Church of God, New World Ministries

The Change Of The Sabbath

Perhaps the most prominent “mark” the Romish church has placed on modern day Christianity is the “change of the Sabbath,” in which they say that protestants allow of their authority – by following them in observance of a purely Romish festival. By reading their literature, one may find that Catholics set Sunday up as a “sign” to mark their power and boast that they have changed the day of worship for all Christians:

“The Catholic Church of its own infallible authority created Sunday a holy day to take the place of the Sabbath of the old law.”

“The Catholic Church by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day Saturday to Sunday.”

“Question – Does the Catholic church acknowledge that it has changed the Sabbath? The answer – yes, it does.

The question – How can you prove that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

The answer – By the very fact of changing the Sabbath into Sunday which protestants allow; and therefore, they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feast days commanded by the same church.”

“Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the 7th day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.”

“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”

It seems a proper question to ask: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matt. 15:3)? But these attitudes are nothing new, we find in Ezekiel: “Her priests have violated my law and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezk. 22:27).

Here we find another fulfillment of prophecy, for the changing of “times and laws” was to be one of the acts of the anti-christ: “And he shall speak great words against the Most High and shall think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Dan. 7:25).

When all of the New Testament texts bearing on the question of the Sabbath are carefully analyzed, we find there is no warrant for keeping any other day as a day of REST excepting the day blessed by the Creator (Gen. 2:1-2) and later incorporated in the Commandments of God (Ex. 20:8-11). In Exodus 31:15 we learn that during the six days work may be done. Therefore, we are not breaking the commandment if we do not work the six days. To work all six days is not the intent of the precept, but the object is that we may be patriotic and obedient to the Father in commemorating His great work of creation, and His blessing of the 7th day. It is altogether fitting and proper to worship and praise the Father on any day of the week – but the commandment is to REST on the 7th.

A commandment was given to churches in Corinth to make a certain contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem (I Cor. 16:1-2). When we examine this same commandment where it was repeated to the other churches, we find that it was just for one special purpose: the collection of dried fruit which had to be carried with the help of others to Jerusalem for the poor. It was a collection at each home and not in an assembly. In II Cor. 9:1-5 it is called bounty. In Acts 11:28 we learn that the reason for this contribution was a dearth (hunger, want, famine) which was very severe in Jerusalem. In Romans 15:25-28 it says it was just a certain contribution, and it also says it was fruits. In I Cor. 16:3 it says others would need to go along to carry it. As it required work to gather and lay aside at each house, it was a command to work on the first day, just as God did in the beginning.

Another text used in support of Sunday observance is found in Acts 20:7. We are told the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread. “Jesus and his disciples and their followers kept the Sabbath. They fasted and went to the temple to pray like other Jews. The Christians broke bread on their first day of the week, Sunday, because they could not meet for instructions on the Sabbath, which was a holy day. The Jews rested from all their labors on that day. Some of them even refused to walk, or to answer a call. Their food was prepared on Friday, so that they need not do any manual work on the Sabbath. The disciples had their followers meet for instruction at the homes of certain converts. They brought their food with them, and after the instruction they broke bread together. The Eastern term ‘breaking bread’ means ‘eating together.’

From Acts 2:46 we find then; that they “broke bread” (or ate), every day. The purpose of their coming together on this occasion was to take the common meal after the Sabbath on the dark part of the first day of the week – just as people do now in Jerusalem. Read the whole passage carefully and you will find that evidently, they had observed the Sabbath, followed that evening by a meal and sermon. The next morning (Sunday) Paul did much walking, after which he and the others sailed a ship -requiring much physical labor (manipulating sails, etc.). They were not taking the Lord’s Supper, this was kept annually, on Passover, as a memorial of Christ which is our Passover.

Many contend that nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament – but that the Sabbath Commandment is not. This is a shallow excuse indeed for teaching the breaking of the Ten Commandments, and easily disproved. Turning to Hebrew 4:9 we find: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.” If your Bible has marginal notes you should notice a reference by the word “rest” in this scripture referring you to the margin. In the margin (KJV) you will find the “marginal reading” for “rest” is: “keeping of the Sabbath.” Perhaps the meaning of this scripture is more faithfully translated in the Lamsa translation from the Peshitta (The Authorized Bible of the Church of the East): “It is therefore the duty of the people of God to keep the sabbath.” So, it is that we find that the New Testament enjoins the keeping of the 7th day Sabbath on all Christians.

Jesus taught that the Law of God, which includes the observance of the 7th day Sabbath, is the unchangeable will of God – even to the minutest “jot and tittle” (Matt. 5:17-19). Only those who do the will of God shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21). This obedience is the one sure proof of our love for the Master (John 14:15, 21; 12:50; 15:10).  Our attainment of “eternal life” requires full and unconditional obedience to the commandments (Matt. 19:16-17; Heb. 4:9; Mark 10:17-19; Luke 10:25-28; 18:18-20). We must not only obey, but also teach the commandments in order to attain complete recognition in the Kingdom (Matt. 5). Those who teach and follow the traditions of man instead of the Law of God worship the Saviour in vain (Mark 7:7-9; Duet. 4:19; II Kings 17:16). The Saviour observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). The Apostles (Acts 17:2) and their followers also (Luke 23:56; 24:1) all kept the Sabbath.

Sabbath reform is unfinished business. Business that should have been taken care of at the time of the Protestant Reformation. Many honest protestants have had much to say about “Sunday keeping” since that time. Among them are Lutheran: “We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish Sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. We have seen that the Christians of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both” (The Sunday Problem: 1923 edition, a study book of the United Lutheran Church, p. 36).” Because it was requisite to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the Church did for that purpose appoint the Lord’s day” (Augsburg Confession, part 2, ar.7, Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom {Scribners, 4th ed.}, vol 3, p. 69). “The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect; far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday” (The History of the Christian Religion and Church, p. 186).

The Methodists have stated: “It is true there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week” (Methodist Episcopal Theological Compend, by Amos Vinney, pp. 180-181).

Alexander Campbell, founder of Disciples of Christ, has had this to say about the Sabbath: “ ‘But,’ say some, ‘it was changed from the 7th to the first day.’ Where? When? And by whom? No man can tell. No; it was never changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again: for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the 7th to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio – I think his name is… Antichrist” (The Christian Baptist. Feb. 2, 1824, vol. 1, no. 7).

Many more protestant sources could be quoted, the matter should be concluded with a quote and offer of a reward from a Romish source:

“My brethren, look about you upon the various wrangling sects and denominations. Show me one that claims or possesses the power to make laws binding on the conscience.  There’s but one on the face of the earth – the Catholic Church that has the power to make laws binding upon the conscience, binding before God, binding under the pain of hell fire. Take, for instance, the day we celebrate Sunday. What right have the Protestant churches to observe that day? None whatsoever. You say it is to obey the commandment, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ But Sunday is not the Sabbath according to the Bible and the record of time.

“Everyone knows that Sunday is the first day of the week, while Saturday is the 7th day, and the Sabbath, the day consecrated as a day of rest. It is so recognized in all civilized nations. Can anyone furnish any proof from the Bible that Sunday is the day we are bound to keep.

It was the Catholic Church that changed the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, the first day of the week. And it not only compelled all to keep Sunday, but at the Council of Laodicea, A.D. 364 anathematized those who kept the Sabbath and urged all persons to labor on the 7th day under penalty of anathema.

“Which church does the whole civilized world obey?” (“and all the world wondered after the beast”) “Protestants call us (the Catholic Church) every horrible name they can think of – anti-Christ, the scarlet colored beast, Babylon, etc., and at the same time profess great reverence for the Bible, and yet by their solemn act of keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the power of the Catholic Church.

“The Bible says: ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ But the Catholic Church says, ‘No, keep the first day of the week’ and the whole world bows in obedience.”

It was only 33 years after the first Sunday, “blue law” by Constantine that Bishop Liberius ordered the observance of Christmas on December 25 in A. D. 354.

We are commanded to “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” That command is in force today!

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