. Moon and month are totally two different words, and are not interchangeable. The Hebrew word for moon, the planet, is “Yareach”. The Hebrew word for month is “Chodesh”. New month, yes, but not New Moon. New Moon is an interpolation that should not be in the Bible. It is there to promote the Lunar Calendar.
If you think scribes have not tampered with the Bible, read Jeremiah 8:8, (the last line) which says: “the pen of the scribes is in vain”.
“The Lamsa Aramaic Version” renders it: “Lo, surely the lying pen of the scribes has made it for falsehood”. He explains in his commentary “Old Testament Light” by saying in a little more clearly, “Scribes forged some of the passages in Scripture”.
Another example of this (at least I believe it to be) is found in:
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living”.
Moffatt is a fairly reliable translation, and in the OT the “Moffatt Translation” uses [[ ]] to denote editorial editions or later interpolations. (Interpolate means to alter or corrupt (as a text) by inserting new or foreign matter) and Moffatt does have the double square brackets [[ ]] around Genesis 3:20.
I would like to close this writing by quoting Exodus 31:12-17;
(Then asks some common sense, practical questions).
12 And the LORD (Yahweh) spake unto Moses saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily, my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD (Yahweh) that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD (Yahweh): whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the LORD (Yahweh) made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.
Now, verse 13 has the term ‘sabbaths’, plural, which would have been a sign between God and Ancient Israel. He doesn’t call them holy here in this text, nor use the word ‘forever’. Even if it did, the word for ‘ever’ such as word 5703 in “Strong’s” is the Hebrew word “Ad” and as well as “eternity and perpetual”, can also mean terminus and duration. “Webster’s” defines duration as - “the time during which something exists or lasts”. In other words, as long as the conditions exists.
In Genesis 17:13 the word everlasting is used to describe the covenant of physical circumcision, but we know by the NT that it no longer applies.
Leviticus 23:9-14 commanded that the waving of the sheaf of firstfruits was a statute “forever”.
In Leviticus 24:1-4 the oil lamps were commanded by statute to be burned “forever”.
In Exodus 21:5-6; when a slave wanted to stay with his master, they would go to the judges, bore his ear through with an awl, and the slave would serve the master “forever”. (But wouldn’t he eventually die?)
In Numbers 18:21-24 the Levites were commanded to do the work of the Tabernacle “forever”. But there is no Tabernacle or Temple now and the NT tells us there has been a change in the priesthood.
And so it was with the Sabbaths of the Commandments contained in ordinances of the Ancient Hebrew Calendar.
But God did call “the sabbath” holy, and said it was a sign between Him and the children of Israel forever; didn’t He? I have no doubt that forever means just that, in this case. But I also believe that the rotating sabbath of the Hebrew Calendar “ended” with the other sabbaths, and was replaced by the Christian Sabbath, the Lord’s Day.
(Even if the Jews at that time were keeping the Babylonian day of Saturn, and not the rotating Sabbath, the rotating sabbath of the Ancient Hebrew Calendar was part of the Law of Commandments contained in Ordinances that were abolished, nailed to the cross.)
Now, God said the Sabbath was a sign between Him and the children of Israel, His covenant people. That word ‘sign’ is from the Hebrew “Owth” - (#226) and among other things; means mark, sign, signal, as a flag, and evidence.
That being the case I’ll ask my questions now:
1. Though there has been a few Saturday keepers throughout history, for the most part, the overwhelming vast majority, (without doubt) of the Anglo Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Kindred Christian Israelites have observed Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath every 7th day.
My questions are why?
If the Sabbath is a sign, a flag, evidence, why don’t His Covenant people have it, except for a few Saturday keepers?
Or - - - - do they?
2. Were these “Sunday keepers” blessed throughout all history and especially those who came to America? (At least until we let the Jews immigrate into our Promised Land). Our curses we are under are the result of giving up dominion to them; and letting them corrupt our land and people. It is not because we are not observing Saturday.
3. Is it really possible that for around 2,000 years God’s Covenant people have worshipped Him on the wrong day, in spite of the fact He said the sabbath would be the sign between Him and them? Or could it be Sunday Sabbath is the sign, the evidence?
4. Since the sabbath is the sign between God and his people, and since the Saturday keepers say Saturday is “the” Holy Sabbath of God, then wouldn’t that prove that the Jews are the chosen people, the children of Israel, since they, as a people and religion, unanimously and world-wide observe Saturday? I speak facetiously as they reject our Lord, and Scripture says they can’t have a relationship with God.
He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him;
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.
He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
1 John 2:23;
Whosoever denieth the Son the same hath not the Father:[but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-15;
14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which are in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews,
15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.
Furthermore, most Jews of today are not the descendants of Judah, the son of Jacob/Israel, while the Anglo Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic, and kindred people, are in fact truly the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob thus the true Hebrew/Israelite Covenant people of the Bible. This is a fact that can easily be proven.
They are the ones who are God’s servants and witnesses that has proclaimed the Gospel and followed Him for 2,000 years.
And no marvel, for Christ said in:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
In addition to that, we have received all the physical blessings promised to Abraham.
So, the Anglo Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic and Kindred people are known by their fruits, and the sign, flag, evidence (that they are the ones who have the relationship and Covenant with God and his Son) i.e. his Sabbath.
I am convinced of the answers to my questions, and will close with a testimony by D.M. Canright, for many years one of the leading Adventist preachers, who says of seventh day (Saturday) keeping: “After keeping it for 28 years; after having persuaded more than 1,000 others to keep it; after having read my Bible through verse by verse more than 20 times; after having scrutinized to the very best of my ability every text, line and word in the Bible having the remotest bearing on the Sabbath question; after having written several works in favour of the seventh day, which were satisfactory to my brethren; after having debated the question for more than a dozen times; and weighing all the evidence in the fear of God, I am fully settled in my own mind and conscience that the evidence is against keeping of the seventh day” (Seventh Day Adventism Renounced, Page 185).
While I have not accomplished the works of Brother Canright in debating, of convincing 1,000 people to keep Saturday, or written several books, I can stand with him and say “Amen”.
After 33 years of Saturday keeping, I now repent, and as for my house, and me we will henceforth observe the Christian Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, - Sunday.
Pastor Earl Linville,
Christian Covenant Fellowship and Ministry,
P.O. Box 1231,