I have heard much debate over what day of the week God insists we observe as a Sabbath. This isn't a new debate but existed after the church had lost revelatory direction (ie no one was worthy of revelation from God any more). At least three concepts emerged during this time, and still are debated today. This subject may seem very confusing, so I hope the following will clear this up for you. Even though what I'm about to present is involved I will endeavour to make it simple at the time of conclusion. These three arguments are 1. That we must have a Sabbath day on Saturday. 2. That we must have a Sabbath day on Sunday. 3. That it doesn't matter what day you observe it on, as long as you have one.
This particular post will only be examining the concept of whether we should be holding our Sabbath days on Saturday. I will get to the rest in further posts.
Talk about people being sun worshippers because they worship on Sunday and other such superstitious nonsense will be avoided: Using such logic I would therefore have to conclude a person worshipping on Saturday to be a Saturn worshipper - as Saturday is named after Saturn. Also the claim that the sun is symbolic of the light of the gospel and so worshipping on Sunday brings us out of spiritual darkness is an argument to the ignorant. So I will be sticking to logical arguments from Scripture only.
Let's look at the Scriptures quoted by those trying to prove that you MUST worship on Saturday.
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:1-3
This is quoted to point out that God has had a Sabbath, and to propose that because the Jews honoured the Sabbath on Saturday at the time of Christ, it must have been a Saturday that God honoured at the creation. I will come back to examining this claim when the other scriptures have been presented.
"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Mark 16:1-2&9 "And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." & "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." Luke 23:54-56 "And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." Matthew 28:1
These are quoted to suggest that Christ rested on the Sabbath day, which at this time was a Saturday. However, firstly, Saturday was the day that they were holding their Sabbath. Therefore even if this was a demonstration of a Sabbath rest, it doesn't hold that he would not have rested on Thursday (for example) had the Jews observed that day. The rest of this interpretation could only be the case if there is no doubt that A. Christ stayed in the tomb, and actually did rest: B. That he only spent the Sabbath (one day) in the tomb: and C. That he stayed in the tomb to demonstrate a Sabbath rest. However all of these are questionable. A. I Peter 3:18-19 suggests that when put to death Christ's spirit went and preached to spirits. B. It is proposed that when Christ said he would spend three days in the earth that he must have meant Friday night, Saturday and the night, and the beginning of Sunday. But is this true? In Matthew 12:40 Christ said, "For as Jonas was three days and three NIGHTS in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three NIGHTS in the heart of the earth." This means all Thursday, all Friday and then all Saturday. Then to rise on Sunday morning. Confusion arises because the Scriptures talk of the body needing to be quickly buried because of the coming Sabbath. But the coming Sabbath spoken of wasn't the weekly Sabbath (in the law of Moses there were several Sabbaths, not just the weekly one). That year there was another Sabbath due on Thursday. So he was crucified on Wednesday and quickly buried to be "in the heart of the earth" for the three days and nights and arose Saturday night to be already risen when the women came to the tomb Sunday morning. C. Neither Christ, any of the apostles with him nor Paul (ie the New Testament) ever claimed Christ stayed in the tomb to demonstrate a Sabbath rest. Which they would have done had it been a point Christ wished to demonstrate.
Luke 4:16 states regarding Christ, "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read."
This is presented to show that Christ had a custom of going into synagogues on the Sabbath day (a Saturday at this time). Two points stand out regarding this. Firstly he spent 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-2) not going to the synagogue on a Saturday. Secondly he obviously would obey the Law of Moses and observe the Sabbath on the Saturday they were observing it on. This, again, doesn't prove that a Sabbath must be held on Saturday.
Revelation 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." Along with this is quoted Ephesians 3:9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
It is stated that the Lord made the Sabbath in the beginning (during creation). Then this Sabbath is associated with this quote of the Lord's day (saying it must be the same day). Then it is proposed that because Saturday was the Sabbath at the time of Christ and the Lord made the Sabbath originally, that this Lord's day is a Saturday. This is pure supposition however. I should briefly point out here that there isn't even any evidence that the original Sabbath was a Saturday (as this claims).
"For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day." Matthew 12:8
This is quoted to present the idea that Christ ("the Son of Man") is here accepting the Sabbath (Saturday) as important and his. However when we look at what he is talking about we find very differently. Verse 1 of this chapter has stated, "At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat." Christ then mentions to the Pharisees (who were accusing him of letting his apostles break the Sabbath) of people breaking the law where necessary, to justify his apostles breaking the Sabbath commandment. An example being verse 5, "Or haven't you read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" So in verse 8 he is stating his ability to ignore the Sabbath, as its Lord.
"But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates" Exo 20:10
No one denies the existence of the Sabbath commandment in the law. But this states nothing about this day being observed on a Saturday. Nor do any Old Testament books claim that Saturday was the day they observed, at the time Moses gave the law to them.
"But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day" Matt 24:20
This is used to present that the Sabbath was still observed after Christ (as this was presented regarding the future - particularly just before Christ's coming). It is then proposed that this Sabbath must be the Saturday then observed. We would have to ask, though, why would people be worried about fleeing on a Saturday (these days) when they aren't even observing a Sabbath on Saturday? There are more people observing other days as Sabbaths in Jerusalem today. Then there is the point that we still don't have a statement here that Saturday is the day this Sabbath would be on. On top of that we have no statement that Saturday is the day it has to be on. So it's still all speculation and unstated inference (ie no statement of Saturday at all).
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the LORD." Isaiah 66:22-23
This speaks in future tense and mentions the observance of Sabbaths. It should be noted, on the other hand though, that it also mentions new moons (an observance of the Law of Moses not practiced today). So it is questionable whether this pertains to a time after Christ (remembering this was written around 700 years before his birth). All that aside, we again have nothing about a Sabbath being on Saturday (the object of the claim).
"And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" Mark 2:27-28
What is Christ presenting here? He was answering those who were complaining because of him healing on the Sabbath. He has stated that the Sabbath was made to serve man, not man being made to serve the Sabbath. In other words people are more important than the Sabbath day. Should we then believe that this same Christ will send people to hell for holding their Sabbath on some specific day of the week?
"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Gen 2:23-24
With this it is stated that as God hasn't changed this law of marriage given just after the creation neither has he changed his Sabbath given at this time also. And therefore he wouldn't change the day. But we know that God has given different laws to different people depending on their readiness to observe them. Hebrews 3:16-4:2 tells us that the people that Moses lead out of Egypt had the gospel of Christ preached to them, but they rejected it. Thus God gave them what is termed "the Law of Moses". Sacrifices also became unnecessary with Christ having come and demonstrating their point. So God has changed laws given. And therefore why would I believe that something as simple as what day of a week something is done on, could not easily be changed - if we are to believe that was originally a Saturday anyway?
"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath." & "And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." Act 13:42&44
Here we have Paul and Barnabas attending a Jewish synagogue. But did they attend it to honour the Sabbath day on Saturday or did they attend to preach to the Jews there? Some may argue, "both". This isn't stated either way. But two things come to mind. Firstly Acts 21:24&26 has Paul going into the temple and purifying himself ready to do sacrifices. These things were no longer necessary observances. Yet Paul did them so that it could not be said that he had no respect for the law (verse 24). Attendance at a synagogue would say exactly the same. Secondly he not only preached to the Jews there, but the Gentiles showed interest also. Where could he find a better audience to preach to? So to claim that their purpose in going to the synagogue was to worship God on Saturday is a guess at best. Whatever we believe it would be purposeless to go on another day, because Saturday is the day that people would be there for a service.
"And Paul, as his manner was, went in to them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures." Acts 17:2
This isn't saying anything different, but just mentions that going into synagogues and reasoning with them was his "manner" (something he did). In fact it points more to the idea that he was there for that specific purpose rather than to honor Saturday.
In summary of this subject the only reasonably provable argument is that Christ was brought up going on Saturday and didn't say anything in objection to the day of the week he was observing. Yet this argument can only have possible merit if we are to believe that God now insists that we practice it on some other day of the week (such as Sunday) instead - thus making the particular day observed an issue.
This idea seems to be an example of where Christ warned to beware of the leaven (added ideas) of the Pharisees.
I'll come to the Sunday only concept next.