Examine carefully with an open mind! THINK!

John Wood

...should Christians keep? Should it be the Sabbath or the first day of the week? This has been a subject of great controversy since the days of some early Christians (Rom. 14:5). To answer this question let us look into the events that took place in those days and see from the scriptures what day they kept (after the cross).

The Sabbath

When did early Christians keep this day? ? ? ? ? Not one scripture can be found in the Bible where Christians ever assembled on the Sabbath Day to worship God. However there are a few scriptures some have used in an attempt to teach that, such as: Mt. 24:20, Acts 13:14, 27, 42; 16:13; 18:4. But, a careful investigation of these verses will not show they assembled in any of those circumstances for the purpose of Christian worship.

The First Day

The scriptures indicate only one clear passage where Christians assembled on the first day of the week, and this is found in Acts 20:7. Though it is evident they assembled this day, because of Rom. 14:5, I do not think this is proof that God had established this day as the day of the week Christians MUST assemble.

A few other scriptures sometimes used to claim the first day as the established day for Christians to meet are: I Cor. 16:2 and Rev. 1:10. In the first case it says, "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income..." (1 Cor. 16:2). But nothing says this is to be done in the assembly. In the second case, "I was in the spirit on the Lord's Day..." (Rev. 1:10). This however, does not say the first day is the Lord's day. Therefore, neither scripture adequately declares the first day of the week as the day God gave for the assembly of Christians.

The Sabbath Is Not The Day For Christians To Assemble Because:

1. The seventh day sabbath ended at the cross (Col. 2:16, 17).
2. The Law (written in stone), ended with Christ (2 Cor. 3:7-14; Ex. 34:29-35; Rom. 7:4-7).

The First Day Is Not The Day God Established For Christians To Meet

The silence of the scriptures as to a special day of the week for Christians to assemble is evidence (in my opinion) that God never intended there to be a "special" day set aside for this purpose. God did not intend man to worship by days, seasons, or years, anymore (Gal. 4:10). It really didn't matter what day of the week men assembled and worshipped God as long as it was "To The Lord" (Rom. 14:5, 6).

The question then becomes, did God give us a day for worship to him? YES - he did, but not the kind of day most men have in mind. It is THE DAY OF THE LORD, but a "Day" like the Lord spoke of through his prophets.

The Day Of The Lord In Prophecy

It is important to note how, in prophecy, God spoke about this "DAY OF THE LORD:"

1. The Day of the Lord:
    "...is coming...is close at hand..." (Joel 2:1)
    "...is near..." (Ez. 30:3; Joel 1:15)
    "...is near for all nations..." (Obed. 1:15)
    "...is great..is dreadful..." (Joel 2:11, 31)
2. It was the day God made . Ps. 118:22-24; Acts 4:11
3. A day of REJOICING Ps. 118: 24, 21
4. A day of NEW life Isa. 43:19, Ez. 37:5, 6
    Man - a new creation Ps. 104:30; 2 Cor. 5:17
    A new heart Ez. 36:26; Rom. 2:29
    A new spirit Ez. 11:19
    A new birth Ez. 37:12-14; Jn. 3:3; 5:25
5. The dead will hear Isa. 29:18
6. The blind will see Isa. 29:18
7.The humble and needy will rejoice ..... Isa. 29:19
8.The day DEATH WAS CONQUERED ... Isa. 2:11, 17, 21b; Heb. 2:14, 15
9. The day David's tabernacle was restored …. Amos 9:11; Acts 15:15

As we can see from the above it was going to be a DAY different than man had ever known before. For some it would be a day of unmeasured, unequaled, joy, happiness, and hope many things of which man was incapable of understanding or comprehending at that time. Yet for others it would be a day quite different; to them it would become a day of wrath, terror, and dread.

But now let's notice some other changes that would make this "day" that was soon to come, different from other days.

The Sun Would No Longer Be The Light For Israel

This is another reason why the sabbath could no longer be the "holy day" for God's people to assemble. The timing device, the sun, was removed as God's means of light for His people. In the NEW CREATION a new light was to take the place of the old.

"The sun will no more be your light by day..." (Isa. 60:19)
"The Lord will be your everlasting light..." (Isa. 60:19)
"Your sun will never set again..." (Isa. 60:20
When the light of Israel went out, it was a sign of their end and of their impending doom (Jer. 15:9; Joel 1:15, 2:31; Mt. 24:29, 27:45; Amos 8:9; Acts 2:16, 20).
A new light would soon take the place of the old. This would happen in...

The Day Of The Lord...Or...The Lord's Day

The coming of Christ was the beginning of this new day that the Lord has made (Ps. 118:24). The Sabbath began and ended when the sun set. The Lord's Day began when the sun rose, never to set again (Is. 60:20; Mal. 4:2). Jesus said, "...I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). When Jesus rose from the dead the new sun rose - never to set again because Jesus could never die again (Rom. 6:9).

Understanding this, a new concept becomes clear when viewing the statement made by John, "On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit..." (Rev. 1:10). For ages men have argued over what (twenty-four hour) DAY this was, when in reality John was speaking of a day that was as much more superior than the old day (the Sabbath), as the sacrifice of Christ was superior to the sacrifices of animals. It is like the difference between the shadow and the substance (Col. 2:17).

Worship On The Lord's Day...

...took a complete change from the worship on the Sabbath of old - not only in what they offered, but when they offered it. No longer was it to be confined to short periods of time, or places, but in The Lord's Day, worship to God never ends:

Worship never ends … Rev. 7:15; I Cor. 3:16
"Pray continually ……. 1 Thess. 5:17; Lk. 18:1
"Rejoice always. . . . . . 1 Thess. 5:16; Phil. 4:4
"Always giving thanks to the Father for everything……"Eph. 5:20
Living sacrifices ………Rom. 12:1, 2; 6:6
Daily exhortation……. Heb 3:13
"Never be lacking in zeal". . . . . .. Rom. 12:11
"Love never ends·.." ........... 1 Cor. 13:8; 16:14

There are others that could be added to this, but this demonstrates the real significance of the never ending devotion God expects of His people towards Him on His everlasting day, The Lord's Day.

This new day, THE LORD'S DAY is also..

...The Sabbath Day Rest...

…..spoken of by the prophet David. The Bible says, "Therefore, God again set a certain day, calling it TODAY, when a long time later he spoke through David as was said before: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts'" (Heb. 4:7). The "Today" period, spoken of in this scripture, is NOW:

"...encourage...daily as long as it is called today" (Heb. 3:13)
"...now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2) (NIV)
"You are all sons of the light and sons of the day..." (1 Thess. 5:5)

In Conclusion

Which day should Christians keep?

Neither the seventh nor the first day of the week
But keep a "day" holy that never ends
The Lord's Day IS the Sabbath Rest of God (Heb. 4:9)
We are in that DAY OF REST now
It will never end because we will never die (John 11:26; 8:51)
Our SUN never sets (Isa. 60:20)
Our light is God (Isa. 60:19)
The LORD'S DAY is the "Today" of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2)
The LORD'S DAY is the "Today" Sabbath Rest (Heb. 4:7, 8, 9; 3:13)
It is the REST that Jesus promised (Mt. 11:28; Heb. 4:1)
We are living in the Lord's Day now (Rev. 1:10; Heb. 3:13; 2 Cor. 6:2)
THIS IS THE DAY the Lord has made (Ps. 118:23, 24; Acts 4:11).