-THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH-
SATURDAY 
OR
SUNDAY?
 

The word Sabbath means 'rest from activity, to rest a day from labour'. The Sabbath was made for man, for his benefit, for the spiritual cleanlines and rest of his body, for the improvement of the mind for the sanctification of the heart, for prayer, reading God's word and worship. The Sabbath as a Holy Day is recognised as
1. the seventh day of the week (Saturday) as the day of rest and religious observance among the Jews and certain sects.
2. The first day of the week (Sunday), similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ.

This word was not used in the Book of Genesis where it is recorded God completed the creation of the world including the universe.The Sabbath was first used for observance of The Religious Laws of natural Israel for a period of 1500 years only. The Seventh Day Sabbath was the "seal of The Old Covenant" which is now done away with and The New Covenant is "a new and better Covenant". It was required of the nation Israel on every last day of the week, Saturday was to be kept apart as holy unto the Lord. When it says that God rested, the meaning is that He stopped creating but He never stopped working and Jesus said His Father is always working.

All the Old Testament types of rest directed to Christ and then to the Millennial rest and then Eternal rest. Noah whose name means 'comfort' and 'rest' found rest in the ark of God. Gen 6. Ruth found rest in the land of Bethlehem, Ruth 1:9. Israel found rest in the land of the promise Heb. 3:11,18. The Ark of the Covenant gave rest for Israel in their journeys, Num 10:12,33-36. The Temple of God was built by King Solomon a man of 'rest, wisdom and peace' and in a time of peace and the Ark eventually found rest, 2 Chronicles 6:41-42. The Sabbath day was a rest for Israel Ex 31:15.

All indicate to the rest in Christ who is the 'Rest Bringer and Rest Giver'. When Satan the originator sin, sickness, disease, death and his hosts, are cast into the bottomless pit and finally in the lake of fire, then there will be TRUE ETERNAL REST.

Until then, believers enjoy spiritual rest which alone is found in Christ, The Son of God. In Christ the believer finds true Sabbath rest because he ceases from his own works and rests in the finished work of Christ. It is not in keeping of a day but the receiving of a person that gives the Sabbath rest.

Jesus came into conflict with the religious leaders on the matter of the Sabbath. The Jewish teachers of the Law regarded the Sabbath as the 'end in itself', whereas Jesus taught The Sabbath was made for the benefit of humankind, and as such, human needs must take precedence over The Law. Jesus Himself, born under The Law worshipped The Sabbath on the seventh day as did all Jewish Christians but since the resurrection of their Lord, the first day became the most blessed day in their lives and they began to meet for worship on the first day of the week and designated it as The Lord's Day. Paul directed Christians in Greece to bring their weekly offering to the church on The First day of the week. As the split between Judaism and Christians widened, the Christians came to meet and worship only on The Lord's Day and gave up the observance of the Old Testament religious rite on seventh day as it was no longer part of the New Covenant.

This Saturday Sabbath was the sign that sealed the Mosaic Covenant, (like the sign at the time of Noah of the rainbow being a seal of the covenant between mankind and God, as long as the earth endures, regarding the flooding and seasons upon the earth). The covenant between the Nation Israel which was received by Moses, from God, at Mt. Sinai, until Jesus The Messiah, was known in the Bible as The Old Covenant.

The Old Covenant Laws were full of religious, moral and civil commandments for Israel to be obedient unto the Lord God, who delivered them out of Egypt. The weekly Sabbath, the day of rest was made for humans and animals.

The Religious Laws included sacrifices and certain festivals that had to be kept at three different occasions during the Nation's Religious year. These Feasts unto the Lord God, were a hint of things to come. (Leviticus Chapter 23) They were symbolic of what Christ would fulfil in Himself for His Body, The Church. This includes the last day of the week as the Sabbath Rest. Christians worship on the first day of the week because Jesus was resurrected and appeared to some of his disciples on the first day of the week, His continued appearances were also on the first day, the descent of The Holy Spirit took place on the first day, the earl church had a pattern of Sunday worship, the last vision given to the Apsoltle John by the risen Christ was on a Sunday (the Lordís Day), and scripture of Col 2:16,17 specifies that the Jewish Sabbath was not longer binding, and that all was fulfilled Christ.

Col 2:16  Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
 

The Religious Laws were fulfilled in Christ which He instituted as The New Covenant. Celebrating the Day of The Resurrection of Jesus, which was on the first day of the week, Sunday, puts Him as first priority afresh each week.

The Scriptures show how that all of these Festivals, are types of Christ, and how they relate to Sunday, the day of Jesus' Resurrection. There were important feasts and celebrations that were helpful for the understanding of the truth of Sunday worship in the New Covenant that Jesus established. They were already celebrated on a Sunday in the Old Covenant.

Both The Son of God and The Holy Spirit acted on The First day of the week, Sunday, Jesus' Resurrection and The Coming of The Gift of The Holy Spirit, The Seal. This ended The Old Covenant fulfilment of Mosaic law, to the seventh day Sabbath keeping, as a sign to be kept, for the Old Covenant had been replaced with The New, as prophesied through the Old Testament.The Number pertaining to Christ throughout the Bible is 8, sunday is also noted for being the eighth day as well as the first day.

1. Old Covenant-Sheaf Offering (Type of Christ) of The Firstfruits-16th Day of the month-CELEBRATED ON A SUNDAY, the first day of the week, the day after the Saturday Sabbath, which was the last day of the week. New Covenant-Jesus became the first of the firstfruits to rise from the dead (on a Sunday) with a resurrected body, a promise that was given to all Christians.

2. Old Covenant-Pentecost (Feast of wheat Harvest)-6th day of the month, CELEBRATED ON A SUNDAY the first day of the week, the day after the Saturday Sabbath, which was the last day of the week. Pentecost was a joyous occasion also known as Festival of Weeks, celebrating the wheat harvest. This was also a firstfruit offering. New Covenant-Pentecost, the Sunday The Holy Spirit was sent to Christ's disciples was made available to all believers from God the Father by Jesus, after His Ascension-Those filled with The Holy Spirit became part of the firstfruits, a gift given to God.
New Testament believers keep the Lord's day Sunday as a privilege and not as a legal obligation. It is held on the First day because the 'sheaf of the first fruits' took place on the day after the Jewish Sabbath, which marked Christ's resurrection which also took place on the day after the Jewish Sabbath. Lev 23:11, Luke 23;54, John 19:31, 1 Col 15:20-23.

Jesus the Firstfruit sheaf offered, rose on a Sunday, and appeared before His disciples on the Sunday of His resurrection, He broke bread with disciples the same Sunday, He appeared to them the following Sunday. The Seal of The New Covenant, The Holy Spirit came on a Sunday.

The Sabbath Rest of the New Covenant instituted by Christ is in the finished work of Christ, on The Cross. The seal of The New Covenant is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is given to all believers.

Every day is The Lord's Day in the New Covenant and is a clear breaking away from the last day of the week.
The early Christians, most whom were Jewish, kept Sunday, the day of Christ's Resurrection to worship. To a Christian and The Christian message of the death and bodily resurrection of Christ is an important day for celebration.
The fact of Christ's Resurrection separates the Christian world and the pagan world.
According to belief of Jesus' Resurrection decides where each will spend eternity.

The split between the doctrines of Judaism and Christianity widened as Christians met to remember Christ on a Sunday, which they called The Lord's Day because of His Resurrection, and the Jewish Christians used Saturday as a study day of the scriptures.

The Bible records the early Christians met on Sundays. The disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread and to hear the preaching of the Word. Acts 20:7. The believers gathered together and took their offerings on the first day of the week 1 Cor 16:2. The Lord's Day is the rest of Redemption, Gen 2:1-3. Mat 28:1-6.

Early believers who kept the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) were those who kept the mixture of Law and Grace and were cut off from the Christian Church as well as being despised by those who attended the Synagogue on a Saturday.

THE TWO COVENANTS, ONE OF LAW AND THE OTHER OF GRACE, CANOT BE MIXED
All Old Covenant holy days, sacrifices, offerings and celebrations show forth the spiritual fulfilment after The Cross for spiritual Israel (The Body of Christ).

The Sabbath day in the Old Testament Covenant was obligatory unto death (they would be put to death if it was not keep). In the New Testament there is no command to keep any special day. The Jewish Sabbath was never forced on any Gentile believers, Acts 15:24-29.
Barnabas, one of the Apostolic founders wrote in the first century, seventy years after the death of Christ, wrote, "we keep the Lord's day with joyfulness on the day which Jesus rose from the dead". The Didache of the Apostles, being part of the earliest Christian documents states "on the Lord's day, gather yourselves together". In the year 110 AD it is recorded that Christians met on the Lord's day. In 135 AD is written that Sunday is the day to hold common assembly because it is the first day on which God having brought a change and "Jesus Christ our Saviour rose on the same day from the dead and on the day called Sunday all who live in cities or in the country gather together in one place and hear the memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophetic word as long as time permits". In 155 A.D, 200, AD and 315, A.D all believers have noted that Christians recognise that Sunday is the Lord's Day; all of this prominently noted before the Roman Empire made it politically official in 321 A.D.

OLD TESTAMENT RELIGIOUS DAYS-The Nation of Israel during the Old Covenant came together to gather before The Lord in the First month, Third month and the Seventh month of their Religious Calendar.

FIRST MONTH
Passover -14th day of the month
Feast of Unleavened Bread-15 to 21st days of the month
Sheaf Offering of The Firstfruits-CELEBRATED ON A SUNDAY, the day first day of the week, the day after the Saturday Sabbath, which was the last day of the week.

THIRD MONTH
Pentecost (Feast of wheat Harvest)-6th day of the month-CELEBRATED ON A SUNDAY the first day of the week, the day after the Saturday Sabbath, which was the last day of the week. SEVENTH MONTH
Trumpet Festival-1st day of the month
Atonement Day-10th day of the month
Feast of Tabernacles(booths)-15 to 21st days of the month
 
  • Sunday is the first day of the week, and the day on which Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
  • The early church distinguished the day of special worship as a Christian institution, and differed from Old Testament Sabbath regulations. None of the Saturday Sabbath observances were stipulated to Christians, nor any other Old Testament commemorations, for they all found their fulfilment in Christ. (Acts 15:28,29. Col 2:16,17)
  • Some early Jewish Christians continued to observe both, the Saturday Sabbath for theology and for conversion of the Jews and Sunday, The Lord's Day, was the First Day of The Week for gathering and corporate worship. Sunday is to be held as a day of liberty. Neither day was regarded as necessary for salvation.
  • The New Testament teaches that the Sabbath is not to be observed as a legalistic ordinance, however it does teach how it is a symbol of Christianity on the Sunday rather than the Saturday.
  • Ceremonial observances give way to the higher spiritual motive of The New Covenant because of the effects of The Blood of Christ.
  • Sunday was replaced very early in the church as the day of rest and worship.
  • The important observances of The Old Covenant actually took place on a Sunday.
  • Jesus Christ set His people free from the oppression and condemnation of the temporary Old Covenant Law.
  • SCRIPTURES Romans 14:5,6, Galatians 4:10,11, Ephesians 2:8,9, Colossians 2:16,17, Hebrews 4:9,10. 
    QUESTIONS 1] Are Christians required to keep the Sabbath and other Holy Days of the Old Testament? 2] What does Scripture say about observing days? 3] What was the Saturday Sabbath a particular sign of?4] Why was the Saturday Sabbath a shadow of things to come? 5] Why do Christians worship on the first day of the week? 
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