Sabbath – 10 (Conclusion)

By the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church wielded tremendous power and authority, and the church strenuously sought to enforce its orthodoxy by punishing those who did not adhere to it. The Sunday Law became perhaps the most controversial element of that orthodoxy, an element that played a large role in a schism between eastern and western churches. Many Christians continued to hold fast to the original seventh-day Sabbath as their day of rest and worship.

In 1231, Pope Gregory the Ninth began an inquisition in Europe aimed at protecting the Catholic world from heretics and religious rebels. (1) The inquisition was a highly organized operation, combining the powers of church and state. Succeeding centuries saw the process of inquisition expand throughout Europe and onto other continents. Persons who the church considered to be heretics were systematically arrested, tortured, and executed. A wide variety of people became victims of the inquisitions, including Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Many people were burned alive at the stake.

In 1478, the Catholic monarchs who ruled Spain, Fenrdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castille, who would a few years later send Christopher Columbus on his famous voyage of discovery, instituted the Spanish inquisition, again intending to purge the country of religious heretics. (2)

One of the thousands of people targeted during the Spanish inquisition was Dr. Constantino Ponce de la Fuerte, an immensely popular preacher and writer from Seville. (3) Dr. Constantino was a reformer who believed in honoring the original seventh-day Sabbath in keeping with the Ten Commandments. After being called in several times to explain his teachings to the inquisitors, Dr. Constantino remarked, “They want me to be burned, but they found I was still too green.” (4) But in 1558 he was arrested and imprisoned just outside Seville, where he died after eighteen months. Dr. Constantino and others had formed what he called “the secret Christian church,” an underground movement of seventh-day Sabbath keepers. (5)

The year 1536 saw the beginning of the Portuguese inquisition, which would last well into the nineteenth century. (6) Then in 1560 the Portuguese inquisition came to India, making its headquarters in Goa on India’s western coast. It specifically targeted Christians who refused to work on Saturday and who began observing the Sabbath on Friday evening. Francis Xavier, one of the original Jesuit missionaries, had suggested that the inquisition be brought to India years earlier in 1542 after observing that some of the populace, while claiming to be Roman Catholics, were secretly adhering to Jewish or Muslim teachings. (7)

In 1684, Charles Dellon published his “Account of the Inquisition at Goa,” describing the inquisition from the viewpoint of a victim. Dellon, a French physician, had himself been arrested for trivial offenses, jailed for two years, and then tried and sentenced to five more years’ slave labor in the shipyards of Lisbon. Fortunately for Dellon, friends from France successfully intervened on his behalf, and he son an early release from the Inquisitor general, allowing him to return to France in 1677. (8) In his account of the inquisition, Dellon asserts that the large majority of persons burned at the stake for “Judaizing” were not actually Jews, but rather Sabbath-keeping Christians. (9)

In Ethiopa – the nation with the longest history of Christian Sabbath-keeping, dating back more than a thousand years – Jesuits attempted in 1622 to conform the population to Roman Catholicism. The nation’s ruler, Emperor Susenyos, embraced the Roman Catholic Church – and professed allegiance to the Pope. But when he issued a proclamation requiring the populace to work on the Sabbath, a civil war resulted. Ultimately, Susenyos relinquished power to one of his sons who reinstated freedom for the people to worship as they chose.

In the meantime, winds of reformation had begun to stir in Europe with the birth of a movement which became known as the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation movement posed a religious and political challenge to the Roman Catholic Church – and to papal authority in particular. The idea of “Sola Scriptura” – that is, “the scriptures only” – represented a direct challenge to the authority of church leaders, including the Pope.

In 1545, Catholic leaders gathered for the Council of Trent, named after the city in which it was held. Although the Council, over a period of eighteen years, would grapple with many issues, the first real substantial issue was that of church authority relating to the scriptures.

During the Council, one Catholic archbishop, Gaspare del Fosso, issued the following revealing statement: “The heretics of this age are trying to overthrow the authority of the church. They claim to make the sacred Scriptures the foundation of their faith. But it is the church, after all, that has authority over the Scriptures. It is the church that points us to the Scriptures and declares them to be divine, and explains them faithfully when they are difficult to understand.” (10)

Archbishop del Fosso would go on to say: “The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s Day. This has not been done by the command of Christ, but by the authority of the church.” (11)

Ultimately, the Council resolved that the authority of the church rested on twin pillars, not on Scripture alone, but on Scripture and something called “tradition” – the ongoing authority that church leaders claimed had descended to them from the original apostles. (12)

It is this position that separated – and continues to separate – the Roman Catholic Church from most Protestant churches throughout the world – ironically even including those who nevertheless continue to observe Sunday.

Although much, much more can be said regarding the vast history of Christianity and the varying practices that have arisen within the Christian movement over the centuries, and which continue today, suffice it to say that from the beginning of Christianity until today there have always been Christians who kept God’s original seventh-day Sabbath.

Despite hardship and persecution the seventh-day movement flourished in seventeenth-century England. Numerous congregations gathered for worship on Saturday in widely scattered parts of the country.

And of course we know that the seventh-day movement came across the Atlantic to the Americas, where it continues to exist today alongside the long entrenched Sunday tradition which was brought forward in the manner we have already described.

Many – tat is, most – Christians today unfortunately are adherents to the practice of First-day worship, if for no other reason, than because of tradition that has been handed down through the centuries with no real Biblical foundation.

Tradition is not so easily changed. Even so, when confronted with the truth, there will always be some people who are open to change. We hope you are such a person.

If so, why not join this movement which Jesus himself honored when He lived among us, and which so many of His disciples faithfully honored during their subsequent ministries and martyrdoms?

Source Notes:

(1) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. “Inquisition” Encyclopaedia Britannica from Encyclopaedia B ritannica Premium Service. <>[Accessed April 3, 2005].

(2) Ibid. “Isabella I.” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Copyright 1994, 2000-2005, on Infoplease. Copyright 2000-2005 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. <> [Accessed April 3, 2005]

(3) Ibid. “The Inquisition and the Reformers at Seville.” Cambridge Modern History: The Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911) Vol. 2, chap. 12. <> [Accessed April 7, 2005].

(4) Ibid.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Ibid. “John III.” Encyclopaedia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Brinannica Premium Service. <> [Accessed April 3, 2005].

(7) Ibid. “St. Francis Xavier” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI. Copyright 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online edition Copyright 2003 by Kevin Knight [Accessed April 3, 2005].; “Xavier, St. Francis.” Encyclopaedia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Premium Service. <> [Accessed April 3, 2005].

(8) Ibid. Charles Dellon, An Account of the Inquisition of Goa (Hull: Joseph Simmons, 1812), pp. 111, 149, 150, 156-160. This date for the French publication is suggested by the translator’s comments in the English version printed by Joseph Simmons, Queen Street, Hull, in 1812 for I. Wilson, Lowgate. See Dellon, p. vii.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Ibid. Guiseppe Mansi, Sacrorum Consiliorum, vol. 33, columns 529-530. Our script represents a paraphrase of Gaspare del Fosso’s remarks.

(11) Ibid.

(12) Ibid.

Sabbath – 9

The history of the early Christian centuries reveals a definite anti-seventh-day-Sabbath, pro-Sunday movement, which got a bit boost in 321 A.D. with the Roman Emperor Constantine’s Sunday Law.

Early church councils took bold steps to enforce Sunday observance and to support desecration of the Biblical Sabbath. Some of their actions took on a definite anti-Jewish flavor.

Believers who continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath were labeled “Judaizers” and excommunicated from the church.

This extreme position against the Sabbath, combined with a strong pro-Sunday stance, became a pillar of Roman Catholic teaching and a mark of Roman Catholic, or papal authority.

In 602 A.D. Pope Gregory identified Sabbath keepers with the antichrist. (1)

But while the Roman church installed Sunday as the new day of worship, churches in the East continued to keep the seventh day.

Over the following centuries, the campaign to establish Sunday as the substitute for the biblical Sabbath was only partially successful. But Roman church efforts to promote Sunday continued. One novel approach took the form of a letter – a letter that supposedly came directly from heaven – which said in part: “God has enjoined Sunday to be kept holy, for God’s own hand has written that command to men, lest they should do either work or servile labor on Sunday.” (2)

The Letter itself claims to have been written by Jesus and was said to have appeared on the altar of St. Peters in Rome as mass was being held.

It wasn’t uncommon in the middle ages for people to support their claims by a letter supposedly coming from heaven. What better way of supporting yourself than to have a letter from God?

Somehow the letter from heaven made its way to Ireland. Perhaps it was brought there by a monk who had visited the continent on pilgrimage. But we do know precisely what it said, because the whole letter was preserved as part of Irish law.

In Ireland, the Epistle of Jesus is one part of a larger collection of works about Sunday observance. The first two elements are quite brief and identify some of the punishments that one might receive for lack of adherence.

The third element is the letter itself. And lastly, there is a lengthy law tract, more detailed as to various punishments for violating the different provisions listed. (3)

Some of the threats in the Letter are quite fantastical, but probably were quite frightening to people in the middle ages. For example, the Letter states: “There are, moreover, in certain eastern parts beasts which were sent to men; and it is to avenge the transgression of Sunday they have been sent.” (4)

Locusts, massive rainstorms and hailstones, and flying serpents in the sky are also mentioned. In other words, people who violated the Law of Sunday ran the risk of enduring plague and catastrophe. (5)

Of course the Epistle of Jesus belongs to the massive body of apocryphal – that is, non-Biblical – literature and would not be taken seriously today. But it shows how determined medieval Roman church leaders were to replace the biblical Sabbath with Sunday. Similar schemes involving messages from heaven were used in other places, in other centuries.

In the year 1200 A.D., Eustace of Flay, a French abbot, arrived in England and started the medieval version of a revival campaign. He argued that folks shouldn’t buy and sell on Sunday. When his efforts had little effect, he returned to France. But the following year he returned, this time with a letter supposedly delivered from heaven and laid on the altar of St. Simeon Church in Jerusalem. The gist was that God himself threatened punishment to those who worked or bought and sold on Sundays. (6)

Attempts to enforce the abstinence from work on Sunday continued throughout the middle ages in church councils, papal rulings, canon law, and in the courts.

Although the mere fact that such lengths were taken to attempt to enforce Sunday Law indicates that it was not uniformly being obeyed, but generally speaking, the Church of Rome succeeded in establishing and enforcing Sunday observance. After all, emperors and kings during those years were under obligation to enforce church law. (7)

Besides that, except in a few isolated areas, the church controlled access to the Holy Scriptures, so for the most part the common people depended on the priests for their understanding of the Bible and its teachings.

However, in those few places where the Scriptures still existed in the language of the people, courageous groups resisted church authority and persisted in keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. (8)

In the mountains of northern Spain and Italy and southern France, there are entire groups of individuals who are legendary for their resistance to the power of Rome, people like the Albigenses, the Cathari, the Passagini, and the Waldenses. Reports from that era tell us that among these groups there were many who observed the seventh-day Sabbath. (9)

The Passagini kept the Sabbath because they believed it existed even before the Ten Commandments.

There is a 12th century account about a group of Cathari – four men and a child – who, while traveling near Cologne, France, were captured and burned at the stake for not attending church of the Lord’s Day, or Sunday. (10)

The church-state establishment had the power to impose its will, even by force of arms, and it did not hesitate to use persecution and coercion against the dissenters.

Then, in the 1300s, came John Wycliffe, the man whose life’s passion was to bring the Scriptures to all people. (11)

Born in Yorkshire, England, of a wealthy family, Wycliffe was educated at Oxford, which essentially became his home for the rest of his life. His passion was for the Word of God, and he sought to make that Word known to the English people, even if it meant standing against the authorities of the church of his day, and even at great loss to himself and personal risk. (12)

The view of the church hierarchy was that ordinary people were not intelligent enough to understand the scriptures, that it took someone with years of higher education to understand and explain them.

The church strongly opposed the Bible being available in the vernacular – to the average lay person – because this would circumvent the role of the priest and would give a certain power to the laity to interpret the Scriptures for themselves.

Wycliffe, however, thought that the teachings of the Bible were clear enough to be understood by the common people. If they could read it they could determine for themselves what to believe and how to behave.

Wycliffe, on the one hand, was highly respected. He was a professor of theology and philosophy at Oxford, and the best-known theologian of his day. But on the other hand, his views and intentions were seen as a threat by the Catholic Church.

Wycliffe might have lived a peaceful life if he had been willing to keep his views to himself. But he charismatically attracted loyal followers and supporters, who became known as Lollards. (13)

The term was a derisive adaptation drawn from the Dutch word “lullen,” which means “to mumble,” implying that the Lollards were “mumblers,” or religious fanatics.

The church claimed to have supreme authority and to be infallible, a status it said had been conferred on it by God. The Lollards, on the other hand, believed that ultimate authority was in God through the Scriptures.

Some of the Lollards became sabbatarians, believing that worship should take place on the seventh day, according to the Scriptures, because they were believers in the literal interpretation of the Bible. We know about the Sabbath-keeping Lollards chiefly from court records of their trials. (14)

In 1377 Pope Gregory the Eleventh issued formal statements accusing Wycliffe of heresy; but the Roman church could not effectively restrict the spread of Wycliffe’s ideas, which soon reached the educational centers of Europe.

The Church of Rome lashed out against all who believed that Scripture held authority over the church. Although Wycliffe died of natural causes, several decades after his death the church posthumously branded him a heretic, dug up and burned his body, and threw his ashes into the Swift River. (15)

Some who came after Wycliffe were not so fortunate.

To a very large extent, the government in England and other countries as well was administered by senior churchmen. The bishops of the church ran the government in England, and the English parliament enacted a statute in 1401 known as the act for the burning of heretics, aimed at the Lollards and others. (16)

John Oldcastle, one of many noblemen who were attracted to Wycliffe’s views, became a devout preacher of the superiority of the Scriptures, and after being arrested and warned, he was later burned at the stake. (17)

William Tyndale, who like Wycliffe graduated from Oxford, also devoted his life to translating the Bible into English. But while the source of Wycliffe’s earlier translations had been the Latin Vulgate, which was itself a translation, Tyndale’s object was to translate the scriptures anew from their original languages.

Pressured to depart England, Tyndale settled in Germany in 1524, and the following year completed his translation of the NT. Fifteen thousand copies, in six editions, were smuggled into England between the years 1525-1530. (18)

Church authorities did their best to confiscate copies of Tyndale’s translation and burn them, but they couldn’t stop the flow of Bibles from Germany into England. Tyndale himself could not return to England because his life was in danger. However, he continued to work abroad, correcting, revising, and reissuing his translation until his final revision appeared in 1535. Shortly thereafter, in May of 1535, Tyndale was arrested and carried off to a castle near Brussels. After being imprisoned for over a year, he was tried and condemned to death. He was strangled and burned at the stake on October 6, 1536.

Sadly, history is replete with records of religious institutions resorting to force when the power of persuasion failed, and this certainly was true of the Church of Rome in the Middle Ages.

If the supreme authority of the church could be maintained, the teachings of Scripture could lie unheeded and forgotten. But if the Bible came to be seen as the sacred source of doctrine and the sole legitimate guide for Christian practice, the power of the church and its traditions would greatly be diminished.

Thanks to John Wycliffe, William Tyndale and many others, that is precisely what happened in the centuries leading up to the Protestant Reformation. With the availability of the Bible in the language of the common people, the stage was set for the rediscovery of God’s original Holy day of rest, the seventh-day Sabbath.


(1) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 6. Gregory the Great, “Epistle I: To the Roman Citizens,” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. xiii, p. 92.

(2) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 6. ERIU – The Journal of the School of Irish Learning, vol. II, edited by Kuno Meyer and John Strachan, (Dublin: School of Irish Learning, 1905), p. 201.

(3) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 6.

(4) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 6. ERIU – The Journal of the School of Irish Learning, vol. II, edited by Kuno Meyer and John Strachan, (Dublin: School of Irish Learning, 1905), p. 201.

(5) Ibid. p. 193.

(6) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 6.

(7) Ibid.

(8) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 7. Rev. J.A. Wyliee, LL.D., History of the Waldenses (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association), p. 18. For examples see Schaff, History, Vol. 5, p. 488; J.N. Andrews and L.R. Conradi, History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week, 4th ed., (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1912), pp. 547-8.

(9) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 7. For examples see Peter Allix, D.D., Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the Piedmont (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1821), pp. 226-7; Allix, Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Albigenses (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1821), pp. 130,198.

(10) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 7. E.B. Elliott, Horae Apocaltypicae, Vol. 2 (London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, 1862), p. 291.

(11) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 10.

(12), (13) Ibid.

(14) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 6. Ball, Seventh-Day Men (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 32-34; James Gairdner and James Spedding, Studies in English History, (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1881), p. 296.

(15) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 10.

(16) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript Part 3. Chapter 11.

(17), (18) Ibid.

Sabbath – 8

Ancient written evidence suggests that some Christians in Alexandria, Egypt may have abandoned the seventh-day Sabbath as early as 120 A.D.

This evidence is found in a writing called The Epistle of Barnabas, which was a letter falsely attributed to the Barnabas who evangelized alongside Paul.

The letter was composed around 120 A.D. by someone living in Alexandria whose tendency was to advance a metaphorical, embellished interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures as opposed to a literal interpretation. (1)

In the letter, the pseudo-Barnabas claims that he and his followers are observing the “eighth day of the week,” the day after the Sabbath, obviously Sunday. The writer condemns Judaism and everything associated with it, including observance of the seventh-day Sabbath.

The Barnabas letter is the earliest example we have of Sunday being promoted as a Christian day of worship.

It is in ancient Rome that we find another written reference to early Christian Sunday-keeping. It comes from Justin Martyr, a convert who came to be considered one of the movement’s early intellectuals, sometimes referred to as the “church fathers.” (2) Justin wrote, in The First Apology of Justin, which is dated around 155-157 A.D., these words:

“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.” (3)

Notice that in his justification for the change, Justin pointed backward to creation week. Without acknowledging the seventh day, however, Justin reverted to the first day of creation week, reasoning that it was on that day when God began making the world.

Secondly, Justin noted – incorrectly, we believe – that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday, when actually Jesus was resurrected in the late afternoon before sunset at the end of the seventh-day Sabbath, as the first day of the week, or Sunday, was “drawing on.” Remember that the days were counted by the Jews from sunset to sunset.

Counting back precisely three days and nights from late afternoon at the end of the weekly Sabbath, when we believe Jesus rose from the tomb, will confirm that Jesus was actually crucified and entombed on a Wednesday, which in that particular year was the “Day of Preparation” for the Passover of the Jews. The Gospel accounts uniformly report that Jesus breathed his last sometime around three in the afternoon on the day of his crucifixion. John’s Gospel reports that the Jewish authorities were anxious to get Jesus’ body entombed before sunset, because the following day – Thursday, we believe – was a special or High Day Sabbath, the first day of the Feast of Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread. After having been entombed for three nights and three days, Jesus’ body was raised to life again, and when the women visited the tomb early in the morning on Sunday, they found the tomb empty. While none of the Gospel accounts give the exact time of Jesus’ resurrection, all agree that it occurred sometime before the women arrived at Jesus’ tomb early on that Sunday morning, hours after the Sabbath had ended.

Each of Justin Martyr’s points of explanation as to why he and other Christians in Rome in the middle of the second century were meeting to worship on Sunday rather than on the Sabbath are clearly meant to be justifications for a change that had begun to take place within the Christian movement, a shift from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week.

Of course, these two early references to Sunday-keeping do not mean that the Christian movement as a whole had substituted Sunday for the Sabbath as their day of worship. Far from it. Large numbers of Christians, perhaps still the majority of Christians at that time, continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath; but the groundwork for change was being laid, and what began in increments would over time become the norm throughout most “orthodox” Christian communities.

The term “orthodox” correctly signifies that as Christianity grew it became organized. Decisions were made along the way by men who had become leaders within the movement. Those decisions, made and voted upon during various leadership gatherings, or Church Councils, became declarations as to what “doctrines” – that is, beliefs – and practices were deemed acceptable within “orthodox” Christianity.

From the idea that Christ’s Church is “universal,” that is, “catholic” – from the Latin term meaning “universal” – came the development of the Catholic Church. As the Catholic Church developed, so did the church’s policy of what would be acceptable in terms of official beliefs and practices.

One should bear in mind that throughout the history of Christianity there have always been believers who remained faithful in observing God’s seventh-day Sabbath. However, as evidenced throughout the Christian movement today, Christians who continue to honor God’s original seventh-day Sabbath are a relatively small minority.

How did it come to pass that the majority of Christians, from as early as the sixth century A.D. until today, have abandoned the seventh-day Sabbath and replaced it with Sunday?

Three main factors were influential in causing the abandonment of God’s seventh-day Sabbath by the Catholic Church.

First – as we mentioned previously – Christians, having initially been ostracized by the Jews from the synagogue fellowships, and in light of the deteriorated standing of Judaism within the Roman Empire, felt it both desirable and expedient to establish a clear and separate identity apart from Judaism.

In addition, as time passed, the composition of the Christian movement as a whole became overwhelmingly Gentile, and an anti-Judaism sentiment even began to grow with the movement.

Since perhaps the primary identifying element of Judaism was its adherence to God’s seventh-day Sabbath as a holy day, one of rest on which no work was done, choosing a different day on which to worship made perfect sense as an easy way to distinguish Christians from Jews.

That brings us to the second factor – the reluctance or unwillingness of many Gentile converts to let go of pagan practices of one form or another.

Of the plethora of pagan gods and practices common to the times, perhaps the most compelling was the worship of the sun, a practice which was common to many cultures and which became prevalent throughout the Roman Empire, including its adoption by many Romans themselves, and their Emperors.

Sunday was, coincidentally, the day of the sun; and as we have seen, by the time of Justin Martyr in the mid-second century, Sunday had already become an attractive replacement for Sabbath in Rome.

The Roman Empire had begun on or about 31 B.C., when Octavian defeated the forces of Antony and Cleopatra and came back to Rome to rule as the first Caesar, Caesar Augustus.

At that time, he shipped back to Rome two great obelisks. One he set up in the circus maximus and dedicated to the sun god. Inscribed on it was a declaration, saying “Caesar Augustus dedicates this as a gift to the sun…because Egypt has been conquered.” (4)

The notorious Emperor Nero later commissioned a sculptor to create a statue nearly 115 feet tall, (5) topped with the likeness of his own head in the style of the sun god. (6)

When Vespasian later built his great amphitheater – which we call today the colosseum – he took that enormous colossus statue of Nero, changed the features on the face to his own, and again dedicated it to the sun god. (7)

Sun worship continued through a succession of emperors and was popular among Roman soldiers, who often would pray at sunrise, facing the east. The Latin term “Sol Invictus,” meaning “the invincible sun,” was popularized. (8)

Aurelian, who was emperor from 270-275 A.D., established a state religion that included the worship of both the emperor and Sol Invictus, the invincible sun. He tried to unify all religions under the sun god. (9)

Diocletian, who came to power in 284 A.D., was also devoted to the sun god. He maintained Aurelian’s principle of a state religion and even declared himself to be a god. Eventually, he ordered the persecution of Christians for refusing to worship him. (10)

Even the Roman Emperor Constantine, who professed to having been converted to Christianity, was a worshipper of the sun; and it seems that Constantine’s personal religion was really a mixture of sun worship and Christianity. According to his Christian biographer, Eusebius, he taught all his armies to zealously honor the Lord’s Day – Sunday – referring to is as “the day of light and of the sun.” (11)

Historians debate whether or not Constantine’s conversion was genuine, since he maintained his pagan superstitions throughout much of his reign and consented to baptism only as he lay on his deathbed.

Nevertheless, his reign did mark a dramatic turning point in the history of Christianity. In 313 A.D., with the agreement of his co-emperor Licinius, he effectively legalized the Christian religion. (12)

In 321 A.D., Constantine promulgated the first law requiring people to celebrate Sunday and to rest on that day. However, the law had no Christian flavor at all. It stated in part, “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits.” (13)

Although Constantine promoted Christianity and built many Christian churches, he closed very few pagan temples, and from the year 354 A.D., about 17 years after Constantine’s death, we have a Roman Calendar which shows four separate festivals each year to the sun god. (14)

What emerged from Constantine’s reign was a different kind of church and a different kind of state. In fact, the two were so blended together it was hard to see where one ended and the other began.

Yet through it all, many Christians continued to honor God’s seventh-day Sabbath. In a Church Council at Laodicea in the middle of the fourth century, leaders declared that “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.” (15)

What did the council mean by Judaizers? Judaizers were those Christians who, like the Jews, did not work on Sabbath. Church leaders wanted everyone to work on Sabbath and to refrain from work on the first day of the week, which they now called “The Lord’s Day.” This, of course, was consistent with the Sunday Law enacted by the Emperor Constantine.

Obviously, among those churches represented at the Council of Laodicea, the sentiment was to replace the Sabbath with Sunday – the Lord’s Day.

However, many Christians were still observing the seventh-day Sabbath as far forward as the fifth century A.D., when Socrates wrote in Socrates Scholasticus: “For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.”

Succeeding centuries saw the Sabbath at the heart of controversy between popes and patriarchs. The weekly day of rest and worship became a test of church authority and a sign of submission to the sovereignty of a new kind of religious government. It became a major cause of the great rift that divided the Christian church for 900 years.

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(1) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 6. There is no unanimity among scholars as to the date when the Epistle of Barnabas was written. There is wide agreement that it was written before the Bar Kochba rebellion (132-135 A.D.). In our script we have used 120 AD as a compromise between the earlier and later dates suggested by the experts. Many advocates of an early date for Sunday observance in Asia Minor cite the Epistle to the Magnesians in support of their view. Written around A.D. 115 by Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, this epistle encourages Christian readers to renounce Jewish Sabbath customs. In chapter eight the bishop refers to the Old Testament prophets whose hope in the coming Messiah raised their Sabbath observance above the legalistic, perfunctory forms that were common among the Jews. In chapter nine he writes of those prophets that they were “no longer sabbatizing, but living according to the Lord’s life.” This is the way the earliest available Greek manuscript reads. Many translators have rendered the text this way: “no longer sabbatizing, but living according to the Lord’s day,” replacing “life” with “day.” The Greek word for “day” does not occur in the original. In addition, the context makes it clear that Ignatius is not referring to a “Lord’s day” as a replacement for the Sabbath. He is talking about the manner, not the time, of Sabbath observance. The fact that he addresses the issue of Jewish-style sabbatizing confirms that his Christian readers in the early second century were observing the Sabbath, albeit in a legalistic rather than a spiritual way. (For this explanation we are indebted to Kenneth A. Strand, “The ‘Lord’s Day’ in the Second Century” in The Sabbath in Scripture and History, Kenneth A. Strand, editor (Washington: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982), p.p. 348-9.)

(2) Ibid. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 7. “Justin Martyr, Saint.” Encyclopaedia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Premium Service. <> [Accessed March 24, 2005].

(3) Ibid. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 7. Justin Martyr. “The First Apology of Justin.” Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. I, chap. 67. From Christian Classics Ethereal Library. <> [Accessed March 29, 2005].

(4) Ibid. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 8.

(5) Ibid. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 8. “Colossus.” Encyclopaedia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Premium Service. <> [Accessed March 29, 2005].

(6) Ibid. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 8. Sheldon Nodelman, “The Emperor Vanishes.” Art in America, March 3, 2001. From Highbeam Research <> [Accessed March 29, 2005].

(7) Ibid. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 8.

(8), (9), (10). Ibid.

(11) Ibid. Eusebius Pamphilus. “Life of Constantine,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. I, p. 545. From Christian Classics Ethereal Library. [Accessed November 21, 2005].

(12) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 9.

(13) Ibid.

(14) Ibid. Church council at Laodicea. Canon 29.

(15) Ibid. Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.22

Sabbath – 7

As we have already established, a tension had arisen from the carrying of the gospel to the Gentiles. Luke’s The Acts of the Apostles gives us a clear picture of the intensity of resentment which unfortunately festered in the minds of many Jews, and some Jewish Christians within the early Christian movement.

For most people, changing long held traditions is very difficult. Imagine how difficult it must have been for the Jews in the first century, whose traditions dated back many hundreds of years.

In Acts chapter 15, verses 1-35, Luke records how the early Christian leaders chose to remedy the situation by setting forth the church’s expectations concerning Gentile converts.

Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute with them.

The verses go on to say that as a result of this confrontation Paul and Barnabas, along with some other believers, were dispatched to Jerusalem, where many of the early Christian leaders lived.

The disciples in Jerusalem welcomed Paul and his contingent. But: Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses.”

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things,’ that have been known for ages.”

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

From this passage in Acts we see the controversy as well as the proposed solution, which was to officially spell out to the increasing numbers of Gentile converts the minimum criteria for their conduct in the faith. Remember, many of the Gentiles were themselves having trouble abandoning pagan practices to which they had become accustomed.

A letter was drafted, and Paul and Barnabas and a few others were sent to the largely Gentile city of Antioch to deliver it to the church there.

Only four requirements were listed in the letter:

First, the Gentiles were to abstain from eating food that had been sacrificed to idols, a practice which many believers – and especially Jews – considered an affront to God.

Second, the Gentiles were not to eat or drink blood.

Third, the Gentiles were instructed not to eat the meat of animals killed by strangulation.

And fourth, the Gentiles were to abstain from sexual immorality as outlined within the Mosaic Law.

For their part, we are told, the Gentile believers received these instructions with gladness – perhaps even relief.

But the controversy was far from over. Paul would soon find this out upon his return to Jerusalem, where he would be accosted and nearly killed by a mob, no doubt instigated by the orthodox Jewish establishment, of which Paul himself was a former member.

You might wonder why the Sabbath was omitted from the list of requirements that the letter to the Gentiles specified.

It is a valid question. But remember that the seventh-day Sabbath was more than a mere element of the Law of Moses, which the Judaizers were intent on sustaining in its entirety. Rather, the Sabbath long predated both the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses. And it was so completely established in the consciousness of the Hebrew people (and others before them) that any thought of discontinuing its observance would never have been entertained.

In Paul’s view, as we’ve already seen, the weekly Sabbath was still God’s Holy day; but to the contrary, the Law of Moses was no longer in effect. Nevertheless, in a seemingly conciliatory gesture to reduce the hostility of the Judaizers, the church leaders had decided to impose on Gentile converts four restrictions that derived from the Law of Moses.

Jerusalem, after all, was the headquarters of Judaism. More than a few Jews had become Christians. But many others, especially those in positions of influence, had denounced Christ. And even those who had converted to Christianity undoubtedly struggled not only with the idea that circumcision and other Mosaic restrictions were no longer required of Christians, but with an inherent bias against Gentiles that had existed for centuries.

After all was said and done, Paul had survived his two trips to Jerusalem, where ultimately …the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. (Acts 23:12)

But it was not to be. The night before, we are told, the Lord Himself stood near Paul and said to him: “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)

Church historians believe that it was there, in Rome, that Paul was beheaded a few years later under the Roman Emperor Nero.

Ironically, Rome would also prove to be one of the first places where some Christians first chose to abandon the seventh-day Sabbath in favor of a new day of worship – Sunday, the first day of the week.

In our next segment, we will look at the historical evidence of that fact.

Sabbath – 6

For a NT example of a special Sabbath – also referred to in the KJV as a “high day” – that had been established by God through Moses as part of the “handwriting of ordinances” of the OT, and which seldom (that is, only once every seven years) – coincided with the seventh-day weekly Sabbath, we turn to the Gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion and entombment.

Reading from John’s gospel, chapter 19, verses 28-37:

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crossed during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

(The first quotation, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” can be found in three places in the OT: Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; and Psalm 34:20. The second quotation comes from the OT book of Zechariah, chapter 12, verse 10.)

The scene that the Apostle John was recounting was that of Jesus’ dying moment on the cross. When John wrote of Jesus giving up his spirit in death, on the day of Preparation, he was referring to the day on which Jewish families slaughtered a lamb in preparation for the ensuing observance of the Feast of Passover. How ironic that Jesus’ crucifixion was on that day.

When John went on to say that the following day was to be a special Sabbath, he was distinguishing it apart from the weekly Sabbath. As noted, special Sabbaths generally did not coincide with the seventh day of the week, that is, the weekly Sabbath. Their purpose was to mark the beginning of a special religious observance.

Further on in John’s gospel it becomes apparent that Jesus’ resurrection, 3 nights and 3 days after his body’s late-afternoon entombment on the day of Preparation, had already taken place when the two Marys visited the tomb near dawn on the first day of the week – Sunday – the day following the weekly Sabbath.

The point is that there were other days designated as Sabbaths that were not at all associated with the seventh day of the week.

When, in his letter to the Colossians, Paul made reference to the unhealthy tendency of some in their assemblies to judge each other by the food they ate, or according to which religious festivals they favored, or which Sabbaths they deemed most important, and so on, he was referring to the Law of Moses, not to the Ten Commandments, and not to the seventh-day Sabbath that God had declared holy from the time of creation.

As we’ve previously observed, Paul and the other apostles observed the seventh-day Sabbath throughout their lives and ministries, as had Jesus before them. Nothing in the Bible suggests otherwise.

Moses had been mediator of the Old Covenant and Israel was commanded to keep the Ten Commandments and the law of their mediator (the book of the law, or handwriting of ordinances), but Jesus, by His death, ushered in a New Covenant, in which Christians no longer have to obey the law of Moses, yet in the spirit of love do obey the Law of our mediator – indeed, our Savior – Jesus Christ.

The Ten Commandments represent the core of what Jesus taught during his time on earth, and He elaborated and even expanded upon them in His teachings as seen in each of the NT gospels.

Yes, we as Christians lovingly obey the Ten Commandments and the testimony and teachings of Jesus.

Moses’ ministration (or process of governing), the Bible tells us, was a ministration of the “letter,” and Christ’s ministration is a ministration of the “Spirit.”

The change of ministrations did not change one word of the Ten Commandments.

The law given through Moses, with its system of animal sacrifices for sin, could not take away sin but was a “schoolmaster,” we are told, to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. That law, with its many sacrifices, was a type and a shadow of the one sacrifice, or death, of Jesus that does take away sin. When Jesus died, the old system and its animal sacrifices ended. It was abolished at the cross.

The Apostle Paul writes poignantly about this in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 11-22:

…remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) – remember that at that time you sere separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Finally, the Bible speaks of the law being written on our hearts. What does that mean?

What is obedience from the heart, and how is that different from obedience out of compulsion?

The OT prophet Hosea spoke these words from God: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)

Later, in the NT, James would urge his readers to: Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:12-13)

Under Moses’ ministration he was to teach, or enforce obedience to the Ten Commandments and the administrative law, the Book of the Law. In contrast now, the Spirit of God changes the hearts of repentant believers and writes God’s holy Law in their hearts as was promised under the New Covenant. Christ, though the agency of the Holy Spirit, dwells in the hearts of Christians enabling us to maintain a life of obedience to both God’s Law and the Gospel. What a miracle!

The NT letter to the Hebrews, chapter 9, verses 1-15, provides us with a contrast between the two covenants, Old and New:

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Chapter 10 of Hebrews goes on the relate the following:

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me: with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God!'”

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offering and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:1-14)

Thanks be to God for the New Covenant through His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ! But the New Covenant did not abolish God’s eternal law, embodied in His Ten Commandments, written with His own finger. Nor did it abolish God’s seventh-day Sabbath, which remains as Holy today as it was when He “blessed the seventh day and made it holy” at the end of His week of creating.

We conclude this segment with the following passage from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12, verses 28-34:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Jesus never denounced God’s Ten Commandments, nor did He abolish God’s seventh-day Sabbath. Rather, He magnified them, elaborated on them, and taught us how they were always meant to be regarded. And in this New Covenant which He has given us, he writes them in our hearts.

As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

The statement is as true today as it was then.

In our next segment we will begin to examine when, why and how so many Christians stopped honoring God’s seventh-day Sabbath.

Sabbath – 5

In his refutation of Judaizers within the early Christian movement, the apostle Paul made reference to “the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and stood opposed to us.” Paul further stated that God “took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)

Paul’s meaning was clear: God had cancelled the written code through Christ’s crucifixion, therefore the written code was no longer binding upon God’s people, that is, the Christian community.

So what written code was Paul talking about?

It helps to understand that the people of Israel were historically responsible for obeying two laws: The Ten Commandments, written by the hand of God; and the handwriting of ordinances, written by the hand of Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant or Testament.

Both laws were given by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, but God distinguished them from one another.

The Ten Commandments were written by God Himself with His own finger on two tablets of hewn stone; and God later directed Moses to make an ark out of acacia wood in which to keep the stone tablets on which He had inscribed the Commandments.

This is documented by Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 10, verses 1-5: At that time the LORD said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden chest. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the chest.”

So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. The LORD wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the LORD gave them to me. Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the LORD commanded me, and they are there now.

It seems apparent that humans knew and understood the Ten Commandments long before God inscribed them into the tablets on Sinai. The Sabbath, after all, had been declared Holy from the time of creation; and humans certainly understood that murder, adultery, covetousness, dishonesty and the like were sinful acts. The Ten Commandments, it might be argued, were merely a concise written version of God’s directives for all human beings who sought to please Him, from creation onward.

In contrast, the secondary but extensively detailed “handwriting of ordinances,” although dictated to Moses by God, were written by the hand of Moses. They were given, the Bible says, because of the stubbornness or hardness of heart of the Israelite people, and were directed specifically to the Israelites. God told Moses to write them down in their entirety and to have his successor, Joshua, keep them beside the Ark of the Covenant in which the Ten Commandments were kept. In addition to that, God instructed Moses to have Joshua, after crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land, to build an altar on Mount Ebal. The altar was to be made of “whole stones,” great unhewn stones, which were to be covered over with plaster, and the law in its entirety was to be written on them.

Again, didrect reference is made to these events in the book of Deuteronomy:

After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to testify against them. For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and provoke him to anger by what your hands have made. (Deuteronomy 31:24-29)

Deuteronomy 27:1-8 further relates:

Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today. When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the LORD your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build there an altar to the LORD your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God. And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.”

The Book of Joshua, chapter 8, verses 30-35, recounts Joshua’s carrying out of Moses’ instructions:

Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses – an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written. All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it – the priests, who were Levites. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.

Afterwards, Joshua read all the words of the law – the blessings and the curses – just as it is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

Having distinguished between the two laws that were given on Mount Sinai, let’s now return to the NT for additional clarification.

Remember Jesus’ words from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 5? “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Law and the Prophets, in the religion of Judaism at the time Jesus spoke these words, meant essentially what we know as the OT writings.

The Law consisted of the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The Prophets included not only the latter prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which we call the Major Prophets, but also the twelve Minor Prophets (lumped together by the Jews as “the Book of the Twelve” – and also the Former Prophets – that is, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings.

Taken together, “the Law” and “the Prophets” designated the entire OT, including “the Writings,” the third section of the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus said He had come, not to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill all that had been written about Him in them.

He went on to say that not the least thing would disappear from them “until everything is accomplished.”

What did Jesus mean by that? Until what was accomplished?

The Apostle Paul, we believe, clearly answered that question in his letter to the Colossians, chapter 2, verses 13-15: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross!

Paul was making reference to the “written code, with its regulations,” or the Law of Moses, being canceled, not God’s Ten Commandments.

This is further clarified by the continuation of Paul’s thought in the following verses, in which he alludes to various ceremonial laws of the OT, not the Ten Commandments:

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Please take note that Paul’s mention of “a Sabbath day” was not in reference to God’s seventh-day weekly Sabbath. Rather, Paul was talking about other special days that God had designated as Sabbaths in connection with the various Hebrew religious observances, or feasts, which God had established through Moses.

Click into our next segment for a NT example of one such special Sabbath.

Sabbath – 4

Exactly when the first Christians stopped observing God’s seventh day Sabbath as a Holy day is uncertain, but as we have previously stated, we believe it occurred sometime after the beginning of the second century AD- that is, sometime after the year 100.

By this time, all of the original apostles, those who had walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry, had died, and other men had emerged as leaders within the Christian movement. Also by this time all the writings which now make up the Bible’s NT had been completed, although he NT as we know it had not yet been canonized.

In this segment we will begin exploring circumstances and reasons that first prompted some within the Christian movement to abandon the seventh day Sabbath and replace it with Sunday, the first day of the week, which became known as “the Lord’s Day.”

There is much information to consider as we move forward in our examination, but let us begin by simply asserting, or re-asserting our belief that the change in the day of worship adopted by many Christians, and legislated as official church doctrine centuries ago, was ordained by men, not by God.

For much of our information, we will need to turn to historical events and documents outside of the Bible itself, which contains no evidence that such a change was ever intended. It bears repeating here that Jesus himself honored the seventh day Sabbath during his earthly life and ministry, as did his apostles, including his later apostle, Paul, who famously became the “apostle to the Gentiles.”

Throughout the NT, neither Jesus nor any of his apostles ever suggested or promoted abandoning God’s seventh day Sabbath and substituting Sunday in its place.

So what happened? How did the change come about?

The first circumstance we’ll examine which in all probability influenced the eventual abandonment of God’s seventh day Sabbath can be understood from the NT itself.

As noted, in the NT book The Acts of the Apostles and in most, if not all of the Apostle Paul’s NT letters, there was a tension between Jewish converts to Christianity and Gentile converts. And this tension was enveloped within a still broader tension, between Jews who had opposed and rejected Jesus and anyone – Jew or Gentile – who had accepted Jesus but who continued to worship in the Jewish synagogues.

The simple truth was that non-Christian Jews did not want Christians in their synagogues anymore.

Because of this, around 95 or 100 A.D., a change was made in the synagogue service. The middle part of the service was known as the standing prayer, the Amida, which consisted of eighteen short prayers or blessings of God, Thanksgiving Blessings. But at this time, an additional one was added:

“May the apostates have no hope. May the dominion of wickedness be speedily uprooted in our days. May the Nazarenes and the heretics quickly perish and not be inscribed together with the righteous. Blessed art Thou, the eternal, our God, who crushes the wicked.” (1)

As you can see, this prayer – clearly directed against Christians, who were also known as Nazarene’s – created a problem for them because everyone in the assembly was supposed to say “Amen” at the end of each prayer. So it became very uncomfortable, in fact impossible, for Christians to participate in the Pharisee-led synagogue service from that time onward. (2)

Where did they go? Often they would simply gather in their various homes. But they did not abandon the Sabbath. They continued to honor and observe God’s holy day of rest.

The evidence of this synagogue prayer helps sharpen our picture of first-century Christians. It seems clear that they were keeping the Sabbath right along with their Jewish brothers. But the Jewish leadership was intolerant towards Christians; and Christians themselves were beginning to question the value of their connection to Judaism, particularly in light of increasingly strong anti-Jewish sentiment throughout the Roman Empire.

This anti-Jewish sentiment accelerated each time Jewish zealots violently rebelled against the Empire. The Roman historian Dio Cassius, in his book Roman History, described one such rebellion, which occurred in North Africa in the year 114 A.D.:

“The Jews in the region of Cyrene had put a certain Andreas at their head, and were destroying both the Romans and the Greeks… . Many they sawed in two, from the head downwards; others they gave to the wild beasts, and still others they forced to fight as gladiators. In all two hundred and twenty thousand persons perished. In Egypt, too, they perpetrated many similar outrages, and in Cypress…” (3)

A few years later, in 132 A.D., Jewish opposition to imperial authority exploded into another violent revolt – the Bar Kochba uprising – this time in Jerusalem.

Historians attribute two reasons for the Bar Kochba uprising. First, the prohibition by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, against circumcision. Second, the decision by Haddrian to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city, the city of Aelia Capitolina. (4)

Imperial forces finally crushed the rebellion in 135 A.D. Thereafter, Emperor Hadrian banned all Jews from Jerusalem and prohibited Sabbath keeping and other Jewish rites of religion. (5)

Within the context of the times, it is easy to see why some Christians and their leaders may have found it desirable and perhaps expedient to disassociate themselves from the Jews by renouncing the Sabbath, which was a primary mark of Jewishness.

Tension unfortunately also existed within the Christian movement itself.

The carrying of the gospel, or “good news,” to the Gentiles was what might be described as a watershed moment in Christianity. Gentiles, or non-Jews, very often were without a full understanding of Judaism. In addition, Gentiles commonly had adopted pagan practices that were pervasive among the plurality of cultures and ethnicities encompassed within the Empire.

Some Jewish converts to Christianity insisted that Gentile converts conform to the many long-established regulations contained in their compilation of laws, known as the Law of Moses.

These strict traditionalists, often referred to in NT writings as “Judaizers,” adamantly insisted that all male Gentile converts be circumcised and that Jewish and Gentile converts alike adhere to the Mosaic Law.

The Apostle Paul, however, refuted the demands of the Judaizers. Paul profoundly stated in one of his NT letters that God had “canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)

This brings us to a pivotal point in our discussion of how and why God’s seventh day Sabbath was abandoned.

Was the Sabbath merely a part of the written code that Paul referred to in his letter? If so, had it been abolished? If not, then what was Paul referring to?

Click into our next segment to continue.


(1) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 6.

(2) Ibid.

(3) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. Dio Cassius, Roman History 68 <*.html [Accessed March 24, 2005]; see also Eusebius Pamphilus, “The Church History f Eusebius, Book IV, Chapter II”, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. I. <> [Accessed March 24, 2005]

(4) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of HIstory. LLT Productions, 2004. Transcript. Part 2. Chapter 6.

(5) The Seventh Day. Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. LLT Productions, 2004. “The Bar-Kokhba Revolt.” Jewish Virtual Library from The Amirican-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. [Accessed March 28, 2005].

Sabbath – 3

It shouldn’t surprise us that God infused Christianity with a supernatural Spiritual boost at the moment of its inception, that being on Pentecost Day, the fiftieth day after the Sabbath of Passover week. Pentecost day marked the beginning of a week-long religious observance of the Jewish people, known as the Feast of Pentecost, but also as the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Harvest. Such observances were times of gathering together for large numbers of inhabitants and pilgrim travelers. Jesus had returned to heaven, but on this Pentecost day the Holy Spirit that He had promised came miraculously upon His followers in Jerusalem. It began a wondrous time of many astounding supernatural occurrences which gave great hope to the oppressed.

Why would God send this miraculous infusion of the Holy Spirit? Well, perhaps because from as far back as the creation of the first man and woman, a great battle between good and evil has existed. Consequently, from its very beginning, Christianity was bound to be resisted, and often severely persecuted, by evil elements within the world.

The Christian evangelist Paul, who himself began as a staunch opponent and persecutor of Christians, but whom Christ transformed into one of Christianity’s most prolific missionaries, wrote in one of his letters to the churches: “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Paul was acknowledging that a struggle between good and evil perpetually exists in the world, a struggle which at its heart is not only physical and intellectual, but supernatural as well.

Suffice it to say that Christianity, from its very inception, has been under attack by the forces of evil in the world; and the attack has had an effect, as can be sadly evidenced by the many different factions, frauds, and fractures that dot the vast landscape of Church history.

But what were the practices of the earliest Christians concerning the seventh day, or Sabbath?

It is certainly true that Christianity, in a sense, was born out of the Hebrew legacy and, in particular, out of Judaism. Jesus Himself was a Jew, meaning that his lineage was of the tribe of Judah, and many or most of the very earliest Christians were converts from Judaism. But it goes without saying that not all Jews converted to Christianity.

In fact, the first persecution against the Christian faith began in Jerusalem, headquarters of the Jewish faith, the day on which a crowd of angry Jews stoned to death a Christian evangelist named Stephen.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. (Acts 8:1-4)

So, these earliest converts to Christianity, these believers in and followers of Jesus the Christ, went about spreading the gospel, which means “good news,” everywhere they went. And it was only a matter of time before Gentiles – that is, non-Jews – began to show an interest in “the Way,” this revolutionary, spiritual movement replete with supernatural occurrences which infused hope among the common people of the Roman Empire, especially the poor and the oppressed.

Where did the early Christians worship? The NT seems to indicate that they continued to assemble for worship with the Jews in the Synagogues on the weekly Sabbath. The very first Christians were Jews, so that had been their lifelong practice. Christians – both Jewish and Gentile converts – met, huddled, and fellowshipped at other places and times as well, of course. But the Sabbath was still the Sabbath, still considered God’s Holy day of rest.

From the time of Paul’s miraculous conversion and throughout his Christian life, both before and after God appointed him to carry the “gospel” to the Gentiles, he observed the weekly Sabbath.

Examples of this are found throughout the NT.

In his Acts of the Apostles, Luke provides the following account:

When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish Synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. (Acts 17:1-4)

Luke further relates in that same chapter, While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.

In Corinth, Luke reports concerning Paul, Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Not only was the Jewish synagogue a practical place to seek converts, Paul’s desire and practice then and throughout his life undoubtedly was to honor and observe God’s seventh day Sabbath.

Paul would later write in his treatise to the church at Rome: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

There is no indication throughout the NT that the apostle Paul, his fellow apostles or early Christians in general within the communities where Paul evangelized abandoned the practice of observing the seventh day Sabbath. It is certainly implausible, given the absence of any statement by Jesus or his apostles dismissing the seventh day Sabbath, that such a revocation occurred or was ever intended.

Since the NT writings were not completed until near the beginning of the second century, that is, the year 100 A.D., we can assume that most if not all early Christians were still observing the seventh day Sabbath until then.

In our next segment, we will begin to investigate the events and circumstances that led to the unfortunate abandonment by many, and ultimately most Christians, of the observance of the seventh day Sabbath, God’s Holy day of rest.

Sabbath – 2

What do we learn about the seventh day, that is, the Sabbath, from the New Testament (NT)? Did things change? After all, doesn’t the NT document the establishment of a New Covenant, different from the Old? Those are a couple of questions to consider.

Yes, there were indeed changes, the most compelling of which was the birth and life of Jesus of Nazareth – Messiah – Christ – the Son of Man. Having been foretold or prophesied by the Old Testament, His purpose was to be crucified for the sins of humanity, to be resurrected back to life, reunited with God his Father , and ultimately (someday) to return and judge Earth’s inhabitants, both the living and the resurrected dead. To the righteous He will grant immortality and a home in His eternal kingdom, where God the Father will be all in all. To the wicked He will grant eternal death.

Yes, change occurred, is occurring now, and will occur in the future.

But what, we may ask, was Jesus the Messiah’s practice and teaching concerning the Sabbath when He ministered on the Earth?

The NT confirms that Jesus, even though He said that He Himself was Lord of the Sabbath, honored and observed the Sabbath throughout His life.

Ironically, the religious authorities of the time repeatedly accused Him of breaking the Sabbath law, but in truth Jesus merely was challenging the many radical restrictions religious leaders had imposed concerning the Sabbath over the course of many years.

One Sabbath, according to Mark’s gospel, Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (Mark 2:23 – 3:5)

Matthew’s gospel quotes these words of Jesus: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

As an Israelite and, more particularly, as a Jew, and still more rightly as the Lord of the Sabbath, it should be no surprise to us that Jesus honored and observed the seventh day, declared Holy since the time of creation. But He had no respect for those who had made it into something it was not intended to be.

Throughout the NT we find Jesus regularly observing the Sabbath. Luke’s gospel records the following occasion in which Jesus traveled back to the town he grew up in, Nazareth:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:14-21)

When the resurrected Jesus left this earth to return to His Father in heaven, He told His disciples:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Although Jesus challenged the oppressive restrictions religious leaders had imposed concerning Sabbath observance, Jesus is never recorded in the Bible as ever having said that the Sabbath Day was no longer Holy, or that the day had been annulled or changed from its original purpose.

No, it seems apparent that on the day Jesus left the earth to return to His Father in Heaven, the Sabbath was still intact, still Holy, as it had been from the time of creation.

Soon, in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the first members of “the Way,” God’s unstoppable supernatural movement that would become known as Christianity.

In our next segment, we will look into the practice of those earliest Christians and Christian evangelists concerning the seventh day, God’s weekly Sabbath.

Sabbath – 1

Welcome. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you believe in God, and perhaps you also believe that the Christian Bible is God’s written revelation to humanity. Maybe you also believe that the seventh day of each week – the Sabbath – is a special day, declared holy by God as a gift to all humanity – named Saturday after the Roman designation of centuries past. Or perhaps you are just curious about the Sabbath, about why some Christians worship God on that day, rather than on Sunday.

This series is intended (1) to explain what we believe about God’s Sabbath; (2) to lay out in adequate detail the bases for our beliefs; and (3) to explain why so many Christians around the world today – and for many centuries past – attach no particular significance to the seventh day as a day declared holy by God.

Since the best place to start is usually at the beginning, we’ll start with the account of creation in the Bible in the book of beginnings – Genesis – where we are told that God created the universe over the span of six nights and days. Without quibbling over the actual length of those original nights and days – after all, the Bible also informs us that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day – we can in any case concede that the language of Genesis, which of course is meant to be understood by humans, is representative of what we humans experience as 24-hour cycles composed of daylight and darkness.

Genesis chapter 2, verses 3 and 3 inform us: By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (All scripture quotations will be from the New International Version of the Christian Bible.)

From those verses we conclude that virtually from the beginning God, the creator of the universe, established the seventh day as holy and as a day of rest.

Fast forward to the half-way point of Exodus, the second book in the Bible, and we find the creation of what we know as God’s Ten Commandments, written, the Bible informs us, on two stone tablets by God Himself with his own finger atop Mount Sinai on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

The fourth of the Commandments pertains to the Sabbath day. Quoting from Exodus chapter 20, verses 8-11:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath Day and made it holy.

God would later declare to Moses that the Sabbath will be a lasting sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested. (Exodus 31:17)

From these Bible passages we believe that all people everywhere who worship the One True God – the creator of the world – have been called from the very beginning to observe this special day – the Sabbath – as a Holy day and a day of rest based on God’s personal declaration.

Although God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were not always faithful, the status of the seventh day – the Sabbath – as a Holy day of rest did not change throughout the tumultuous events of history recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible.

In our next presentation, we will examine the Sabbath as it was observed in the time of Jesus and in the earliest decades of Christianity as recorded in the New Testament. Were God’s commands annulled? Or is the seventh day still Holy, even today?