What does Mathew 5:17,18 truly mean when it is correctly interpreted in the light of the whole word of Almighty God?
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
There are basically two extreme interpretations of this passage of scripture that are on the opposite ends of the scale and these two interpretations have caused DIVISION in the body of Jesus Christ where neither side seems to care what the other side has to say in order to reconcile this division.
On the one side are Christians that I will call Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians, who INTERPRET this passage of scripture to mean that NONE of the LAW of Moses has been abolished, because Jesus plainly stated that he did NOT come to abolish the LAW.
And on the other side are Christians that I will call saved by grace alone Christians, who INTERPRET this passage of scripture to mean that ALL the LAW of Moses has been done away with, because Jesus plainly stated that he came to fulfill the LAW.
So which side has the CORRECT INTERPRETATION?
Well that is the WHOLE problem. The root cause of this whole controversy is that fact that other sincere true born again Christians like myself, who do not hold to EITHER interpretation, are being compelled to take sides, when we ourselves clearly see that BOTH sides have gone too far to the EXTREME in their own personal interpretation of this passage of scripture.
I have said many times that any verse or verse when taken out of context and viewed alone and apart from the rest of God's word may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying, or may MADE to say something that it was not ever INTENDED to say.
In other words, whatever one INTERPRETS a verse or passage of scripture to mean, then that INTERPRETATION must AGREE with ALL of God's word having NO contradictions to ANY other part of God's word.
And if that interpretation is found to contradict any other part of God's word, then that interpretation is NOT the CORRECT interpretation and one has read INTO that verse or passage of scripture their OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATION.
Now I myself find BOTH of the above interpretations to be of one's OWN PERSONAL interpretation.
To say this another way, BOTH the Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians AND the saved by grace alone Christians have read INTO this passage of scripture their OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATION, which the Bible ITSELF teaches that we are NOT to do.
Please read 2 Peter 1:20,21.
“ Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of ANY PRIVATE interpretation.
21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the WILL of MAN: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Thus, it is NOT what, or the WILL OF Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians WANT or desire this passage of scripture to mean, but rather it is what Almighty God the Father HIMSELF wills or INTENDS this passage of scripture to mean in the LIGHT of his WHOLE word of truth.
And it is NOT what, or the WILL OF saved by grace alone Christians WANT or desire this passage of scripture to mean, but rather it is what Almighty God the Father HIMSELF wills or INTENDS this passage of scripture to mean in the LIGHT of his WHOLE word of truth.
So then, if BOTH of these interpretations are NOT SOUND Biblical interpretations, because they CONTRADICT other parts of God's word, then what is the one true correct sound BIBLICAL meaning of this passage of scripture?
That is the purpose of this study in God's word and prayerfully BOTH sides with see their ERROR of their own personal interpretation and repent of making a lie, so that we all speak the same things in unity and in love. Amen.
Let us begin this study in God's word by first reading the ENTIRE context to see what Jesus is actually teaching us here in Matthew 5:17,18, and then we will do deeper into the meanings of the Greek words translated as “destroy” and as “fulfill”, when the CONTEXT and the REST of God's word is keep in VIEW. This is the problem will all false teachings. They do NOT keep in VIEW the rest of God's word, but rather hand select only those verses that SEEM to support what they teach.
Please read Matthew 5:1-48, which most Christians know as the sermon on the Mount.
“ And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for MY SAKE.
12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13. You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may SEE your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (In the above verses we see that Jesus is teaching us about the INNER man where TRUE works of righteousness have to be WITHIN a person before they can SHINE outward to the world. Then we see in verse 11 that Jesus is prophesying of a future persecution where those, who believe on and follow the teachings of Jesus will be PERSECUTED for HIS name's sake. They out of the blue Jesus seems to perceive that the people are questioning why Jesus said, “Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for MY SAKE.”, and that he said nothing about keeping the law of Moses as the means to enter the kingdom of God? Then Jesus says. )
17. THINK NOT (So here we know that Jesus perceived that they were THINKING about the law of Moses. So Jesus says, THINK NOT) that I am come to DESTROY the law, OR the PROPHETS: I am NOT come to DESTROY (EITHER the law of Moses NOR am I come to DESTROY the PROPHETS), but (I am come) TO FULFILL.(the LAW of Moses AND the PROPHETS)
18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till ALL be FULFILLED.
19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of THESE least commandments (The commandments or instructions, or precepts, or directions that Jesus just TAUGHT to them and us in verses 2-16. The word translated as commandments also means teachings, instructions, directions and does not always refer ONLY to the law of Moses and must therefore be interpreted ONLY mean the law of Moses as seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians dogmatically demand. There is MORE to the LAW than just the LAW that Jesus wants us to see in this passage of the scripture. He wants us to see and UNDERSTAND the JOTS and the TITTLES. So the FOCUS in the first half of this passage of scripture is on THESE least instructions that Jesus just gave to us in verses 2-16 that we are NOT to be left undone), and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach THEM (verses 2-16 INCLUDING verse 11 for MY name's SAKE), the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20. For I say unto you, That EXCEPT YOUR righteousness shall EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.(not you keeping of the LAW of Moses exceed the keeping of the LAW of Moses of the scribes and Pharisees, but rather Except YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees you shall in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven. Then below Jesus adds over and above righteousness of what the Law of Moses required.)
21. You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, you fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you;
24. Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
25. Agree with your adversary quickly, whiles you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.
26. Verily I say unto you, You shall by no means come out thence, till you have paid the uttermost farthing.
27. You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29. And if your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.
30. And if your right hand offend you, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.
31. It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32. But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
33. Again, you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not forswear yourself, but shall perform unto the Lord your oaths:
34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36. Neither shall you swear by your head, because you can not make one hair white or black.
37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil.
38. You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39. But I say unto you, That you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40. And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.
41. And whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him twain.
42. Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away.
43. You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.
44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46. For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?
47. And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48. Be you therefore PERFECT, EVEN AS your Father which is in heaven is PERFECT.”
So then, by this one passage of scripture alone we can clearly see that the saved by grace ALONE Christians do NOT have the CORRECT interpretation of the word “FULFILLED” where they claim it means that Jesus fulfilled ALL the Law of Moses FOR US, and THEREFORE we, as Christians do NOT have to keep ANY of the LAW of Moses written in the OLD Testament under the OLD covenant.
BUT at the SAME time we can ALSO clearly see that Jesus is teaching us here that "the what" that is HIDDEN IN or WITHIN the LAW of Moses will not be passed by or be overlooked and thus not be FULFILLED.
So again this means that BOTH sides have read INTO Matthew 5:17,18 their OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATION.
Now PART of what the saved by grace alone Christians teach is true, but they go TOO FAR to the EXTREME by saying that since Jesus FULFILLED the law of Moses FOR us, then we do not have to keep ANY of he law of Moses. That is going too far to the extreme.
And the SAME is true of Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians going TOO FAR to the EXTREME on the other end of the scale by reading into these words of Jesus their OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATION that we, as Christians, MUST KEEP ALL the LAW of MOSES in order to please God and be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
NEITHER side considers and KEEPS IN VIEW the rest of God's word, while they are interpreting Matthew 5:17,18. They are not even TRYING to see the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God, because they THINK that they already have the truth. But THEIR truth CONTRADICTS other parts of God's word so it cannot be God's TRUTH.
The great apostle Peter himself said in Acts 15:10-12 that none of the Jews in that day nor none of the Jews before them were ABLE to BEAR the LAW of Moses.
“Now therefore why TEMPT YOU GOD, to put a YOKE upon the neck of the disciples, which NEITHER our fathers NOR WE were ABLE TO BEAR?
11. But WE (the apostles of Jesus Christ) believe that through the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, EVEN AS THEY.
12. Then all the multitude KEPT silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.”
Now before Peter stood up by the Holy Spirit and spoke these words, instructions, precepts, teachings or COMMANDMENTS of Yahweh himself there was much DISPUTING or debate among them.
The CONTEXT teaches us that Paul and Barnabas were teaching that the ORDINANCES in the law and prophets had been ABOLISHED and no longer BINDING upon Christians. But some JEWS crept in unaware to spy out the LIBERTY that Paul was teaching and were compelling the Gentile Christians to be circumcised as the JEWS and to keep ALL the LAW of Moses as the JEWS in order to be saved. Paul would NOT back down from the TRUTH of the gospel of Jesus Christ and basically these Jews demanded that the matter be taken to the elders at Jerusalem. Paul agreed and when they arrived at Jerusalem they big DEBATE began and there was much disputing.
After much disputing Peter stood up and TAUGHT what the Holy Spirit was speaking to him. Then James did the same and here is what the WHOLE CHURCH AGREED upon as to what the Holy Spirit was teaching them at that point in time.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8. And God, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9. And put no difference between US and them, purifying their hearts by FAITH.
10. Now therefore why TEMPT YOU GOD, to put a YOKE upon the neck of the disciples, which NEITHER our fathers NOR WE were ABLE to BEAR?
11. But WE (the apostles of Jesus Christ) believe that through the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ WE shall be saved, EVEN AS they. (Here we see that Peter is saying that he and all the Jews were saved through the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ in the same way that the Gentile believers were saved though the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is that God PURIFIED their hearts by FAITH.)
12 Then all the multitude KEPT SILENCE, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
13. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14. Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, says the Lord, who does all these things.
18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19. Wherefore MY sentence is, that we trouble NOT them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: (James agrees partly with Peter, but still feels that some of the law must be kept even if it is only to please the Jews where they will be sharing the gospel.)
20. BUT that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21. FOR (or BECAUSE) Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him (preach MOSES), being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
22. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the WHOLE church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
23. And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
24. For as much as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, You must be circumcised, AND KEEP the LAW: to whom WE gave NO such commandment:
25. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26. Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29. That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Fare you well.
30. So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:”
Matter SETTLED, you are dismissed, BUT be sure to teach the disciples to abstain from these four things and lay NO OTHER YOKE upon the Gentile Christians, because there are in every city those who preach MOSES.
Now let us go back and INTERPRET the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:17,18 in the LIGHT of this passage of scripture we just read, as well as, the LIGHT of the rest of God's word.
We ALL agree that Jesus ABOLISHED the animal sacrifices by FULFILLING the whole law of Moses above and beyond the cal of duty so to speak. Jesus came NOT to “KATALUO” the LAW OR the PROPHETS: I am come to FULFILL.
Please read Matthew 5:17 by itself.
“THINK NOT (So here we know that Jesus perceived that they were THINKING about the law of Moses. So Jesus says, THINK NOT) that I am come to DESTROY the law, OR the PROPHETS: I am NOT come to DESTROY (EITHER the law of Moses NOR am I come to DESTROY the PROPHETS), but (I am come) TO FULFILL.(the LAW of Moses AND the PROPHETS)”
Again we all agree that Jesus did indeed ABOLISH part of the ceremonial part of the LAW of Moses BY his FULFILLING PART or some of the shadows hidden in the LAW at his FIRST coming. In other words, Jesus fulfilled PART or some of those JOTS and TITTLES of the law that were the HIDDEN prophecies, shadows, types, and figures contained IN or within the LAW at his FIRST coming. These FACTS cannot be ignored.
Jesus became of Passover LAMB by FULFILLING the LAW of sacrificing animals taking their PLACE.
Please read 1 Corinthians 5:7,8.
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that YOU (your fellowship) may be a NEW lump, as you are unleavened. For (or because) even Christ OUR Passover is sacrificed for us:
8. Therefore (or for this very reason of being made pure by the shed blood of Jesus) let us KEEP the FEAST (of OUR Passover Jesus the Christ who is sacrificed for us), NOT with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Paul is teaching us here that if we come together in fellowship KNOWING that there is a fornicator among us, as if, we are ACCEPTING his SIN doing NOTHING, then we are NOT KEEPING Jesus Christ as our Passover. Paul concludes this chapter by saying,
“Therefore put away from AMONG yourselves that wicked person.”
Paul is saying how can Jesus be your Passover Lamb sacrificed for you, when you ALLOW SIN among you? Purge OUT that leaven or the wickedness from AMONG your fellowship in order to KEEP Christ as your Passover feast.
To prove that this is the CORRECT interpretation of Paul's words let us read some more of Paul's teachings in Colossians 2:4-17.
“ And this I say, lest any man should BEGUILE you with enticing words.
5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6. AS you have therefore RECEIVED Christ Jesus the Lord, SO WALK you IN HIM: (did you RECEIVE Jesus BY keeping all the LAW of Moses, OR did you RECEIVE Jesus BY your FAITH IN him as you savior?)
7. Rooted and built up in him, and established in the FAITH, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8. BEWARE lest any man SPOIL you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and NOT after Christ.
9. For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
10. And you ARE COMPLETE in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 IN whom ALSO you ARE CIRCUMCISED with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh BY the circumcision OF Christ:
12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the FAITH of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.
13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16. Let no man THEREFORE judge you in #1. meat, or in drink (the dietary laws), or #2. in respect of an holy day (the yearly feast days), or #3. of the new moon (the monthly festivals), or #4. of the Sabbath days (the WEEKLY Sabbath days):
17. Which are a SHADOW of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
You see dear child of God Jesus did not come to COMPLETELY abolish the LAW: but to FULFILL part of the SHADOWS hidden in the LAW pointing to HIM. And this is exactly one of the meanings of the Greek word “KATALUO” Strong's #2647.
This Greek word “kataluo” means to loosen down, to disintegrate, demolish, throw down, overthrown dissolve, and to destroy UTTERLY, to COMPLETELY destroy.
So then, Jesus did not come to UTTERLY or to COMPLETELY destroy the WHOLE law but he came to FULFILL PARTS of the law. Now THIS interpretation of Matthew 5:17 AGREES perfectly with the REST of God's word WITHOUT ANY contradictions.
Now let us read Matthew 5:18
“For verily I say unto you, TILL heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass (or in no way will be passed over) from the law, TILL ALL (the jots and tittles of hidden prophecy concerning ME shall) be fulfilled.”
Jesus FULFILLED some of those jots and tittles of hidden shadows point to him at his FIRST coming and he will fulfill even more at his SECOND coming, but not ALL of those jots and tittles will be COMPLETELY FULFILLED until the END of the 1000 year reign of Jesus, which is WHEN the heaven and earth will pass away.
Now if one interprets these words of Jesus to mean that he did not abolish ANY of the law because not one jot of tittle will PASS UNTIL heaven and earth pass away, then they MUST be consistent and say that ALL the law of God WILL indeed pass away WHEN heaven and earth passes away. And we know that that cannot be correct.
For a deeper understanding on this subject please read the following studies:
Please read all the studies linked within this study and all the studies linked below. This study was just the TIP of the iceberg of exposing the ERRORS of interpretation made by the Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping churches, and the Sunday first day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians.
Some CLAIM the the early church kept the Sabbath as the Jews, but I assure you that the early first century church were accustomed to gathering together BEFORE the light of day break on the FIRST day of the week that THEY called the Lord's day.
Here is a NON BIAS historical account found in a letter from Pliny the Younger to Trojan concerning the Christians.
Pliny was a Roman who persecuted and killed Christians, so again this is a historical NON BIAS account of WHEN Christians gathered together.
Here is what Pliny says in his letter to Trajan. The EMPHASIS and comments are mine:
“That they were WONT (or as they were ACCUSTOMED and USED to do, or in the HABIT of doing), on a STATED day (or on a CERTAIN preset day), to meet together BEFORE IT WAS LIGHT, and to sing a hymn to Christ, as to a god, alternately; and to oblige themselves by a sacrament [or oath], not to do anything that was ill: but that they would commit no theft, or pilfering, or adultery; that they would not break their promises, or deny what was deposited with them, when it was required back again; after which it was their CUSTOM to depart, AND to meet AGAIN at a common but innocent meal,(so after the hard worship service early morning beginning before day light they would depart and they come back together later that same to to share a common simple meal together, and most likely break bread together as other early church writers give more detail) which they had left off upon that edict which I published at your command, and wherein I had forbidden any such conventicles (or religious meetings).”
Below are some quotes of early church writers that clearly teach us that the early church did NOT keep the Sabbath day, as in, on SATURDAY, the 7th day of the week, but rather the early church throughout history from it's beginning worshiped God on SUNDAY the FIRST day of the week, which is sometimes referred to as the EIGHTH day of the week or the day AFTER the Sabbath day, or the LORD'S DAY.
(The emphasis is mine in these quotes given below):
The date is given first and the source is given at the end.
Quote number #:
#1. 90 AD DIDACHE:
"Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day:
1. But every Lord's day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.
2. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned.
3. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations." (Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Chapter XIV)
#2. 100 AD BARNABAS:
"We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead" (The Epistle of Barnabas, 100 AD 15:6-8).
#3. 100 AD BARNABAS:
Moreover God says to the Jews, 'Your new moons and Sabbaths I cannot endure.' You see how he says, 'The present Sabbaths are not acceptable to me, but the Sabbath which I have made in which, when I have rested [heaven: Heb 4] from all things, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world.' Wherefore we Christians keep the eighth day for joy, on which also Jesus arose from the dead and when he appeared ascended into heaven. (15:8f, The Epistle of Barnabas, 100 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, pg. 147)
#4. 110 AD Pliny:
They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath not to (do) any wicked deeds, never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of good food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. (About three years after the death of Ignatius in 250, an important official communication was sent from one Pliny to Trajan the Roman emperor. Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, wrote of the Christians who had been congregating there probably from at least A.D. 62 onwards. In this remarkable it is explicitly stated that these early Christians observed the substance of most of the Ten Commandments, and it is implied that they observed all ten as far as they were able to do so. As far as they were able, for as most of the early Christians were of slave stock or from other lower classes'-, and those who had heathen masters or employers—the vast majority—would be forced to work on THEIR day of rest, which was unfortunately an official working day throughout the empires' until Constantine's "Sabbath" Edict in 321 A.D. gave them some measure of public protection. Hence one reads that after meeting "on a certain FIXED day before it was light", the first century Bithynian Christians had "to separate"—many of them having to labour for their masters and/or employers from dawn to dusk—"and then reassemble to partake of . . . food". The "certain fixed day" [stato die"'] on which the Christians met, is regarded by Seventh-day Adventists as Saturday'-. Certainly the expression would seem to indicate a regular day of meeting, probably each week. But Sunday is FAR more likely to have been the "certain fixed day" than Saturday. For if Pliny had been referring to the old Saturday Sabbath, as a Roman he would doubtless have referred to the "later" meeting first and only then to the morning meeting on the day after the "certain fixed day", seeing that the old Saturday Sabbath was demarcated from the evening of one day to the evening of the following day. But Pliny makes no such reference. Instead, he mentions that the pre-dawn meeting took place first—and only after wards the later meeting; and that both meetings took place on the SAME "certain fixed day". This rather points to the Roman (and—more importantly!—New Testament) midnight to midnight demarcation of modern Sunday-keepers than to the evening to evening demarcation of the Jews and the Seventh-day Adventists. (The Covenantial Sabbath, Francis Nigel Lee, Pg 242)
Also I myself will further add to the comment of the writer above that mere common sense plainly teaches us that Pliny was clearly speaking of SUNDAY, because the LAW that Constantine passed was not to mandate work on SUNDAY so that these Christians could worship God on SUNDAY. So the CLAIM by the Seventh Day Advent church that the fixed day of worship for Christians was a Saturday is FALSE. Other wise Constantine would have made it a law the employers allowed Christians off for work on a Saturday rather than on a Sunday.
This PROVES beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Christians were ALREADY worshiping God on SUNDAY the FIRST DAY of the week from the very beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost. The truth of the matter is that Constantine only made it easier for Christians to worship God on Sunday without being persecuted by their employers or owners by passing the EDICT making it a LAW to force heathen employers to let their employees have at least some time off from work so that they could worship God on SUNDAY.
Every Sabbath keeper will AGREE that Constantine's "SABBATH" is referring to SUNDAY as the day of the week and NOT as Saturday being the REST for Christians. Again all the Constantine did was to pass a law making it EASIER fro Christian to worship on the DAY that they had ALREADY been worshiping on since the very beginning at the DAY of PENTECOST, which is on SUNDAY the FIRST day of the week that Christian called the LORD'S day the day our Lord rose from the grave.
Open your EYES dear child of God and read what these early church writings are teaching us about the EARLIEST believers as to which day the early church worshiped God. SUNDAY has ALWAYS been the Sabbath or the day of REST of the early church and the church throughout it's entire history.
#5. 150 AD EPISTLE OF THE APOSTLES:
- I [Christ] have come into being on the eighth day which is the day of the Lord. (18)
#6. 150 AD JUSTIN:
"He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us, who in every place offer sacrifices to Him, i.e., the bread of the Eucharist, and also the cup of the Eucharist, affirming both that we glorify His name, and that you profane [it]. The command of circumcision, again, bidding [them] always circumcise the children on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision, by which we are circumcised from deceit and iniquity through Him who rose from the dead on the first day AFTER the Sabbath, [namely through] our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first day after the Sabbath, remaining the first of all the days, is called, however, the eighth, according to the number of all the days of the cycle, and [yet] remains the first.". (Justin, Dialogue 41:4)
#7. 150 AD JUSTIN:
...those who have persecuted and do persecute Christ, if they do not repent, shall not inherit anything on the holy mountain. But the Gentiles, who have believed on Him, and have repented of the sins which they have committed, they shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs and the prophets, and the just men who are descended from Jacob, even although theyneither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts. Assuredly they shall receive the holy inheritance of God. (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 207)
#8. 150 AD JUSTIN:
But if we do not admit this, we shall be liable to fall into foolish opinion, as if it were not the same God who existed in the times of Enoch and all the rest, who neither were circumcised after the flesh, nor observed Sabbaths, nor any other rites, seeing that Moses enjoined such observances... For if there was no need of circumcision before Abraham, or of the observance of Sabbaths, of feasts and sacrifices, before Moses; no more need is there of them now, after that, according to the will of God, Jesus Christ the Son of God has been born without sin, of a virgin sprung from the stock of Abraham. (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 206)
#9. 150 AD JUSTIN:
Moreover, all those righteous men already mentioned [after mentioning Adam. Abel, Enoch, Lot, Noah, Melchizedek, and Abraham], though they kept no Sabbaths, were pleasing to God; and after them Abraham with all his descendants until Moses... And you [fleshly Jews] were commanded to keep Sabbaths, that you might retain the memorial of God. For His word makes this announcement, saying, "That you may know that I am God who redeemed you." (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 204)
#10. 150 AD JUSTIN:
There is no other thing for which you blame us, my friends, is there than this? That we do not live according to the Law, nor, are we circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers, nor do we observe the Sabbath as you do. (Dialogue with Trypho 10:1. In verse 3 the Jew Trypho acknowledges that Christians 'do not keep the Sabbath.')
#11. 155 AD Justin Martyr:
"[W]e too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what REASON they were enjoined [on] you--namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your heart. . . . [H]ow is it, Trypho, that we would not observethose rites which do not harm us--I speak of fleshly circumcision AND Sabbaths AND feasts? . . . God enjoined you [Jews] to keep the Sabbath,and impose on you other precepts for a sign, as I have already said, on account of your unrighteousness and that of your fathers" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 18, 21).
#12. 180 AD ACTS OF PETER:
- Paul had often contended with the Jewish teachers and had confuted them, saying 'it is Christ on whom your fathers laid hands. He abolished their Sabbath and fasts and festivals and circumcision.' (1: I)-2
#13. 180 AD GOSPEL OF PETER:
Early in the morning when (the Sabbath dawned, a multitude from Jerusalem and the surrounding country came to see the scaled sepulchre. In the night in which the Lord's day dawned, while the soldiers in pairs for each watch were keeping guard, a great voice came from heaven. [There follows an account of the resurrection. Early in the morning of the Lord's day Mary Magdalene, a disciple of the Lord .... came to the sepulchre. (9:34f.; 12:50f.)
#14. 190 AD CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA:
(in commenting on each of the Ten Commandments and their Christian meaning:) The seventh day is proclaimed a day of rest, PREPARING by abstention from evil FOR the Primal day, our TRUE rest. (Ibid. VII. xvi. 138.1)
I will add that the meaning of the word "Primal" means an "ARCHETYPAL", which means an original TYPE pointing to the TRUE. So this early church writer is saying what Paul teaches us in scripture that the things in the OLD Testament are TYPES and SHADOWS or the TRUE which was to come. Jesus became our SABBATH, and we have entered into our REST being in Jesus Christ. The SABBATH was an ARCHETYPAL pointing toward our TRUE REST which was to come being FULFILLED in the ATONEMENT of Jesus.
#15. 190 AD CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA:
He does the commandment according to the Gospel and keeps the Lord's day, whenever he puts away an evil mind . . . glorifying the Lord's resurrection in himself. (Ibid. Vii.xii.76.4)
#16. 190 AD CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA:
Plato prophetically speaks of the Lord's day in the tenth book of the Republic, in these words: 'And when seven days have passed to each of them in the meadow, on the eighth they must go on." (Miscellanies V.xiv.106.2)
#17. 200 AD BARDESANES:
Wherever we are, we are all called after the one name of Christ Christians. On one day, the first of the week, we assemble ourselves together (On Fate)
#18. 200 AD TERTULLIAN:
"We solemnize the day AFTER Saturday in contradistinction to those who call this day their Sabbath" (Tertullian's Apology, Ch 16)
In other words, Tertullian is saying that we Christians DISTINGUISH us from the JEWS who hold Saturday as THEIR Sabbath by solemnizing or reverencing the day AFTER Saturday as our day of worship and rest.
#19. 200 AD TERTULLIAN:
It follows, accordingly, that, in so far as the abolition of carnal circumcision and of the old law is demonstrated as having been consummated at its specific times, so ALSO the observance of the Sabbath is demonstrated to have been temporary. (An Answer to the Jews 4:1, Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, page 155)
#20. 200 AD TERTULLIAN:
Let him who contends that the Sabbath is still to be observed a balm of salvation, and circumcision on the eighth day because of threat of death, teach us that in earliest times righteous men kept Sabbath or practiced circumcision, and so were made friends of God. .. ...Therefore, since God originated Adam uncircumcised, and inobservant of the Sabbath, consequently his offspring also, Abel, offering Him sacrifices, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was by Him commended... Noah also, uncircumcised - yes, and inobservant of the Sabbath - God freed from the deluge. For Enoch, too, most righteous man, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, He translated from this world... Melchizedek also, "the priest of most high God," uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was chosen to the priesthood of God. (An Answer to the Jews 2:10; 4:1, Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, page 153)
#21. 200 AD TERTULLIAN:
Others . . . suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is well-known that we regard Sunday as a day of joy. (To the Nations 1: 133)
Keep in mind that this was well BEFORE Constantine SUPPOSEDLY CHANGED the day of rest and worship to SUNday as the Seventh Day Adventist church CLAIMS. But it TRUTH Christians had ALREADY been worshiping God on SUNDAY, the FIRST day of the week that they also called the LORD'S day, the day that our Lord and savior Jesus rose from the dead.
So as early as Tertullian in 200 AD there were groups of JEWS and Christian JEWS who ASSUMED or who SUPPOSED, or who FALSELY ACCUSED Christians for worshiping God on SUNDAY that they were worshiping a sun god and not the true God.
#22. 200 AD TERTULLIAN:
To us Sabbaths are foreign. (On Idolatry, 14:6)4
#23. 220 AD ORIGEN:
"On Sunday none of the actions of the world should be done. If then, you abstain from all the works of this world and keep yourselves free for spiritual things, go to church, listen to the readings and divine homilies, meditate on heavenly things. (Homil. 23 in Numeros 4, PG 12:749)
#24. 220 AD Origen:
"Hence it is not possible that the [day of] rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh [day] of our God. On the contrary, it is our Savior who, after the pattern of his own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of his death, and hence also of his resurrection" (Commentary on John 2:28).
#25. 225 AD The Didascalia:
"The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation, because on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven" (Didascalia 2).
And I add further that the church BEGAN on the day of Pentecost on a SUNDAY, the FIRST day of the week. The early church evidence and the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible make it quite clear that the early church worshiped God on SUNDAY the FIRST day of the week, called the LORD'S day and that they did NOT KEEP the Sabbath day as the JEWS.
#26. 250 AD CYPRIAN:
The eight day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the Lord's Day." (Epistle 58, Sec 4)
#27. 250 AD IGNATIUS:
"If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death-whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith, and therefore endure, that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master-how shall we be able to live apart from Him, whose disciples the prophets themselves in the Spirit did wait for Him as their Teacher? And therefore He whom they rightly waited for, being come, raised them from the dead. If, then, those who were conversant with the ancient Scriptures came to newness of hope, expecting the coming of Christ, as the Lord teaches us when He says, "If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me; " and again, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad; for before Abraham was, I am; " how shall we be able to live without Him? The prophets were His servants, and foresaw Him by the Spirit, and waited for Him as their Teacher, and expected Him as their Lord and Saviour, saying, "He will come and save us." Let us therefore NO longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness; for "he that does not work, let him not eat." For say the [holy] oracles, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread." But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law, NOT in relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them. And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord's Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week].Looking forward to this, the prophet declared, "To the end, for the eighth day," on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ, whom the children of perdition, the enemies of the Saviour, deny, "whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things," who are "lovers of pleasure, and not lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." These make merchandise of Christ, corrupting His word, and giving up Jesus to sale: they are corrupters of women, and covetous of other men's possessions, swallowing up wealth insatiably; from whom may ye be delivered by the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ! (Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, Chapter IX)
#28. 250 AD IGNATIUS:
"On the day of the preparation, then, at the third hour, He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried. During the Sabbath He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathaea had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord's day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. "The day of the preparation, then, comprises the passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord's Day contains the resurrection." (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, chapter 9)
#29. 250 AD IGNATIUS:
If any one fasts on the Lord's Day or on the Sabbath, except on the paschal Sabbath only, he is a murderer of Christ. (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians, chapter 8)
#30. 250 AD IGNATIUS:
"This [custom], of not bending the knee upon Sunday, is a symbol of the resurrection, through which we have been set free, by the grace of Christ, from sins, and from death, which has been put to death under Him. Now this custom took its rise from apostolic times, as the blessed Irenaeus, the martyr and bishop of Lyons, declares in his treatise On Easter, in which he makes mention of Pentecost also; upon which [feast] we do not bend the knee, because it is of equal significance with the Lord's day, for the reason already alleged concerning it." (Ignatius, Fragments)
#31. 300 AD Victorinus:
"The sixth day [Friday] is called parasceve, that is to say, the preparation of the kingdom. . . . On this day also, on account of the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, we make either a station to God or a fast. On the seventh day he rested from all his works, and blessed it, and sanctified it. On the former day we are accustomed to fast rigorously, that on the Lord's day we may go forth to our bread with giving of thanks. And let the parasceve become a rigorous fast, lest we should APPEAR to observe ANY Sabbath with the Jews . . . which Sabbath he [Christ] in his body ABOLISHED" (The Creation of the World).
#32. 300 AD EUSEBIUS:
"They did not, therefore, regard circumcision, NOR observe the Sabbath NEITHER do we; ... because such things as these do NOT belong to Christians" (Ecc. Hist., Book 1, Ch. 4)
#33. 300 AD EUSEBIUS:
[The Ebionites] were accustomed to observe the Sabbath and other Jewish customs but on the Lord's days to celebrate the same practices as we in remembrance of the resurrection of the Savior. (Church History Ill.xxvii.5)
I will also add that the Ebionites were Christians who were seduced by the Jews to keep the Jewish customs. In other words, the Ebionites were Judanized Christians. The Ebionites also taught the need to be circumcised in the flesh in order to be saved. Some today would not even consider Ebionites as being true Christians since they went back to trusting the law of Moses to be saved.
#34. 300 AD Eusebius of Caesarea:
"They [the pre- Mosaic saints of the Old Testament] did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we [Christians]. They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we. They did not avoid certain kinds of food, neither did they regard the other distinctions which Moses first delivered to their posterity to be observed as symbols; nor do Christians of the present day do such things" (Church History 1:4:8).
#35. 300 AD Eusebius of Caesarea:
"The day of his [Christ's] light . . . was the day of his resurrection from the dead, which they say, as being the one and only truly holy day and the Lord's day, is better than any number of days as we ordinarily understand them, and better than the days set apart by the Mosaic Law for feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, which the Apostle [Paul] teaches are the shadow of days and not days in reality" (Proof of the Gospel 4:16:186).
#36. 345 AD Athanasius:
"The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord's day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord's day as being the memorial of the new creation" (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3).
#37. 350 AD APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS:
Be not careless of yourselves, neither deprive your Saviour of His own members, neither divide His body nor disperse His members, neither prefer the occasions of this life to the word of God; but assemble yourselves together every day, morning and evening, singing psalms and praying in the Lord's house: in the morning saying the sixty-second Psalm, and in the evening the hundred and fortieth, but principally on the Sabbath-day. And on the day of our Lord's resurrection, which is the Lord's day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day to hear the saving word concerning the resurrection, on which we pray thrice standing in memory of Him who arose in three days, in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the Gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food? (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, book 2)
#38. 350 AD APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS:
"How We Ought to Assemble Together, and to Celebrate the Festival Day of Our Saviour's Resurrection. On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord's day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God,..." (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, book 7)
#39. 350 AD Cyril of Jerusalem:
"Fall NOT AWAY either into the sect of the Samaritans or into Judaism, for Jesus Christ has henceforth ransomed you. Stand aloof from ALL observance of Sabbaths and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean" (Catechetical Lectures 4:37).
#40. 360 AD Council of Laodicea:
"Christians should NOT Judaize and should NOT be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord's day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians" (canon 29).
#41. 387 AD John Chrysostom:
"You have put on Christ, you have become a member of the Lord and been enrolled in the heavenly city, and you still grovel in the Law [of Moses]? How is it possible for you to obtain the kingdom? Listen to Paul's words, that the observance of the Law overthrows the gospel, and learn, if you will, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and shun this pitfall. Why do you keep the Sabbath and fast with the Jews?" (Homilies on Galatians 2:17).
#42. 412 AD Augustine:
"Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these Ten Commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought NOT to be kept by a Christian . . . Which of these commandments would anyone say that the Christian ought not to keep? It is possible to contend that it is not the Law which was written on those two tables that the apostle [Paul] describes as 'the letter that kills' [2 Cor. 3:6], but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished" (The Spirit and the Letter 24).
#43. 597 AD Gregory I:
"But after that the grace of almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, has appeared, the commandments of the Law which were spoken figuratively cannot be kept according to the letter. For if anyone says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered. He must say too that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained. But let him hear the apostle Paul saying in opposition to him: 'If you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing' (Gal. 5:2)" (Letters 13:1).