Essay / Theology

Sunday, the Christian Sabbath

Q: Why was the Jewish Sabbath, fixed by the law of God, changed to the day which the heathen emperor Constantine fixed, and was the change in accordance with the law of God who says that not one jot or tittle of the law should pass away until all be fulfilled?

A: The Jewish Sabbath was not changed.

The Jewish Sabbath is still the seventh day of the week, but Christians are not Jews and observe the Lord’s Day, because they are on resurrection ground, and God has expressly commanded us in His Word not to judge one another in regard to “Sabbath days” (Col. 2:16).

Furthermore, the first day of the week as a day of Christian observance was not fixed by the emperor Constantine. It was observed by Christians long before the emperor Constantine was born. This is proven from the earliest Christian literature and those who teach it was fixed by the emperor Constantine are simply falsifying history. The first day of the week was observed in the early Christian churches in the New Testament times (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2).

Further still, while the “Jewish Sabbath” was and is the seventh day of the week, the Fourth Commandment did not fix any special day of the week as the day to be observed. It says, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” You will notice it does not say “the seventh day of the week,” that is added by man. It simply says the seventh day after the six days of labor, and those who add the words, “of the week,” are adding to what is written and are in danger of bringing upon themselves the doom pronounced in Revelation 22:18, 19. God knew what He wanted to say and said it, and He did not say the seventh day of the week.

As to “one jot or tittle passing from the law until all be fulfilled,” these words did not refer merely to the decalogue but to the whole Mosaic law as the verses that follow (19-38) clearly prove, and if they applied to the Fourth Commandment they applied just as much to all the other requirements of the Mosaic law, ceremonial as well as moral. But the law has already been fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ and He has therefore become the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom. 10:4).

–Originally published in The King’s Business, November 1914, p. 632-33.

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