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.” By this they say that Protestants accept 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 law given by God on Mt. Sinai.

The Catholic Church by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. Note that well, it was the Catholic Church that changed the day of worship from Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday.

Question – Does the Catholic Church acknowledge that it has changed the Sabbath? The answer – it does.

The question –does the church (Catholic) have power to command feasts and holy days?

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 Bible enforces the religious observance of Saturday, a day which the Catholic Church never sanctified.

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 had until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Dan. 7:25).

When all of the New Testament verses 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 at Creation (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. However, we are not breaking the commandment if we do not work on 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 seventh 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 seventh day.

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 fruit. In I Cor. 16:3 it says others would need to go along to carry it. As it required work to gather and lay by at each house, it was a command to work on the first day, just as God did in the beginning.

Another verse 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 the 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 instructions 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 (Saturday night) 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 Hebrews 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 scriptures referring you to the margin. In the margin (KJV) you will find the “marginal reading” for “rest” is: “keeping of a 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; Deut. 4:19; II Kings 17:16). The Saviour observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). The Apostles (Acts 17:2) and their followers (Luke 23:56; 24:1) all kept the Sabbath.

As has been said before, 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 underling 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, at. 7, in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom    { Scribners,  4th ed.}, vol. 3, p. 69). It should be pointed out here that the “Lord’s Day” is not Sunday.  It is indeed a period of time after the tribulation and the heavenly signs called in scripture, “The Day of the Lord.”

“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” (Dr. Augustus Neander, 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 this to say about the Sabbath: “But, say some, it was changed from the seventh 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 day to the 1st day. If it be changed, it was that the august personage changed it who changes times and laws, ex officio – I think his name is Dr. anti-christ” (The Christian Baptist. Feb. 2, 1824, vol. 1, no 7).

Many more protestant sources could be quoted, but space does not allow for more. 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. Why do the Protestants obey the commandment, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ Sunday it 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 seventh day, and the Sabbath, the day consecrated as a day of rest. It is so recognized in all civilized nations. No one has ever been able to 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 people to labor on the seventh 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.” (Father T. Enright, Roman Catholic Priest, Kansas City, Mo.).

You may want to examine the day in which you observe your Creator. The Sabbath is the only sign given by God that identifies His followers. The cry “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” still rings true today.

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