According To The Scripture, Is The Practice Of What Is Called The Lord’s Day Equal To The Commandment To Practice The Sabbath?

According To The Scripture, Is The Practice Of What Is Called The Lord’s Day Equal To The Commandment To Practice The Sabbath?

The author offers numerous Scriptural points of reasoning for the consideration of anyone who is seeking the truth as to whether the scripturally commanded Seventh Day Sabbath has rightly been replaced by the practice of Sunday worship. Further, he submits his determination as to what the Apostle John meant by the use of the term, “The Lord’s Day”.

According To The Scripture, Is The Practice Of What Is Called The Lord’s Day Equal To The Commandment To Practice The Sabbath?

The question, and therefore the argument as to whether the Christian Church’s practice of calling Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and therefore treating it (Sunday) as if it were a replacement for the Sabbath Day, or an equal to the Sabbath Day, has been in my mind since I was a youth. My mother, having come to the faith of Yeshua (Who we then referred to as Jesus—Yeshua being the Hebrew name of the Messiah) when I was an infant later brought her children into the influence of various Christian ministries which each played a part in the Holy Spirit’s drawing me to the salvation of Christ. These various influences all taught and practiced that Sunday was/is the “Christian day of worship”, and equal, or even superior to the scripturally commanded Sabbath. This platform of their belief system, which is still extremely commonly believed and practiced among Christians was/is chiefly built upon the assumption that a certain comment that the Apostle John made. This comment can be found in Revelation 1:10. (KJV), and I quote. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day...” Again, this comment is assumed to have meant by John to communicate that he (John) was in the Spirit on the first day of the week. The day which we commonly call Sunday. I was ever taught that this is believed because Christ our Lord was resurrected from the grave on the first day. Therefore, (According to the thought process of much of what is called Christian) in celebration of that supposed truth, the Apostle John would have referred to the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day. Because of this same thought process Believers of relatively modern generations have used Sunday pretty much as if it were an equal to the Sabbath, however in recent decades, according to my observation, most Christians use Sunday as a catch all day. (A day off from work where even if they do attend religious services, they then involve themselves in many activities that are not in compliance with the purpose or the commandment of the Sabbath. Exodus 20: 8-11)

Two Questions That an Honest and Open Heart Must Consider

Is the practice of celebrating the first day as an equal to the Sabbath Scripturally right?

Did/does the Apostle John’s use of the term “The Lord’s Day” have anything to do with the First Day? Is there Scriptural proof for this?

angelPros and Cons Concerning The Argument That Suggests That The First Day Is An Equal To The Torah Commanded Sabbath.

Evidence From The Life and Ministry Of Yeshua

Possible Pro: I find none

  • Probable Con—First of all Yeshua our Lord was not resurrected on the first day of the week as has been incorrectly taught to the very great part of all that is called Christian. This is an obvious reality when one understands the Festivals of Yehovah, for it is supposed by the great majority of Christians that Yeshua was crucified just before the Seventh Day Sabbath, and raised on a Sunday morning. However, He was crucified just before the high Sabbath of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and having been in the grave for three days and three nights, as was foretold by Christ Himself, He was raised on the Seventh Day Sabbath before the day break of the first day morning. Therefore when the women came to the grave early on the first day morning (Sunday) they found the grave empty. (Mat. 28: 1-8)

Probable Con–Christ repeatedly met with people, taught, and performed His ministry on the Scriptural Sabbath. There is no special note of Him congregating regularly on any other day. (Mark 1:21, Luke 4:16, Luke 6:6, Luke 13:10)

Probable Con–Christ, in His teachings supported the celebration (Obedience to) the Scriptural Sabbath. (Matthew 24:20, Mark 2:27)

Probable Con–Christ said Himself that He did not come into the world to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it, (Flesh it out) and was He not doing this as an example to all that He called to follow Him, and is not obedience to the keeping of the Sabbath a basic element of the Law? (Matthew 5:17-19)

Probable Con—It cannot be found that Christ commanded, or prophesied, that the Sabbath would one day be annulled. In other words, changed from the seventh day of the week, to the first day of the week.

anamericanwatchmanEvidence From The Life Of John The Beloved

Possible Pro: I find none

Probable Con—The Apostles, including John, were raised under the Law, and had been Sabbath keepers all their lives, and certain women of their company had been eye witnesses to Yeshua being alive when He visited them in the pre-dawn, before the sunrise of the first day. Therefore, John would naturally seek to celebrate His triumph over death, which brought to him (As well as all who believe) the living hope of one day being resurrected from death. (Acts 4:2&33, Acts 23:6, 1 Corinthians 15:42, Revelation 20:5)

Probable Con—John, in his devotion to Yeshua would have understood that Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to flesh it out, and therefore, he would not institute any celebration as an equal to the Scripturally commanded Sabbath.

Probable Con—John, in his writings, even as an old man continually very strongly exhorted that obedience to the commandments of God goes hand in hand with the Christian faith, and in fact, is an expected proof (evidence) of the true faith. So would this man suggest the doing away with the practice of the Sabbath, which is not only repeatedly commanded throughout the Scripture, but is also one of the basic Ten Commandments? (1 John 2:3-4, 1 John 3:4-5, 1 John 3: 22-24, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:4, 2 John 1:6, 2 John 1:9, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 14:12)

Probable Con—John was called “the disciple whom Yeshua loved”. Would this man who seemingly had the closest place to Christ institute an idea that was contrary to the very nature of who Christ is? Meaning that Christ is the Law made flesh. (John 13:13, John 19:26, John 1:14)

apostlesEvidence From The Life and Practice Of The Apostles and The Early Church

Possible Pro—That the writing of the Apostle Paul concluded that everyday belongs to God, and therefore, every day is holy. (Romans 14:5-6)

Possible Pro—That the writings of the Biblical book of Hebrews concluded that Christ has become for all Believers “the rest” of their spirit. (Hebrews 4:1-11)

Possible Pro—That the Apostle Paul encouraged that holy days (Which include the Seventh Day Sabbath) stood/stand as a picture of the true reality that is found in Christ our Lord. (Colossians 2:16-16)

Probable Con—The apostles failed in any writing to encourage that the Sabbath was annulled and replaced by the observance of Sunday as it’s equal. The apostles, particularly Paul, went to great lengths to establish various New Testament doctrines. (Which incidentally are all built upon the Law and the Prophets) Sense this is so, why didn’t any of them (The early apostles) ever bother to establish the teaching that the First Day was to be used as an equal to the Sabbath? Would not such an extreme change in their belief and practice be associated with a very great deal of teaching?

Probable Con—The early Church (Including the apostles) typically met on the Sabbath. (Acts 13:14, 13: 42-44, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4)

Probable Con–The early Believers, as well as the apostles did not believe that the faith of the Christian made the Law void, therefore, they would not have neglected the keeping of the Sabbath. (Luke 23:56, Romans 3:31)

Probable Con—The Apostle Paul in his writings forthrightly communicated that the commandments of the Law are illustrative of Christ and heavenly realities. Therefore, the greatest emphasis was on the work and person of Christ, and after that on the keeping of His commandments-that focusing on Christ and His commandments worked to flesh out the illustration of heavenly truths that the life of a Believer is meant to give testimony to. Frankly put, the practice of the Sabbath is reflective of Yehovah being the Creator of all things, and henceforth the Master, and beyond that it is also reflective of Yehovah (Especially in the person and work of Christ) being our Redeemer. The One who has provided freedom for us from the bondage of sin. Therefore, the Sabbath is a sign (Banner, if you will) that an obedient soul can by his practice of the Sabbath wave each seventh day to testify of these great truths. (Ephesians 5:32, Hebrews 8:4-5, Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 10:1, Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, Exodus 31: 13-18, Deuteronomy 5:12-1)

Probable Con—Although the Early Church realized that each day is a-like, holy to God, and that every day is to be used in worship to God, I do not perceive that they, (The early Church, and the apostles) in their practice, canceled the commandment of the Lord to keep the Sabbath. (Romans 3:31)

Probable Con—That although Christ is the Rest of our spirits, that truth does not negate the need for the day of rest commanded in the Law which serves to refresh the lives of men, and as a continuing natural sign that God is our Creator (Therefore Master) and Redeemer. For in the keeping of this commandment the obedience of the faithful soul serves as a banner for all the world to see, which communicates that Yehovah is both Creator of all things, and the Redeemer of all that believe. Paul recognized other holy days, and celebrated them. Why would he not much more celebrate this most basic of holy days? (Acts 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8)

Evidence From The Words of The Prophet Isaiah

Possible Pro: I find none

Probable Con–Isaiah speaking in the place of Yehovah Himself said, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day;….”.(Isaiah 58:13) In this verse it is obvious that Yehovah referred to the Sabbath as His day, more particularly as His Holy Day. I would say that it is entirely likely that the Apostle John, as well has others of the Early Church followed the example of the Prophet Isaiah, whose writings were of no doubt held in great honor among them, and thus referred to the Sabbath as the Lord’s Day.

Probable Con—The Prophet Isaiah speaking of a time when there would be a “new heaven, and new earth” made mention that the Sabbath would at that time still exist and be practiced. (Isaiah 65:17-25 & 66:1-24 especially 66:22-23)

10commandmentsEvidence From The Law Itself

Possible Pro: I find none

Probable Con—The Scripture itself says in Exodus 31:13, (KJV) “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.” It is unquestionably clear that the children of Israel (The Jews) have not ceased from existence, nor have those that the Apostle’s referred to as the spiritual children of Israel, IE the Church. (Romans 4:12-18, Galatians 3:7) Also it is clear in the Law that the Seventh Day Sabbath was commanded as a day of “sacred assemblies”. (Leviticus 23:1-3 NIV)

Evidence Before The Law Was Given

Possible Pro: I find none

Possible Con—That upon creating all things Yehovah Himself rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it, and blessed it. Consider in your own heart and mind. If you had lived in the time of Adam, the first man, and you sought to honor God with your life, and since it was passed down to you that Yehovah had sanctified the seventh day of the week, then would you not have sanctified that day also? Should not we, who bear His name and seek to honor Him in our lives sanctify and bless that which He sanctified and blessed? (Genesis 2:1-3)

jesusAs one who has found favor of the Lord to now abide 40 years in the Christian faith, and as one who was completely bought up in the understanding and practice that Sunday is to be held as an equal to the Sabbath, it is my opinion before God whom I serve, that when the Apostle John spoke of the “Lord’s Day”, that he was speaking in reference to the Seventh Day Sabbath. Further, that the truth abides which testifies that the New Testament Believer is not under the Law, but under grace. However, this is not be taken to mean that the Law has ceased to exist, for God Himself would have to cease to exist for the Law to go away. For Yehovah is Law. Christ is Law. The Eternal Father is Law. The Holy Spirit is Law. But rather, what is meant by the Believer being under grace, versus the Law, is that Christ now stands between the Believer and Law. He has fulfilled the righteous regulations of the Law, therefore when we abide in Him, we stand without guilt before God. However, our standing in Christ has never, and will never annul the Law, of which the Sabbath is an aspect, but rather our obedience to Yehovah’s commandments is our way fleshing out His laws and of proving our love for Him. Further, the Sabbath is a basic and continuing opportunity for the Believer to act out heavenly realities on a weekly basis. For in keeping the Seventh Day Sabbath as is commanded, the believing person testifies that Yehovah is Creator, and therefore Master of everything, and that He is the Redeemer of all men. (Particularly those that believe) Along with this, the practice of the Sabbath follows in the pattern of Christ’s life, of the Apostles, and the Early Church. Why would anyone with a right heart choose to walk contrary to their example?

I encourage therefore the consideration of these points of understanding, and that you the reader, answer these elements of understanding with an honest heart. If you will do this, the Holy One will certainly cause you to be found in His truth. Amen

An American Watchman,
Gregory A. DeHart

Law   Commandments of God   Creator   Sabbath   Apostles   Isaiah   Lord's Day   Paul   Saturday   Sunday   Yeshua