Thursday, October 08, 2009

Must a Sabbath be held on Sunday?

This follows on from the last post which was about the Sabbath and Saturday. So you may wish to read that first.

When the church was restored in 1830 it was common practice to hold a Sabbath day on Sunday. Shops closed on Sunday and there was no work available. Consequently it was obvious that Sunday was the perfect day for holding Sabbath meetings and practicing the Sabbath commandment.

Yet some hold that God is insistent on the Sabbath being practiced on this particular day of the week. ie that we couldn't hold it on some other day if we were in a Moslem country (for example).

Let's look at some of the scripture quotes they use to support this idea.

"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre." & "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace to you." & "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood among them, and said, Peace be to you." Jn 20:1&19&26

Here it is proposed that the apostles began to worship on the first day of the week (Sunday) because Christ was resurrected on that day in acceptance of a new sabbath. It appears to be true that Christ was resurrected on a Sunday. But to say that was to show respect to the day would need to be shown in Scripture, not just proposed. It says the apostles were gathered together on Sunday but doesn't present that this was necessarily a religious service (and considering they weren't even aware of his resurrection at this point they couldn't be honouring Sunday because of it). Then it says EIGHT days later they were together again. Some use the twist of concepts used in regard the 3 days and 3 nights Christ was in the earth to say they must have been counting the day they were in and the day they had been in. However this not only has no evidence, but, as I have shown before, is incorrect. As surely as Christ spent 3 days and 3 NIGHTS in the tomb so these occurrences are 8 days apart. So this would make Monday the new day of worship (if we were to believe such).

"And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart the next day; and continued his speech until midnight." Act 20:7

Clearly here they are together on a Sunday having a service of some sort. But does this mean they hadn't just observed the Jewish Sabbath and Paul done his usual of debating with them out of the Scriputes on Saturday? The next text poses some extra questions in this regard and so I will quote this and discuss them together.

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, you do the same. On the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." I Cor 16:1-2

What "gatherings" are referred to here? Obviously he's not saying not to have any church gatherings when he comes. So he is speaking of gathering the collections of whatever for the saints (church members) of things that he doesn't want collected when he gets there. The collections are obviously involved. Could I propose collecting food, clothing, furniture etc would be the things he wouldn't want people involved in when he arrived to preach to them. Is this work the sort of thing for people to be involved in on a Sabbath? I'll leave you to answer that one, but plainly there was a tendency for them to see the first day of the week as a day to attend to things not done while at synagogues preaching on Saturday. But neither of these demonstrate that God insists on Sunday as a new Sabbath. Surely if this were a new day or commandment he would have made it clear?

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet" Revelation 1:10

Yep, that's right, this was also used by those claiming Saturday is the day God insists on. The Sunday supporters claim this to be a new day Christ was instituting called "the Lord's day" to replace the Sabbath day. This text doesn't say what day this "Lord's day" even is. So the argument has no foundation.

The final argument against Saturday worth mentioning (as stated before statements of darkness being evil etc as a claim for SUNday worship will be ignored as nonsense for the ignorant) is to point out that the Sabbath command is not repeated in the New Testament.

Yet this wouldn't support the idea that Sunday is some new day, even if we were to accept it had some significant message. There is no statement that categorically declares that no one should now live a Sabbath day or that it can't be practiced on a Saturday, if you wish to, and must be practiced on Sunday.

As Sunday is a day that some still close their businesses on it is only logical to continue observing the Sabbath on Sunday. But to make it a commandment that we must make it a Sunday isn't supported in Scripture, in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

The General Authorities tell us to observe a Sunday as the sabbath. Isn't that all that should count?

Doug Towers said...

The Apostle B. H. Roberts shared his opinion that it wouldn't matter if we observed it on a Thursday; as long as we have one.

However this was just an opinion that was in the "Sabbath Day" tract that we gave to investigators to read, when I was on my mission. I believe they have removed that part now.

The General Authorities would be expecting some realisation of the fact that Sunday is observed as a Sabbath in the US and many other countries. Therefore that would be the day to encourage members to observe. But making the day its observed on an issue, to make it a law of God, is taking that instruction beyond what they are saying.