Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3

The Change of the Sabbath

Lesson 16

Marking Code: CS
Marking Color: Black
Key Text: Ecclesiastes 3:14


Note: There was no question in the time of Christ and the apostles as to which   day was the Sabbath. Since the Bible plainly states that the seventh day, Saturday, is the Sabbath, why do the majority of Christians keep the first day of the week? How did it change?


1.      Ecclesiastes 3:14. When God does something, it stands forever. Psalm 89:34; Isaiah 40:8; Malachi 3:6; Matthew 5:17-19.


2.      Daniel 7:25. Bible prophecy predicts that a power would arise that would intend to change times and laws. The Sabbath commandment is the only one of the Ten Commandments that deals with time.


Note: Since the New Testament gives no hint of a change from the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday, we must turn to history and prophecy. Note in outline form these steps in apostasy resulting in the change of the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day.


        A.D. 132-135. Jews were discredited and persecuted by Rome as a result of the Bar Kochba revolt. Christians became increasingly sensitive to any identification of themselves with Jews. The seventh-day Sabbath was one thing both Jews and Christians had in common.

        Christians began to minimize Sabbath keeping. Many Christians had been pagan’s sun-worshipers before their conversion to Christ. They had honored the first day of the week-the “sun day.” They began to reason that if they adopted some of the pagan customs, Christianity would have more appeal to pagans.

        Sunday first came into the Christian church as a holiday, not as a day of worship. Then for centuries, both the first day and the seventh day were observed. However, under the influence of paganism and persecution, Sunday became emphasized, and the seventh-day Sabbath was minimized.

        A.D. 321. Emperor Constantine decreed that all government offices, courts, and artisans’ shops be closed on the first day of the week-the “venerable day of the sun.”

        A.D. 364. The council of Laodicea (Canon 29) stipulated that the Church had changed the day of the rest from the seventh day to the first day of the week.


Note: Both Protestants and Catholics acknowledge this change:


        Roman Catholic. “The church… substituted the observance of Sunday…for the observance of Saturday…a change for which there is no Scriptural authority” (Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism, p. 174).

        Roman Catholic. “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify? (Cardinal Gibbon, The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 89).

        Lutheran. “They (Roman Catholic) allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord’s day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it appears … The Church dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments”(Augsburg Confession, article XXVIII).

        Methodist. “There is no positive command… for keeping holy the first day of the week” (Amos Binney, Theological Compendium, pp. 180, 181).

        Congregationalist: “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath” (R.W. Dale, The Ten commandments, pp. 106, 107).

        Presbyterian. “The moral law doth forever bind us all…. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthens this obligation” (The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the USA).

        Church of England. “There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday…. Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters” (Canon Eyton, The Ten Commandments).


3.      Matthew 15:9. Jesus warns of worship that follows human traditions rather than the doctrines of God. He says that such worship is in vain.


4.      Isaiah 58:12-14. The Bible speaks of those who would bring about a restoration of God’s holy Sabbath.


5.      John 9:41. God does not condemn us when we break His commandments in ignorance or unknowingly.


6.      Acts 5:29. When we understand the issues, we should obey God rather than the commandments of men.


Romans 6:16.




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