Monday, July 9, 2012
Yesterday I ran into a Sabbatarian on G+. If you are not familiar with Sabbatarianism, it is the notion that is a Christian belief in the nature of and the observance of the Jewish Sabbath as the the Day of Rest. Sabbatarians have observed various Jewish traditions related to the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday rather than the Christian Sunday. Sabbatarianism developed out of the Radical Reformation, and was most popular in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
I am familiar with the term and the manner in which they conduct worship but I was unprepared for the barrage of hostility which was shoved down my throat. I don't think I handled it too well. He is not talking to me now. :-)
Any way, while researching this I came across some good information on the reasons why we worship on Sunday instead of Saturday. The Sabbatarian tried to make the point that we are not following God's Commands when we worship on Sunday and that this made us all law breakers and somehow associated with Satan. A serious charge to be sure. But in doing research for this, I thought I would share some insights which might help me in the future...and maybe you too if you are ever accosted by a Sabbatarian who is as hostile as this one was.
Now mind you, I do not believe that we are even required to worship on a Sunday. However, I think it is necessary to set aside at least one day of week to do this. Most of the world of Christianity does use Sunday, but there are some who use Saturday and as long as they do not try to make a link to some notion that we are going to hell because we are not following the Law of God on this, I don't have issue with it. Certainly, there are Christians who sometimes cannot worship on Sunday because of duties. Soldiers, doctors, nurses, police, Fire and the like. I do not think Jesus condemns anyone for not worshiping on a particular day, it is just that most have decided Sunday is the best day to do this and here are some reasons why.
Why we worship on Sunday:
1) Jesus rose on a Sunday
This is undeniable, since Mark 16:9 clearly declares,
"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week…"
Since Jesus rose on a Sunday it would be reasonable for the early church to commemorate the event by worshiping on a Sunday. For almost 2000 years Christians all over the world have been worshiping on Sunday, because, among other reasons, it is the day of our Lord’s resurrection.
2) The Church was 'born' on a Sunday
The Holy Spirit was poured out on Sunday, not on the Jewish
Saturday sabbath. Pentecost was reckoned as the fiftieth day from the “morrow after the sabbath” (Lev.23:11,15). This would be the day following the first sabbath (i.e., Sunday) after the Passover.
Sunday, the Lord’s Day, holds special significance to the Christian not only because of Jesus’ resurrection on that day, but because the church itself was born on that day.
3) No Sabbath command in the New Testament
I assume that if God wanted His church to observe the Jewish sabbath, He
would have communicated this to us, at least somewhere in the 27 books of the New Testament, we could find the mandate to “keep the sabbath” if it were important to Him and binding upon us. There was ample opportunity for a sabbath ordinance to be mandated to the church if it were in God’s scheme of things. In fact, the entire 15th chapter of Acts is dedicated to addressing this and no where is the Gentile church told of observe the Sabbath.
And the final point I would like to make is this:
4) Jesus has canceled the Sabbath
The words used in John 5:18 to describe exactly what Jesus did are extremely
And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him,
because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered
them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought
the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but
said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God (John
The expression, “he (Jesus) had broken the sabbath” actually declares that Jesus had done nothing less than cancel the sabbath commandment!
There are other reasons to be sure, but I believe these cover the main points. Again, if you worship on another day...fine with me. Just as long as you do not try to bring the Law into it, we are fine. After all, Jesus died so he could fulfill the Law...once and for all!