Skip to comments.Did the early Church move the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? (Ecumenical)
Posted on 05/12/2013 5:55:26 PM PDT by narses
Until recently, I always thought Catholics worshiped on the Sabbath, and that the early Church moved the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Is this true? Answer
This is a common misunderstanding. Catholics do not worship on the Sabbath, which according to Jewish law is the last day of the week (Saturday), when God rested from all the work he had done in creation (Gen. 2:2-3). Catholics worship on the Lords Day, the first day of the week (Sunday, the eighth day); the day when God said "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3); the day when Christ rose from the dead; the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles (Day of Pentecost). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "The Church celebrates the day of Christs Resurrection on the eighth day, Sunday, which is rightly called the Lords Day" (CCC 2191).
The early Church did not move the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Instead "The Sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday, which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ" (CCC 2190). Sunday is the day Catholics are bound to keep, not Saturday.
We see evidence of this in Scripture:
On the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread, Paul spoke to them because he was going to leave on the next day, and he kept on speaking until midnight (Acts 20:7). On the first day of the week each of you should set aside and save whatever one can afford, so that collections will not be going on when I come (1 Cor. 16:2). Let no one, then, pass judgment on you in matters of food and drink or with regard to a festival or new moon or Sabbath (Col. 2:16). The Catechism also says:
By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christs Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lords Day or Sunday. The day of Christs Resurrection is both the first day of the week, the memorial of the first day of creation, and the "eighth day," on which Christ after his "rest" on the great Sabbath inaugurates the "day that the Lord has made," the "day that knows no evening." (CCC 1166)
Other CCC references to the Lords Day: 349, 2174, 2175, 2191
Answered by: Peggy Frye
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Some religious organizations (Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-Day Baptists, and certain others) claim that Christians must not worship on Sunday but on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. They claim that, at some unnamed time after the apostolic age, the Church “changed” the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday.
However, passages of Scripture such as Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Colossians 2:16-17, and Revelation 1:10 indicate that, even during New Testament times, the Sabbath is no longer binding and that Christians are to worship on the Lords day, Sunday, instead.
The early Church Fathers compared the observance of the Sabbath to the observance of the rite of circumcision, and from that they demonstrated that if the apostles abolished circumcision (Gal. 5:1-6), so also the observance of the Sabbath must have been abolished. The following quotations show that the first Christians understood this principle and gathered for worship on Sunday.
“But every Lords day . . . gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned” (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).
The Letter of Barnabas
“We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead” (Letter of Barnabas 15:68 [A.D. 74]).
Ignatius of Antioch
“[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e. Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lords day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death” (Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110]).
“[W]e too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined [on] younamely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your heart. . . . [H]ow is it, Trypho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm usI speak of fleshly circumcision and Sabbaths and feasts? . . . God enjoined you to keep the Sabbath, and imposed on you other precepts for a sign, as I have already said, on account of your unrighteousness and that of your fathers . . .” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 18, 21 [A.D. 155]).
“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead” (First Apology 67 [A.D. 155]).
“[L]et him who contends that the Sabbath is still to be observed as a balm of salvation, and circumcision on the eighth day . . . teach us that, for the time past, righteous men kept the Sabbath or practiced circumcision, and were thus rendered friends of God. For if circumcision purges a man, since God made Adam uncircumcised, why did he not circumcise him, even after his sinning, if circumcision purges? . . . Therefore, since God originated Adam uncircumcised and unobservant of the Sabbath, consequently his offspring also, Abel, offering him sacrifices, uncircumcised and unobservant of the Sabbath, was by him [God] commended [Gen. 4:17, Heb. 11:4]. . . . Noah also, uncircumcisedyes, and unobservant of the SabbathGod freed from the deluge. For Enoch too, most righteous man, uncircumcised and unobservant of the Sabbath, he translated from this world, who did not first taste death in order that, being a candidate for eternal life, he might show us that we also may, without the burden of the law of Moses, please God” (An Answer to the Jews 2 [A.D. 203]).
“The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the holy scriptures, and the oblation [sacrifice of the Mass], because on the first day of the week [i.e., Sunday] our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven” (Didascalia 2 [A.D. 225]).
“Hence it is not possible that the [day of] rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh [day] of our God. On the contrary, it is our Savior who, after the pattern of his own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of his death, and hence also of his resurrection” (Commentary on John 2:28 [A.D. 229]).
“The sixth day [Friday] is called parasceve, that is to say, the preparation of the kingdom. . . . On this day also, on account of the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, we make either a station to God or a fast. On the seventh day he rested from all his works, and blessed it, and sanctified it. On the former day we are accustomed to fast rigorously, that on the Lords day we may go forth to our bread with giving of thanks. And let the parasceve become a rigorous fast, lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews . . . which Sabbath he [Christ] in his body abolished” (The Creation of the World [A.D. 300]).
Eusebius of Caesarea
“They [the early saints of the Old Testament] did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we [Christians]. They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we. They did not avoid certain kinds of food, neither did they regard the other distinctions which Moses first delivered to their posterity to be observed as symbols; nor do Christians of the present day do such things” (Church History 1:4:8 [A.D. 312]).
“[T]he day of his [Christs] light . . . was the day of his resurrection from the dead, which they say, as being the one and only truly holy day and the Lords day, is better than any number of days as we ordinarily understand them, and better than the days set apart by the Mosaic law for feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, which the apostle [Paul] teaches are the shadow of days and not days in reality” (Proof of the Gospel 4:16:186 [A.D. 319]).
“The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lords day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lords day as being the memorial of the new creation” (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
“Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans or into Judaism, for Jesus Christ has henceforth ransomed you. Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean” (Catechetical Lectures 4:37 [A.D. 350]).
Council of Laodicea
“Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lords day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians” (Canon 29 [A.D. 360]).
“[W]hen he [God] said, You shall not kill . . . he did not add, because murder is a wicked thing. The reason was that conscience had taught this beforehand, and he speaks thus, as to those who know and understand the point. Wherefore when he speaks to us of another commandment, not known to us by the dictate of conscience, he not only prohibits, but adds the reason. When, for instance, he gave commandment concerning the Sabbath On the seventh day you shall do no workhe subjoined also the reason for this cessation. What was this? Because on the seventh day God rested from all his works which he had begun to make [Ex. 20:10-11]. . . . For what purpose then, I ask, did he add a reason respecting the Sabbath, but did no such thing in regard to murder? Because this commandment was not one of the leading ones. It was not one of those which were accurately defined of our conscience, but a kind of partial and temporary one, and for this reason it was abolished afterward. But those which are necessary and uphold our life are the following: You shall not kill. . . . You shall not commit adultery. . . . You shall not steal. On this account he adds no reason in this case, nor enters into any instruction on the matter, but is content with the bare prohibition” (Homilies on the Statutes 12:9 [A.D. 387]).
“You have put on Christ, you have become a member of the Lord and been enrolled in the heavenly city, and you still grovel in the law [of Moses]? How is it possible for you to obtain the kingdom? Listen to Pauls words, that the observance of the law overthrows the gospel, and learn, if you will, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and shun this pitfall. Why do you keep the Sabbath and fast with the Jews?” (Homilies on Galatians 2:17 [A.D. 395]).
“The rite of circumcision was venerable in the Jews account, forasmuch as the law itself gave way thereto, and the Sabbath was less esteemed than circumcision. For that circumcision might be performed, the Sabbath was broken; but that the Sabbath might be kept, circumcision was never broken; and mark, I pray, the dispensation of God. This is found to be even more solemn than the Sabbath, as not being omitted at certain times. When then it is done away, much more is the Sabbath” (Homilies on Philippians 10 [A.D. 402]).
The Apostolic Constitutions
“And on the day of our Lords resurrection, which is the Lords day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent him to us, and condescended to let him suffer, and raised him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day . . . in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food” (Apostolic Constitutions 2:7:60 [A.D. 400]).
“Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these ten commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian. . . . Which of these commandments would anyone say that the Christian ought not to keep? It is possible to contend that it is not the law which was written on those two tables that the apostle [Paul] describes as the letter that kills [2 Cor. 3:6], but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished” (The Spirit and the Letter 24 [A.D. 412]).
Pope Gregory I
“It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these [men] but preachers of Antichrist, who when he comes will cause the Sabbath day as well as the Lords day to be kept free from all work. For because he [the Antichrist] pretends to die and rise again, he wishes the Lords day to be held in reverence; and because he compels the people to Judaize that he may bring back the outward rite of the law, and subject the perfidy of the Jews to himself, he wishes the Sabbath to be observed. For this which is said by the prophet, You shall bring in no burden through your gates on the Sabbath day [Jer. 17:24] could be held to as long as it was lawful for the law to be observed according to the letter. But after that the grace of almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, has appeared, the commandments of the law which were spoken figuratively cannot be kept according to the letter. For if anyone says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered. He must say too that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained. But let him hear the apostle Paul saying in opposition to him: If you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing [Gal. 5:2]” (Letters 13:1 [A.D. 597]).
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There were festivals, new moons and extra Sabbaths (Not THE Sabbath) which cropped up from time to time which commemorated different events and people. Any Jew at that time would not believe how this verse is being mis-interpreted now though. It certainly is shallow reasoning that would usurp (in stone no less) Remember (like people might forget) the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
How do we possibly know which day of the week it actually is after 1000’s of years?
And here I thought it was God that wrote the Ten Commandments and not manmade organizations.
This Feast was called Passover from the Jewish name; for Christ by his Passion and Resurrection translated us from the curse of Adam and the bondage of Satan to the ancient liberty and bliss. As for the day of the week, which is called in Hebrew, the first day, being dedicated to our Lord for his glorification and magnification, is called in Greek Kyriake, or the Lord's Day. The Disciples transferred to it the dignity of the sabbath after the law of the Old Testament, and prescribed that it be a holiday and a day of rest.
We do know, because the Apostles, all Jews, would attend the synagogue on the Sabbath, and then they would celebrate The Lord’s Day on Sunday in little house churches since Christ has risen from the dead on a Sunday.
You look on the calendar. We have calendars that go back to the time of Moses. This is really a weak argument. If there was an error, Jesus would have corrected it in His life here. You can follow Catholic tradition or follow the life of Christ who kept the Sabbath. Your choice.
“The Lords Day “ is identified as what? Mark 2:28 gives a clue.
The religion had to have distinctions.
The Old Testament is the Law, the New Testament is Grace.
So God changed His mind? That thing He wrote in stone? The one that said REMEMBER, we should now just forget? Why didn’t God get it right the first time? And what’s this with Jesus kept the Sabbath and He is our example but we should just follow what the RCC says instead?
Recall the ceremony with which God made known His Law, containing the blessing of the seventh-day Sabbath, by which all humanity is to be judged. Contrast this with the unannounced, unnoticed anticlimax with which the church gradually adopted Sunday at the command of Christian emperors and Roman bishops. And these freely admit that they made the change from Sabbath to Sunday.
In the Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, we read:
Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (AD 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday .
Q. Why did the Catholic Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday, because Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles on a Sunday.
Q. By what authority did the Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her! Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R., (1946), p. 50.
In Catholic Christian Instructed,
Q. Has the [Catholic] church power to make any alterations in the commandments of God?
A. ...Instead of the seventh day, and other festivals appointed by the old law, the church has prescribed the Sundays and holy days to be set apart for Gods worship; and these we are now obliged to keep in consequence of Gods commandment, instead of the ancient Sabbath. Rt. Rev. Dr. Challoner, p. 211.
In An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine,
Q. How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
A. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
Q. How prove you that?
A. Because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the churchs power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin; and by not keeping the rest [of the feasts] by her commanded, they again deny, in fact, the same power. Rev. Henry Tuberville, D.D. (R.C.), (1833), page 58.
In A Doctrinal Catechism,
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her. She could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority. Rev. Stephen Keenan, (1851), p. 174.
In the Catechism of the Council of Trent,
The Church of God has thought it well to transfer the celebration and observance of the Sabbath to Sunday! p 402, second revised edition (English), 1937. (First published in 1566)
In the Augsburg Confession,
They [the Catholics] allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lords day, contrary to the decalogue, as it appears; neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, they say, is the power and authority of the church, since it dispensed with one of the ten commandments. Art. 28.
God warned that a blasphemous power would seek to change times and laws, and the Catholic Church openly admits doing it, even boasts about it. In a sermon at the Council of Trent in 1562, the Archbishop of Reggia, Caspar del Fossa, claimed that the Catholic Churchs whole authority is based upon the fact that they changed the Sabbath to Sunday. Does this not fulfill the prophecies of Daniel and Paul?
For centuries millions of Christians have gathered to worship God on the first day of the week. Graciously He has accepted this worship. He has poured out His blessings upon Christian people as they have sought to serve Him. However, as one searches the Scriptures, he is forced to recognize that Sunday is not a day of Gods appointment It has no foundation in Scripture, but has arisen entirely as a result of custom, says Frank H. Yost, Ph.D. in The Early Christian Sabbath.
Let us ask the question again: Was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day of the week to the first? The Bible is clear: And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy (Genesis 2:3). Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Exodus 20:11). If God intended for another day to become the Sabbath, He must have removed the blessing from the seventh day and placed it on the day which was to replace it. But when God bestows a blessing, it is forever. You, O Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever (1 Chronicles 17:27). I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot change it (Numbers 23:20). Your birthday, a memorial of your birth, cant be changed, though you may celebrate it on a different day. Neither can the Sabbath, a memorial of creation (Exodus 20:11), be changed, though some may celebrate it on a different day.
God instructed Moses to construct the earthly sanctuary, all its furniture, and the ark according to the pattern he was shown. (Exodus 25:9, 40) The ark was called the ark of the covenant (Numbers 10:33, Deuteronomy 10:8, Hebrews 9:4), and the ark of the testimony (Exodus 25:22), because in it Moses placed the tablets of stone on which God wrote His Law. (Exodus 25:16, 31:18) John, in Revelation 11:19, describes the scene before him when the temple of God was opened in Heaven. John saw the ark of the covenant in the heavenly sanctuary. David wrote, Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (Psalm 119:89). It is safe to assume that Gods Law remains, contained within the ark of the covenant in the heavenly sanctuary.
When God says, The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God (Exodus 20:10), that ends all controversy. We cannot change Gods Word for our own convenience. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15)."
The old Testament is the Law, the New Testament Grace......
talk to Jesus about that He was pretty clear.......do you understand Grace?
Think NOT that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am come not to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whomsoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven; but whomsoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of God.
No. He sent His Son.
Most believers worship on “The Lord’s Day” or “Resurrection Day,” not the Seventh Day of the week as was in the beginning, which is the day non-completed Jews still worship.
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