The Sabbath is listed as the first feast day of God יהוה. Lev 23:3 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places”. What is the Sabbath day? It is one of the Ten Commandments, yet is it taken seriously? The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, which is our Saturday; or is it Sunday? What is the Lord’s day? My intention is to never try to fully answer these questions. Obviously I have my opinions, but is up to you, the reader, to know for yourself the truth. Hopefully with some of the information provided, it will give you something to study and not blindly follow traditions of men. In Jesus’ prayer to the Father, He defines truth for us as “thy word is truth”.
Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Below is a question and answer section of the Catholic Catechism:
“356Q. Are the Sabbath and the Sunday the same? A. The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and is the day which was kept holy in the Old Law; the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the day which is kept in the New Law. “Old Law means the law God gave to the Jews, the New Law, the law that our Lord gave to the Christians.
357Q. Why does the Church command us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath? A. The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday He sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles. We keep Sunday instead of Saturday also to teach that the Old Law is not now binding on us, but that we must keep the New Law, which takes its place.”
What is this “New Law” spoken of here that has replaced the “Old Law”? Wait a minute; What??? The old law is not binding, but now there is a new law that takes its place? Where did this new law come from? Did it come from the Word of God, or did it come from tradition and Rome in the way of Roman canons? Below is Canon XXIX from the Synod of Laodicea 343 AD:
Canon XXIX.Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. Notes. Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIX.A Christian shall not stop work on the Sabbath, but on the Lord’s Day. Balsamon.Here the Fathers order that no one of the faithful shall stop work on the Sabbath as do the Jews, but that they should honour the Lord’s Day, on account of the Lord’s resurrection, and that on that day they should abstain from manual labour and go to church. But thus abstaining from work on Sunday they do not lay down as a necessity, but they add, “if they can.” For if through need or any other necessity any one worked on the Lord’s day this was not reckoned against him.
Did Rome have the authority to change the laws of God, יהוה? Here is what Jesus said about the law.
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Another later canon regarding the Sabbath:
Canon VIII of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, 787 AD:
Canon VIII.That Hebrews ought not to be received unless they have been converted in sincerity of heart. Since certain, erring in the superstitions of the Hebrews, have thought to mock at Christ our God, and feigning to be converted to the religion of Christ do deny him, and in private and secretly keep the Sabbath and observe other Jewish customs, we decree that such persons be not received to communion, nor to prayers, nor into the Church; but let them be openly Hebrews according to their religion, and let them not bring their children to baptism, nor purchase or possess a slave. But if any of them,out of a sincere heart and in faith,is converted and makes profession with his whole heart, setting at naught their customs and observances, and so that others may be convinced and converted, such an one is to be received and bap- tized, and his children likewise; and let them be taught to take care to hold aloof from the ordinances of the Hebrews. But if they will not do this, let them in no wise be received.
Is Sabbath keeping really just a “Jewish Custom”? Below we see Moses’ account of the event where יהוה God spoke face to face with all twelve tribes of Israel, and those who sojourned with them, not just the tribe of Judah, who are commonly referred to as Jews.
Deu 5:4 The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire,
Deu 5:5 while I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said:
Deu 5:6 “‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Deu 5:7 “‘You shall have no other gods before me.
Deu 5:8 “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Deu 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
Deu 5:10 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Deu 5:11 “‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Deu 5:12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.
Deu 5:13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
Deu 5:14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.
Deu 5:15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Deu 5:16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Deu 5:17 “‘You shall not murder.
Deu 5:18 “‘And you shall not commit adultery.
Deu 5:19 “‘And you shall not steal.
Deu 5:20 “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Deu 5:21 “‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’
Deu 5:22 “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.
Deu 5:23 And as soon as you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders.
Deu 5:24 And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.
Deu 5:25 Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die.
Deu 5:26 For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived?
Deu 5:27 Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say, and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’
Deu 5:28 “And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken.
Deu 5:29 Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!
We are talking about a very large group of people if we consider twelve tribes of Israel, those who sojourned with them, and all of their descendants. If all of these people would have a heart always, to fear and keep God’s commands, it will go well with their descendants forever.
The protesting Catholics, otherwise known as Protestants, seem to be in agreement with the Roman canons in the Westminster Confessions regarding the Sabbath:
“VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him:437 which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week,438 which, in Scripture, is called the Lord’s Day, 439 and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.440
VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,441 but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. 442”
Where do they get this from? Can we find where the Sabbath was changed to the Lord’s day in scripture? Would we not read somewhere in the Prophets that in the future God’s law would change? Again, why would God change something that was already perfect?
Mal 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Mal 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Mal 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’
A common scripture to justify the changing of the Sabbath to the first day of the week is found in Acts 20:7.
Act 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
Let’s look at this with the Strong’s numbers.
Act 20:7 And G1161 upon G1722 the G3588 first G3391 day of the G3588 week, G4521 when the G3588 disciples G3101 came together G4863 to break G2806 bread, G740 Paul G3972 preached G1256 unto them, G846 ready G3195 to depart G1826 on the G3588 morrow; G1887 and G5037 continued G3905 his speech G3056 until G3360 midnight. G3317
Notice the word “day” does not have a Strong’s number associated to it. It will be italizied in most Bibles to indicate the word has been added by the translators. That bit of information usually can be found in the Bible preface. G4863 is referencing the word “to” and G4521 is for the word “week”. Below is Thayer’s Greek lexicon’s definition of Strong’s G4521:
1) the seventh day of each week which was a sacred festival on which the Israelites were required to abstain from all work
1a) the institution of the sabbath, the law for keeping holy every seventh day of the week
1b) a single sabbath, sabbath day
2) seven days, a week
Part of Speech: noun neuter
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: of Hebrew origin H7676
The first definition is the Sabbath day and the second definition is “a week”. Let’s look at the related Hebrew word, Strong’s H7676:
1b) day of atonement
1c) sabbath year
1e) produce (in sabbath year)
Part of Speech: noun feminine or masculine
Week is the fifth choice in this list. Since the translators had to add the word “day” to make “week” work as the translation of Sabbath, it is possible one of the other definitions would work better. If we look at it in context we see this passage occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Act 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
Act 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
It could be translated “on the first Sabbath” where seven weeks are counted until the feast of Shavuot. In verse 20:6 they sailed away after the days of Unleavened Bread and arrived in five days. The first Sabbath in the counting of the weeks would be the day they are speaking of. See the following regarding the counting of the weeks.
Lev 23:15 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering.
Lev 23:16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD.
In Leviticus 23:15, it is talking about counting seven weeks starting after the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. That day would have been First Fruits. So the first Sabbath in the counting of the weeks would occur after they arrived in Troas in verse six. By the time the New Testament was translated to English, the Roman Canon establishing the “New Law” had been in place over 1000 years. It makes sense the translators would force a Roman mindset on the text instead of a Hebrew mindset. It is no fault of theirs and completely understandable. Yet it is highly likely Acts 20:7 was talking about the first Sabbath, not the first day of the week.
Of course this can be argued against, but it comes down to whether or not a person believes there is a “New Law” we are required to follow, and if the church or government of Rome had the power to change the day of the Sabbath. Also, even if the Apostles did meet on the first day, where is the command for us to change the Sabbath? Acts also shows the Apostles meeting every day house to house.
Act 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Act 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
Another verse in Revelation speaks of the Lord’s day. Yet there is no commandment given here either that the Sabbath has been changed to the Lord’s day.
Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.
“Lord’s” is Strong’s G2960, possessive form of the word the Greeks used to translate יהוה in the Greek version of the Old Testament around the third century BC. Is that what we use to establish changing the Law of the Sabbath? Could John be referring to the Day of the Lord here? If John’s vision happens on the Lord’s day, and that is referring to Sunday, does that mean we are not to honour the fourth commandment any more?
From G2962; belonging to the Lord (Jehovah or Jesus): – Lord’s.
Let’s look at some of the other canons from where Canon XXIX was given around 343 AD in Laodicea. “The Canons of the Synod Held in the City of Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana, in which Many Blessed Fathers from Divers Provinces of Asia Were Gathered Together”.
They who have sinned in divers particulars, if they have persevered in the prayer of confession and penance, and are wholly converted from their faults, shall be received again to communion, through the mercy and goodness of God, after a time of penance appointed to them, in proportion to the nature of their offence.
He who has been recently baptized ought not to be promoted to the sacerdotal order
The members of the Church are not allowed to meet in the cemeteries, nor attend the so-called martyries of any of the heretics, for prayer or service; but such as so do, if they be communicants, shall be excommunicated for a time; but if they repent and confess that they have sinned they shall be received.
No others shall sing in the Church, save only the canonical singers, who go up into the ambo and sing from a book.
It is not right for a deacon to sit in the presence of a presbyter, unless he be bidden by the presbyter to sit down. Likewise the deacons shall have worship of the subdeacons and all the [inferior] clergy.
No one of the priesthood, from presbyters to deacons, and so on in the ecclesiastical order to subdeacons, readers, singers, exorcists, door-keepers, or any of the class of the As- cetics, ought to enter a tavern.
A subdeacon must not give the Bread, nor bless the Cup.
Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.
The Canons go on and on. Many of these are adhered to today, one way or another, in the 40,000 plus denominations of the church. The following chart shows how the major denominations all descend from Rome, and why many still hold on to the Roman Canons. It is important to remember that catholic simply means universal, and there has been only one true “catholic” church. Many of the splits were caused by political divisions as well as doctrinal disagreements.
If we really are under a “New Law” as the Catholic Catechism states, it cannot be found in the bible. So what was wrong with the “Old Law” anyway?
Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
Psa 19:8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Psa 19:9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
Why would something that was perfect, right and pure have to be made better? Was the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments not good enough that it had to be changed in the 343 AD Council in Laodicea? By the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had made up their own laws by the means of the Jewish Talmud. This is what Jesus said to them regarding changing the laws of God, יהוה:
Mat 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
Mat 15:2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
Mat 15:3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Mat 15:4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
Mat 15:5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”
Mat 15:6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
Mat 15:7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
Mat 15:8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Mat 15:9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Here we see the Pharisees holding Jesus to a Talmudic Law. Washing hands before eating is not a law given to Moses in the Torah. Adding laws is in itself a violation of God’s commandments. This is what Jesus was talking about. A major misconception today is the Pharisees were keeping the law of God, and Jesus was scolding them for that. Jesus kept the entire Law of God perfectly, and knew it perfectly because he is the Word in flesh that originally gave it.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Word is Strong’s G3056, Logos. Here is the Thayer’s Greek lexicon definition of Logos. “The sayings of God”, “moral precepts given by God”, and “Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets” , are all appropriate definitions.
1) of speech
1a) a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea
1b) what someone has said
1b1) a word
1b2) the sayings of God
1b3) decree, mandate or order
1b4) of the moral precepts given by God
1b5) Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets
1b6) what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim
1c1) the act of speaking, speech
1c2) the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking
1c3) a kind or style of speaking
1c4) a continuous speaking discourse – instruction
1d) doctrine, teaching
1e) anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative
1f) matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law
1g) the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed
2) its use as respect to the MIND alone
2a) reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating
2b) account, i.e. regard, consideration
2c) account, i.e. reckoning, score
2d) account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment
2e) relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation
2e1) reason would
2f) reason, cause, ground
3) In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.
Psa 43:3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Psa 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This whole idea that the Word is God’s laws and precepts, as is Jesus, is a whole study in itself worth pursuing. There is much to gain by learning the biblical definitions of truth, light and the way. Once the truth sets you free, it is impossible to succumb to so called truth that is not truth at all, but sayings of men.
Joh 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
Joh 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Joh 8:33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
Joh 8:35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
Joh 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
Joh 8:38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
Joh 8:39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,
Joh 8:40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
Joh 8:41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”
Joh 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
Joh 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Joh 8:45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
Joh 8:46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
Joh 8:47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
The book of Jubilees, an extra biblical text, was found in the caves of Qumrân along side of the oldest known copies of Genesis. Presumed to be a work of Moses, it speaks of the Sabbath and its significance in the heavens.
And he finished all his work on the sixth day all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and in the seas and in the abysses, and in the light and in the darkness, and in everything. And he gave us a great sign, the Shabbath, that we should work six days, but guard the Shabbath on the seventh day from all work. And all the angels of the presence, and all the angels of sanctification, these two great classes he has bidden us to guard the Shabbath with him in heaven and on earth. And he said unto us: Behold, I will separate unto myself a people from among all the peoples, and these shall guard the Shabbath, and I will sanctify them unto myself as my people, and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Shabbath and do sanctify it unto myself, even so will I bless them, and they shall be my people and I will be their ELOHIYM. And I have chosen the seed of Ya`aqov from amongst all that I have seen, and have written him down as my firstborn son, and have sanctified him unto myself forever and ever; and I will teach them the Shabbath, that they may guard the Shabbath thereon from all work. And thus he created therein a sign in accordance with which they should guard the Shabbath with us on the seventh day, to eat and to drink, and to bless him who has created all things as he has blessed and sanctified unto himself a peculiar people above all peoples, and that they should guard the Shabbath together with us. YOVHELIYM (JUBILEES) 2:17-22 את CEPHER
Do יהוה God, Jesus the Messiah, and the rest of heaven now follow the Roman Canon stating we are to no longer rest on the Sabbath, but observe the Lord’s day, abstaining from work only if convenient? It is a question to consider. If the “New Law” replaces the “Old Law”, as The Catholic Catechism and The Westminster Confessions imply, what do we do with Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Did the Earth pass away? In Matthew 24, speaking of a time in the future, Jesus says the following, indicating the Sabbath is still being observed by the elect:
Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.