Answering Your Questions Regarding The Lord's
Supplement to Lesson 20
- 1. The
Sabbath a Particular Day
- 2. No
Scriptural Authority for Sunday Observance
- 3. Paul
and the Sabbath
- 4. Ancient
Ceremonial Sabbath days
- 5. The
Timing of Christs Sacrifice
- 6. The
Jews and the Sabbath
- 7. The
Special Blessing of the Sabbath
- 8. The
Sabbath Survives Calendar Changes
- a. The Calendar
- b. The
- c. Catholic
- d. The
Languages of Man
- e. The
Scientific Records of Astronomers
idea cannot be supported in Scripture. Nowhere in the
Bible are Gods people given the option of deciding
which day to keep.
God blessed a particular day as a
memorial of an event which occurred on that day in
creation week. We cannot keep holy a day which God has
not made holy. We cannot receive blessing from a day
which God has not blessed.
The only place youll ever
find any significance attached to Sunday is in the
traditions of men.
Jesus asked, "Why do ye also
transgress the commandment of God by your
tradition?" "Thus have ye made the commandment
of God of none effect by your tradition." "In
vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men." Matthew 15:3, 6, 9.
Exodus chapter 16 records an
experience which God gave His people to determine
"whether they will walk in my law, or no."
(verse 4). For forty years the schedule of the fall of
the manna distinguished the Sabbath from all other days.
But some people tried to treat the
Sabbath just like any other day. And some tried to treat
other days like the Sabbath. Then the Lord said,
"How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my
laws?" (verse 28).
Certainly the obligation of the
fourth commandment cannot be fulfilled by worshipping on
a day contrary to that which the commandment specifies.
- Two trees in
the midst of the garden
- Grew in the
very same way.
- But it
mattered which tree Eve partook of,
- And the
difference is still felt today.
- It mattered
which type of an offering
- Was brought by
Abel and Cain.
- The Lord had
respect unto Abels,
Cains substitute wasnt the
- It mattered to
Nadab and Abihu
- Which fire
they offered with sin.
one fire as good as another?"
tragically reasoned within.
- David well
knew Gods instructions
- How the sacred
ark should be moved,
- But ignored
the crucial specifics
- As the death
of Uzzah proved.
- "Why must
I dip in the Jordan?"
- Naaman asked
in a huff.
the rivers of Damascus far better?"
- No, Naaman,
theyre not good enough.
- "And why
must I dip seven times?
- Wont dip
number one do the trick?"
- Had Naaman
ignored the specifics,
- Hed have
returned to his home still sick.
- When God gives
- For a task
that were to do,
- He intends for
us to perform it
- The way He has
asked us to.
- When He tells
us we are to do it
- In a certain
doesnt intend us to change it
- To suit what
others might say.
- He often
important to Him,
- That people
regard far too lightly
- And make
alterations at whim.
- Theres a
purpose for each of Gods precepts,
"why" we may never have heard.
- And we, though
we may not discern it,
- Are safe only
in following each word.
Certainly if Jesus had instituted a
new day of worship, the Bible would say something about
it! If Sunday was to be given special recognition, we
should be able to find some mention of it in Scripture.
The word "Sunday" is not
in the Bible. There it is called, "the first day of
the week." So lets examine all the New
Testament references to "the first day of the
week." There are only eight of them.
Matthew 28:1 -
This text simply says that it was on the first day of
the week that the two Marys went to the sepulchre. It
says nothing about Sunday sacredness. It shows that
Sabbath is the day that comes before Sunday.
Mark 16:2 -
This text is basically the same. No mention of Sunday
Mark 16:9 -
Here we are told that Jesus arose on the first day of
the week, but nothing is said about it becoming the
special day of worship.
Luke 24:1 -
Same basic information.
John 20:1 -
Here we read of Mary Magdalenes first visit to
the tomb "when it was yet dark." But
nothing is said about a change in the fourth
John 20:19 -
Later that same day as Jesus appeared to the
disciples. Why had they assembled together? The Bible
says that it was "for fear of the Jews."
Nothing is said about any special sacredness attached
to the day.
The Bible does not support
Sunday-keeping in honor of Christs resurrection.
The only Biblically recognized institution in honor of
the resurrection is baptism (See Romans 6). No other
memorial of that event is anywhere authorized in
Acts 20:7 - A
group of believers had come together "to break
bread," which, according to Acts 2:46, early
Christians did "daily". While they were
gathered, "Paul preached unto them, ready to
depart on the morrow." This is the only recorded
instance of a formal religious service ever held on
the first day of the week. No one would suggest that
the conducting of a single service on that day would
constitute sufficient support for the Sunday-keeping
argument. Especially since in Corinth alone there is
record of religious services being held "every
Sabbath" for "a year and six months"
A closer look at our passage in
Acts 20:7 reveals that even here nothing is said
about a Sunday morning meeting. It was on the first
day of the week, but it was during the dark part of
that day (Read the whole context). The Bible reckons
days from sunset to sunset, not from midnight to
midnight, as is done today (Genesis 1:5, 8, etc.).
This meeting was held on Saturday night!
According to the Biblical
account, the reason for the meeting was that Paul was
"ready to depart" the next morning. He
later told the Ephesians, "I know that ye all .
. . shall see my face no more" (verse 25).
Considering the occasion, we realize the weakness of
any attempt to use this passage as a case for the
abolition of Gods express commandment,
"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy
God." Exodus 20:10.
At dawn on Sunday morning Paul
set out on an 18-mile journey on foot to Assos,
obviously displaying no respect for the day.
1 Corinthians 16:2 -
This text says nothing about a religious service or
gathering of any kind. It certainly says nothing
about the veneration of Sunday as a holy day.
According to this text, the first day of the week is
the day to take care of personal financial matters.
At the beginning of each week the Christian is to
"lay by him in store" his contribution,
systematically planning his giving and setting it
aside. Figuring out ones offerings involves a
calculation of earnings. If God had transferred the
solemnity of the Sabbath to the first day of the
week, Paul would not have recommended such activity
to be done on that day.
You have just examined every
Biblical mention of the first day of the week! And, as
you can see, there is not even a hint of a change in
worship from Sabbath to Sunday. Such a change cannot be
found in the Scriptures. "I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE
NOT." Malachi 3:6.
Some have asserted that the apostle
Paul taught us to disregard Gods fourth
commandment. They cite two passages, Romans 14:5, 6, and
Colossians 2:16, 17, to support this assertion.
Before we look at those texts,
lets just think a minute. If Paul had advocated the
abandonment of the seventh-day Sabbath, we could expect
to find much intense discussion of it in the New
Testament. "No small dissension and
disputation" (Acts 15:2) was raised over the issue
of circumcision. Where is there any evidence of a
controversy over the Sabbath? There is none.
When given an opportunity to press
charges against Paul, the Jews could not even come up
with anything that they could prove against him! (Read
Acts 21:33, 34; Acts 24:5, 6, 12, 13; Acts 25:7, 18, 19,
25, 27.) If Paul had broken the Sabbath, a crime worthy
of death (Exodus 31:14, 15; 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36), the
Jews certainly would have capitalized on it.
Paul is the one, you remember, who
said that the law is the standard by which we will be
judged (Romans 2:12), that it is the doers of the law who
shall be justified (Romans 2:13), that to break the law
is to dishonor God (Romans 2:23), and that the law is
holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12). "Do we then make
void the law through faith?" he asks in Romans 3:31.
"God forbid: yea, we establish the law."
In Acts 21:24 James and the elders
in Jerusalem affirmed to Paul, "Thou thyself also
walkest orderly, and keepest the law." Pauls
own testimony supports this fact: "Neither against
the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet
against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all."
Acts 25:8. (See also Acts 25:10; Acts 26:22; Acts 28:17.)
What then is the meaning of the two
passages commonly cited?
Romans 14:5, 6
This passage mentions nothing
about the Sabbath. A careful reading of the context
reveals that the discussion has to do with eating
versus fasting. The fourth commandment says nothing
about eating or fasting. This is a totally different
Fasting was a common practice
in Bible times. Mark records that "The disciples
of John and of the Pharisees fast." Mark 2:18.
The Pharisee in Luke 18:12 fasted twice a week. An
ancient Jewish treatise on fasting, Megillath
Taanith, mentions Jews who at that time
regularly fasted on the second and fifth days of the
week, that is, Monday and Thursday. The Didache,
written later, warns Christians not to fast with the
hypocrites on the second and fifth days of the week,
but rather on the fourth and sixth days (Didache
Paul says, "One man
esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth
every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in
his own mind." Notice carefully verse 6.
"He that regardeth the day" would be
"he that eateth not." And "he that
regardeth not the day" would be "he that
Thus it is clear from the
context that Paul here was not addressing the issue
of the Sabbath at all.
Colossians 2:16, 17
This passage is presented
because of Pauls statement regarding holy days
and Sabbath days. The assertion has been made that
here Paul was saying that the fourth commandment is
no longer binding for Christians. A closer look,
however, reveals that in this text Paul makes no
reference to the seventh-day Sabbath.
In verse 17 he tells us very
plainly that he is talking about "sabbath days:
which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is
Christ." In other words, ones which typically
illustrated and pointed forward to Christs work
of saving man from sin.
Such "shadows" were
instituted only because of the problem of sin. The
seventh-day weekly Sabbath does not fit that
category. Having been instituted before man ever
sinned (compare Genesis 2 with Genesis 3), it has no
inherent connection to the salvation process. It
wasnt given as a shadow of a coming Saviour; it
was established as a memorial to the Creator whose
work had already taken place. Found in Gods
moral law, and being completely unrelated to
ceremonial shadows, the seventh-day weekly Sabbath
could not be what Paul was talking about.
What then did he have in mind?
Were there other "sabbath days" besides the
weekly Sabbath of the Lord? Yes, Leviticus chapter 23
mentions seven annual ceremonial sabbaths. Being tied
to particular dates, these sabbaths occurred on
different days of the week each year.
"A meat offering" and
"drink offerings" (Leviticus 23:13, 18, 37)
were to be presented in connection with these
convocations, thus explaining the phrase "in
meat, or in drink" in Colossians 3:16.
The word "sabbath"
means "rest." A sabbath is a day of rest
from ones work. Each of the annual sabbaths
listed in Leviticus 23 are accompanied by the words,
"Ye shall do no servile work therein"
except the Day of Atonement. This was the most solemn
and most significant of all the annual sabbaths. On
it they were commanded, "Ye shall do no manner
of work." Verse 31. "And whatsoever soul it
be that doeth any work in that same day, that same
soul will I destroy from among his people."
The first three ceremonial
sabbaths were shadows of events connected with
Christs ministry on earth. The last four
pointed to events connected with Christs
closing work in the sanctuary in heaven. (See lessons
14-16 for more information on Christs heavenly
To distinguish these yearly
sabbaths from the weekly Sabbath, the Lord told
Moses, "These are the feasts of the Lord, which
ye shall proclaim . . . beside the sabbaths of the
Lord." Leviticus 23:37, 38. That distinction was
still clear in Pauls day. When he specified
"sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to
come," there was no misunderstanding.
day of Feast of Unleavened Bread
day of the first month
5, 6, 7, 11
day of Feast of Unleavened Bread
day of the first month
day from morrow after 15th of the
15, 16, 21
day of the seventh month
day of the seventh month
day of the seventh month
34, 25, 39
day of Feast of Tabernacles
day of the seventh month
|Crucified as Lamb of God
||14th Day of the First
||The Preparation Day
||Ex. 12:5, 6
1 Cor. 5:7
|Rested in the Grave
||15th Day of First Month
||First Day of Feast of Unleavened
||Double Sabbath (High Day)
||Num. 28:17, 18
|Raised as the First Fruits
||16th Day of First Month
||Wave Sheaf Offering of First Fruits
||First Day of the Week
||Lev. 23:10, 11
1 Cor. 15:22, 23
Often Jesus came into conflict with
the Jewish authorities regarding the Sabbath. The issue
was not whether the Sabbath should be kept. Jesus said,
"I have kept my Fathers commandments."
John 15:10. The question was over what was
"lawful" (Matthew 12:12) to be done on the
Sabbath. The Jewish rabbis had burdened down the Sabbath
with hundreds of man-made regulations which God had never
authorized. The Sabbath, which had been made to be a
blessing, had become a drudgery. If Jesus had conformed
to those human traditions He would have been affirming
that human authorities have the right to define how to
obey Gods commandments.
Although Jesus example of
proper Sabbath-keeping stirred up the wrath of the
Pharisees, nowhere do we find Him breaking Gods law
or instructing His followers to do so. When a person
accepted Christs message, it could still be said of
that person, as of Ananias, that he was "a devout
man according to the law." Acts 22:12. The Christian
leaders reported to Paul, "Thou seest . . .how many
thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are
all zealous of the law." Acts 21:20.
The designation "Jewish
Sabbath" cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.
Nowhere is it called the "Sabbath of the Jews."
The Bible calls it "the Sabbath of the Lord."
God calls it "my holy day."
Notice the following:
1. The Sabbath was instituted
at Creation, 2000 years before there ever was a Jew.
2. The Sabbath was made for
"man." Mark 2:27.
3. Notice carefully in Isaiah
56:6,7 which Gentiles would be accepted by God in
their worship: "Also the sons of the stranger,
that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and
to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants,
every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it,
and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I
bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my
house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their
sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar."
According to this verse, only when Gentiles keep the
Sabbath and take hold of Gods covenant are they
able to enjoy the fullest experience of worship.
The Sabbath does not belong to any
particular race, but rather to God Himself and all who
connect themselves with Him.
Not only did God bless the Sabbath
itself (Exodus 20:11), but he has also promised a special
blessing to all who honor the Sabbath.
"Blessed is the
man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth
hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting
it, and keepeth his hand from doing evil. Neither let
the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to
the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly
separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch
say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord
unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose
the things that please me, and take hold of my
covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house
and within my walls a place and a name better than of
sons and of daughters: I will give them an
everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the
sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the
Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord,
to be his servants, every one that keepeth the
sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my
covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer."
Some people have wondered if the
seventh day of the week is now the same day that it was
when the Lord created the world. There is no question as
to which day the Sabbath was in New Testament times,
because the Creator Himself was on earth. His practice
confirmed the Sabbath which the Jews had been observing
all along as the true Lords Day. The part people
have wondered about is during the centuries that have
followed. How can we be sure that time has not been lost
since then? We will look at five lines of proof.
The calendar which was in use when
Jesus was on earth was the "Julian Calendar,"
named after Julius Caesar, who died 44 years before
Christ was born. Its primary drawback was that it
considered a year to be exactly 365 ľ days long. Time
revealed, however, that an actual solar year is eleven
minutes and fourteen seconds shorter than that. After
several centuries, the calendar would become out of step
with the seasons.
It was discovered that it was
necessary to add exceptions to the leap year plan which
had been used in the Julian Calendar. Instead of having a
leap year every fourth year, it was found necessary to
omit the leap year whenever the fourth year landed on the
beginning of a century, such as the year 1700, 1800, and
1900. The exception to that exception would occur
whenever the century year was divisible by 400, such as
the years 1600 and 2000.
Between 1582 and 1923 each of the
various nations of the world gradually adjusted its
calendar to bring it back into step. The Catholic nations
were the first to make the change. Pope Gregory XIII
authorized a change in October of 1582 which dropped ten
days from the calendar. By deleting October 5-14 from
that years calendar, the dates were caught up where
they should have been.
This change dealt only with the
dates of that month, and had absolutely no effect upon
the weekly cycle. The fifth day of the week, Thursday,
October 4, 1582 was followed by the sixth day of the
week, Friday, October 15, 1582. The weekly cycle was
In other nations,
the changeover was made later: English-speaking countries
in 1752, Japan in 1873, China in 1912, Turkey and Russia
in 1917, Serbia in 1919, and Greece in 1923. In each case
the number of the date of the month was adjusted, but the
days of the week were untouched. For example, in Britain
and her colonies, the fourth day of the week, Wednesday,
September 2, 1752, was followed by the fifth day of the
week, Thursday, September 14, 1752.
Because not all countries adopted
the change at the same time, the dates of the months
varied from country to country for over 300 years. But
one thing was the same through it allthe weekly
cycle. They each had their own calendar; yet when it was
Sabbath in Russia, it was Sabbath in Germany, England,
Italy, and all over the world. The Encyclopedia
Britannica calls it "the unalterable uniformity of
The Jews have been careful to keep
track of the true Sabbath. No change would slip past
The Catholic Church dates back to
the early centuries of the Christian era, and a change in
the days of the week could not have inadvertently taken
place without Catholics having something to say about it.
But as their records show, they have guarded the identity
of the first day of the week as faithfully as the Jews
have the seventh.
Here is a most fascinating evidence
of a long-held and deeply embedded recognition of the
seventh day throughout the world. In more than 100
languages the actual common name for the day we call
Saturday is "Sabbath." Here are just a few of
"We have had occasion to
investigate the results of the works of specialists in
chronology and we have never found one of them that has
ever had the slightest doubt about the continuity of the
weekly cycle.... There has been no change in our calendar
in past centuries that has affected in any way the cycle
of the week." Dr. A. James Robertson, Director,
American Ephemeris, Navy Department, U.S. Naval
Observatory, Washington, D.C.
"As far as I know, in the
various changes of the Calendar there has been no change
in the seven day rota of the week, which has come down
from very early times." Sir Frank W. Dyson,
Astronomer Royal, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London.
"It is a strange fact that
even today there is a great deal of confusion concerning
the question of so-called `lost time. Alterations
that have been made to the calendar in the past have left
the impression that time has actually been lost. In point
of fact, of course, these adjustments were made to bring
the calendar into closer agreement with the natural year.
Now, unfortunately, this supposed `lost time is
still being used to throw doubt upon the unbroken cycle
of the Seventh-day Sabbath that God inaugurated at the
Creation. I am glad that I can add the witness of my
scientific training to the irrevocable nature of the
"Having been time computer at
Greenwich for many years, I can testify . . . that all
our days are in Gods absolute
controlrelentlessly measured by the daily rotation
of the earth on its axis. This daily period of rotation
does not vary one-thousandth part of a second in
thousands of years . . . . Not a day has been lost since
Creation, and all the calendar changes notwithstanding,
there has been no break in the weekly cycle." Dr.
Frank Jeffries, Research Director of the Royal
Observatory, Greenwich, England.
"The continuity of the week .
. . is without a doubt the most ancient scientific
institution bequeathed to us by antiquity." Edouard
Baillaud, Director of the Paris Observatory.
Even if all records of time should
suddenly be lost, astronomers could rediscover the time
simply by calculating the positions of the stars which
God has set in place "for signs, and for seasons,
and for days, and years." Genesis 1:14.
Since God has asked us to keep the
Sabbath day holy, He has also made sure there would be no
confusion as to which day that is.
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