by Sam Garcia
We go to church on Sunday, but the Jews held Sabbath on the last day. Why?
Often, people will use verses on Jesus being resurrected on the first day, or that the observance of Sabbath and days must be fully convinced in his own mind, but a deeper study of those actually either is incomplete or misguided.
And that is not even to say that the Jews didn’t use the solar Gregorian calendar, but the Hebrew calendar which is based on the lunar cycle. Which means the last day of the week in the Hebrew calendar is not always Saturday but could be Wednesday then Thursday the next month. At least according to Google.
The Sabbath. Is it on Saturday or Sunday?
People miss the point. It isn’t about the Sabbath. Going to church isn’t the Sabbath. They are two totally different things.
Nowhere does the Bible say that Sunday or the first day of the week has replaced the Sabbath, but that doesn’t mean people are wrong in gathering to worship on the first day
But where does it say we are to meet in church for the Sabbath? Nowhere, either. The Sabbath is to be holy, yes, but people make a logical leap and assumption that means “go to church”.
In fact, the first day and last day are both important and holy in the Bible. They are both important today, as well. Those days are when schools are off, and many, if not most, jobs are off.
So before I lose you with this reasoning seemingly without a point, I will make this assertion so you know where I stand:
Saturday is still the Sabbath and a day of rest, however, Sunday is the day of assembly primarily for New Testament believers.
Notice I didn’t say worship. We must worship God every day.
Let me substantiate this claim Biblically.
What is the Sabbath?
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Where in these passages say that we are to gather together and worship on the Sabbath? Nowhere. To keep it holy, yes, but do not make the assumption and logic leap that “keeping it holy” is equal to “going to church”. It may mean that, but not necessarily.
What it does say is that the Sabbath is mainly for rest, and it is on the seventh day.
Schools and many jobs have Saturdays off. It is already considered a day of rest.
So the Sabbath is the last or seventh day of the week marked with rest. Saturday is the off day from school and work and is the last day. Saturday is the Sabbath.
But what about keeping holy, then, if it doesn’t mean go to church? Keeping it holy means keeping it apart as its own day. The word holy means “sanctified, or set apart”. The passages explain it, six days man shall labor, and on the seventh, man will rest, making it a special day apart. It doesn’t mean go to church.
Now, we have established that the Sabbath is the last day and is about rest. What about the first day?
Why do Christians worship on Sunday?
The First Days In The Bible
The first mention we have of the first day is in Genesis 1 like we do about the last day. God uses the Creation week as the reason why the last day is the Sabbath. Without getting too convoluted, I would surmise it is obvious why the first day is on the surface important in the Creation week, for it being the beginning. It is also important because Jesus rose again on the first day. But that is just the shallow end of reasoning if we want to prove why we assemble on the first day and hence why we will just pass over those reasons, no pun intended.
We know in Acts that the disciples gathered on the first day.
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.
Here we see clearly that the disciples came together on the first day.
Notice the phrase break bread. I believe this is referring to the communion (for obvious reasons). This will be important later on.
We also use this verse to justify all day meetings and also Sunday evening services, even if we don’t always go till midnight.
Now, where does it say the first day replaced the Sabbath? Nowhere. Where does it say that the disciples gathering together means Sabbath? Nowhere. Where does it say preaching only happens on the Sabbath? Nowhere.
Now certain people would do some mental gymnastics and claim that since in Jewish time, days began at sunset or nightfall or whatever, and thus it was technically the last day, not the first day.
Which makes no sense because if they considered the first day at that time, it was the first day and the day before the last day.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
1 Corinthians 16:2
Here we see a command to the church to lay in store on the first day of the week. We understand this to be tithes and offerings. Where do we see it commanded that we are to collect offerings on the Sabbath?
Even in the Old Testament do we even find the first day holy for worship in some contexts.
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
These passages show it isn’t out of the ordinary to hold services on the first day or any other day of the week, even if it went from first to last day. Notice, too, on the eighth day, which is the first day repeating again, a solemn assembly was held.
16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
This is in the context of the Passover. So why is it relevant to the debate?
Jesus told us to observe the communion as oft as we will:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 11:24-25
Remember breaking bread when the disciples were gathered together in Acts? They were observing the communion.
The communion is our equivalent Passover as Christ fulfilled the Passover. We have unleavened bread to remember Christ our Lord, hence we need to observe it on the first day as does the feast of Unleavened Bread, not the last day.
Notice it doesn’t say that the Passover observance on the first day replaces the Sabbath last day, doesn’t it?
Lastly, we are to assemble as much as we see the day approaching.
What does the Bible say about going to church every Sunday?
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Now whether one chooses to assemble Saturday or Sunday or any other day of the week, we should assemble. And there’s no Biblical law against assembling on Sunday. We should assemble more, in any day, not less. We have the liberty to.
So if the Passover was on the first day of the week, and the Passover is our communion, and on communion we gathered as the disciples did back then, and if on the first day we store our tithes and offerings, and if on the first day Paul preached and thus someone preaches, then all that happens in church on the first day, and thus that is why church is on Sunday.
We assemble with the church to worship God on Sunday not because it is the Sabbath not because it replaced the Sabbath but because the disciples did so, because it is commanded to store our tithes and offerings on the first day, because we are to observe communion as oft as we will, which is connected to the Passover, which happens in the first day of the week, because we are to assemble any time as the day comes hence we may observe BOTH the last day of rest of Saturday and first day of assembly of Sunday.
Two weekend days sound nice, don’t you think?