MUST CHRISTIANS KEEP
THE 4th COMMANDMENT?
This question of whether or not Christians should or MUST keep the FOURTH COMMANDMENT, which states in Exodus 20:8-11 to remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy can be found throughout the history of the church going all the way back to the apostles of Jesus and their writings of the New Testament.
There was much disputing in the New Testament and then for the most part this dispute died out from the fourth of fifth century to around the seventh or eighteenth century where this debate revived and the church became divided again.
Some churches teach that Christians are to worship God on Sunday, the FIRST day of the week and other churches say that Christians must without fail keep Holy the Sabbath, which is the SEVENTH day of the week. But which side is teaching the truth of the whole word of Almighty God?
Some churches argue that we as Christians must without fail keep the Sabbath because the Bible teaches us to KEEP the COMMANDMENTS of God. While other churches teach take we are to keep only NINE of the ten commandments, because the FOURTH commandment, which is the command to keep the Sabbath day holy by resting is a CEREMONIAL law that was type or shadow foretelling that which was to come. So again which side is teaching the truth of the whole word or Almighty God?
Let us begin this study in God's word by reading in the Old Testament Exodus 20:8-11.
9. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: (this can be interpreted that we are to work six days a week. In other words, we are not to work just five or four days a week, but rather we are commanded to work SIX full days a week. Or this verse may be interpreted that we have six days in each week that we have been given to get our work done)
10. But the seventh day is the Sabbath (or the rest) of the LORD your God: in it (or in this seventh day of the week) you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your man servant, nor your maid servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: (WHY? Why did God give mankind this teaching to WORK for SIX days and then to REST on the SEVENTH day?)
11. FOR (or because) in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: WHEREFORE (or for this very reason) the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
So God set forth by example that he himself WORKED for SIX days each and every day for a FULL SIX days and then God RESTED from all his work on the SEVENTH day. The Sabbath day or the day of REST is clearly defined in the Bible as the SEVENTH day of the week and it was the day in which, God's people, the Jews, have kept to the letter of the law in the Old Testament as being on Saturday, which to the nation of Israel began at sundown on Friday and ended on sundown on Saturday.
So then, the CHILDREN of Israel were and are taught all their lives for generations to observe or keep the Sabbath day from sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday evening. It was for this reason that the Jews were taught all their lives to keep the Sabbath and the rest of the law of God and Moses as to why, when the gospel of Jesus Christ was first preached to God's people, the Jews, that they continued to keep all the law of God and Moses written in the Old Testament.
However, when God turned to the GENTILES in order to provoke his people, the Jews, to jealousy it is then that we begin seeing some CHANGES being made in the way Gentile Christians worship God and the way the Jewish Christians worshiped God in the past under the OLD covenant. What I mean by this is that when Peter was given the vision of God cleansing the Gentiles the early Church BEGAN to SEE for the first time that God was turning toward the Gentiles to save them even as he was saving the Jews. In other words, God was REVEALING to the church that what he had cleanse shall not be called unclean. Please read Acts chapter 10 and the study “ACTS 10 PETER'S VISION OF CLEANSED MEATS!” for a deeper understanding that the church was still yet PROGRESSING in their knowledge of what God's will was for the church.
You see, my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Jewish Christians were compelling the Gentile Christians to KEEP the law of Moses in order to be saved in Acts chapter 15. But Paul, who was the minister whom Almighty God chose to send to the Gentiles, taught us, as Gentile Christians, NOT to let anyone judges us for NOT keeping the law of Moses.
Now obviously Paul was not speaking of the MORAL laws of the ten commandments, but rather Paul was referring to the CEREMONIAL law of the Old Testament that were SHADOWS of the coming Messiah Jesus, because in other places in the Bible Paul does indeed teach us to NOT sin by breaking the MORAL laws or commandments such as stealing, lying, adultery and murder. But clearly the word of truth teaches us that the all the feasts days including the weekly Sabbath days were CEREMONIAL laws or commands that represented or foreshadowed something that was prophesied to come.
Please read carefully and prayerfully Colossians 2:4-17, which clearly and plainly teaches us that the yearly feast days, the monthly festivals or the new moon festivals, AND the weekly Sabbath days were SHADOWS, types, or figures of the true which were prophesied to come.
Here is Colossians 2:4-17.
7. Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been TAUGHT, (I realize that we have just begun this study in God's word, but I want to point out that no where in the NEW Testament are we CLEARLY and PLAINLY TAUGHT to keep the Sabbath day, but rather there is far more evidence on the side that the early church did not keep the Sabbath day. In other words, the clear plain evidence from the word of truth to me teaches us that the early church worshiped God on SUNDAY, the FIRST day of the week as to opposed to keeping the Jewish Sabbath day. So then Paul is teaching us hear to continue to walk in the way that the whole word of God has TAUGHT us.) abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8. BEWARE lest (or for fear that) any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (the early church began NEW ordinances such as communion or the breaking of bread after the example of Jesus, which represented the FULFILLMENT of the ANNUAL or YEARLY feast of the Passover.)
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: (here in this verse Paul is teaching us that the OLD Testament law or command of God to be circumcised in the flesh was FULFILLED through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, who established a NEW and BETTER covenant between God and mankind. In other words, under this NEW covenant circumcision has become a SPIRITUAL circumcision of our heart that Almighty God himself does. And much in the same way Jesus has become our REST that we are entering into by walking in the FAITH of Jesus Christ. The rest of the FLESH has now become a SPIRITUAL REST is Jesus Christ who died for our sins. As Christians we DIE to sin.)
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. (this means that we as Christians BELIEVE that God himself is doing HIS work in us. We are NEW creatures in Jesus Christ who have been GIVEN a NEW heart that desires to please God. We are HIS word and NOT our OWN work. It is Almighty God IN US who empowers us to live without sin. The same Holy Spirit that DWELT IN Jesus now dwells in us. It is this OPERATION of the Holy Spirit that causes us to REST in God and his Son Jesus. This is the SPIRITUAL SABBATH of Christians that we are keeping EVERY DAY of the week. We have CEASED from all our OWN WORKS and have now ENTERED INTO HIS REST which keeps us from sin, IF SO BE we are truly RESTING in God's SABBATH.)
13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh (Paul is speaking to Gentile Christians who were being compelled by the Jewish Christians to keep all the law of Moses, but more particularly the dietary laws of the Old Testament and the keeping of all the feasts days as well as the keeping of the weekly Sabbath days. In other words, Paul is saying, you Gentiles were once without God being NOT circumcised in the FLESH, but NOW God himself through his Holy Spirit), has he quickened (or he has made alive that which was once dead being without God) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14. BLOTTING OUT 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;(here in these verses we see that God has forgiven us as Gentiles all our sins and blotted out all the handwriting of ordinances that were against us and contrary to us even though we as Gentiles did NOT KEEP the law that was given to the Jews. In other words, or salvation did NOT come through the KEEPING of the law or the OLD Testament or the OLD COVENANT, but rather our salvation came through Jesus Christ through a NEW COVENANT that each and every believer as an INDIVIDUAL has to make on a one to one basis between them and God by FAITH. So then, Paul is teaching us here to CONTINUE to walk in FAITH of Jesus Christ and do NOT LET any person JUDGE us is RESPECT of the law of Moses for NOT keeping the annual holy days, or the monthly new moon festivals, nor the weekly Sabbath days, because Jesus, the Son of God is our Passover, is our circumcision and is our Sabbath rest.)
So here in these verses we clearly see that we as Christians both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians are NOT to let anyone judge or CONDEMN us in what we as Christians EAT or drink. And Paul goes on to teach us to NOT let anyone JUDGE or CONDEMN us as Christians for NOT keeping the Old Testament feast days or HOLY days including the weekly Sabbath days, BECAUSE they were SHADOWS of the true which was prophesied to come speaking of Jesus Christ our MESSIAH. Let us read these verses from a couple of other translations and this truth will become clearer to you.
Here is Colossians 2:16,17 from the New Living Translation.
Here is Colossians 2:16, from the God's Word Translation.
“Therefore, let no one judge you because of what you eat or drink or about the observance of ANNUAL holy days (Do not let anyone judge you for NOT keeping or observing the yearly Holy days or the yearly Sabbaths), New Moon Festivals (referring to the MONTHLY feast days or festivals), or weekly worship days (In other words, do NOT let anyone CONDEMN you for NOT keeping the WEEKLY Sabbath days that were given to God's people ISRAEL as a CEREMONIAL law FORESHADOWING their future rest that was yet to come speaking of Jesus their MESSIAH).”
Now those who teach that we as Christians MUST WITHOUT FAIL KEEP the Sabbath day argue that this verse is speaking ONLY of the ANNUAL Sabbath days and NOT the WEEKLY Sabbath days, but these other translations make it quite clear that THREE DIFFERENT feast days or holy days are being spoken of in these verses that we as Christians are NOT to let others JUDGE or CONDEMN us for NOT keeping or for NOT observing ANY of them, because they were ceremonial laws meant only as TYPES of SHADOWS of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ himself, which he then abolished or did away with at the cross.
It should be clear to most every Christian that AFTER Jesus died on the cross that the early church now considered Jesus to be OUR PASSOVER who be be celebrated each and every day of the year. But it is also clear from church history that a yearly day was celebrated as the day in which our Lord was RESURRECTED from the dead. This NEW holy day is called Easter Sunday as opposed to Easter Saturday or the Easter Sabbath day. Church history clearly teaches us that the early church worshiped Almighty God the father and his Son Jesus on SUNDAY, the LORD'S DAY, the FIRST day of the week. Please read the study “SABBATH KEEPING VERSUS SUNDAY WORSHIP?” for an in depth study will all the verses that clearly show that the disciples of Jesus in the New Testament and the early church worship God on SUNDAY, the FIRST day of the week, but for now let us continue with the study at hand.
Earlier in this study I said that the Jewish Christians were compelling the Gentile Christians to keep all the law of Moses in Acts chapter 15. Let us now take a look at these passage of scripture to see what this very first church council decided through the leading of the Holy Spirit as what to do to settle this CONTROVERSY between believers of whether or not Christians should keep all the law of Moses, which would include the keeping of the Sabbath day.
Please read Acts 15:10 where Peter HIMSELF said,
"Why TEMPT you GOD to place a YOKE upon the disciples, which WE nor our father's before were NOT able to BEAR?"
Jesus said, you who are heavy laden come unto me and I will give you REST. Jesus IS our SABBATH REST dear child of God.
So I implore you my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, who are either seventh day of the week or first day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians, to NOT be brought under condemnation by what you have been TAUGHT by your church denomination, when what you have been taught CONTRADICTS what the WHOLE word of God clearly teaches us in SIMPLICITY.
"But now, AFTER that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, where unto you desire again to be in bondage?
10. You observe DAYS,(the WEEKLY Sabbath days) and months (the MONTHLY new moon festivals), and times (from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and the feast of weeks), and years (the YEARLY feast days).
11. I am afraid of you, lest (or for fear that) I have bestowed upon you labor in VAIN."
Paul is deeply concerned that he may have preached the Gospel of the truth in VAIN, because some have turned back and or turned for the first time to Judaism to keep all the law of Moses to keep DAYS of the week, months, and yearly feasts as the JEWS under the OLD covenant.
Now to those of you my readers and seekers of the truth of the whole word of Almighty God, who already KNOW that Jesus IS our TRUE SABBATH REST, I leave you with the teachings of Paul in Romans chapter 14 taught to him by Jesus through the Holy Spirit for us not to judge one another. Do not boast of the faith that God has graciously given to you. Stand fast in your faith to receive any and all Christians, who do observe a day of the week above other days of the week esteeming what ever day they observe as a holy day, but do not be subverted by their teaching to fall from Grace yourself.
"Him that is weak in the faith RECEIVE you, but NOT to doubtful disputations. (or do not argue and debate who is right of who is wrong, but rather stand fats in the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your brothers and sister into all truth.)
2. For one believes that he may EAT ALL THINGS (or ALL MANNERS of meat, which he knows that God has CLEANSED because he or she has BELIEVES the teachings of the NEW Testament): another, who is weak, eat herbs. (and NO meats that were called UNCLEAN in the OLD Testament under the OLD covenant, because they do NOT believe that God has cleansed all manners of meat and therefore the must keep the law of Moses if they are to please God.)
3. Let NOT him that EATS despise him that eats not; and let NOT him which eats not JUDGE him that eats: for God has received him.(Who believes the God has cleansed all manners of meat and is free to eat any manner of meat.)
4. Who are you that JUDGES another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (here we see that we are to give God the space and time to allow that Holy Spirit to work in their life to lead and guide them into all truth BELIEVING that he will do as he said he would do.)
5. One man esteems one day ABOVE another: another esteems EVERY DAY ALIKE. Let every man be fully persuaded in his OWN mind.
6. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks.
7. For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.
8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
9. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10. But why do you JUDGE your brother? or why do you set at nought your brother? (or why do you say that your brothers and sisters are not true Christians who do NOT keep ANY day of the week or any of the ceremonial laws of Moses) for we shall ALL stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13. Let us NOT therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
14. I KNOW, and am persuaded BY the Lord Jesus, that there is NOTHING unclean of itself: but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (in other words, if you have been TAUGHT by your church denomination that watching TV is a SIN and you believe that it IS a sin and you watch TV, then to YOU it is a SIN because you do NOT believe that it is NOT a sin. You are walking if FEAR and unbelief. This would not be sin in God's eyes, but in the eyes of your church denomination who condemns those who break their commandments. But what Paul is teaching here were ONCE God's laws. So then, if you TRY to eat meat that you still yet BELIEVE that God did NOT cleanse, then you are sinning because you eat it NOT in FAITH KNOWING that it is NOT sin. But those of you, who DO BELIEVE that is it NOT sin to eat all manners of meat, then it is NOT sin, because YOU believe God's WORD that God has indeed cleansed all manners of meat.)
15. BUT if your brother be grieved with your meat, now walk you not charitably. Destroy not him with your meat, for whom Christ died. (In other words, I know that you know the TRUTH and that you know that you are NOT sinning eating pork, BUT when you are eating with brothers and sisters in the Lord, whom you know will be offended by your eating pork in front of them and you do it anyway, then you are not walking in love toward them by purposely eating pork in front of them as if boasting that you free to eat all manners of meat. But at the same time do not DENY your faith if they ask you if you eat pork at other times. Now I was eating out with some Sabbath keeping Christians who were not always Sabbath keeping Christians and who ate pork the same as me before they became Sabbath keeping Christians. Both families ordered pizzas and when they came ours was a meat lovers and theirs was a vegetarian pizza. I saw that one of their children was eyeing our pizza and without giving it a THOUGHT I offered her a piece of our pizza. Immediately her parents said to her daughter, "No, we cannot eat pork." I apologized and said if it offends you that we are eating pork, then I will throw this pizza away and order a pizza without any pork. They said it did not offend them what we ate, but that they felt that they could no longer eat pork.)
16. Let not then your GOOD (or your strong FAITH) be evil spoken of:
17. For the kingdom of God is NOT meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (in other words, being saved is NOT about what we eat of drink but about working RIGHTEOUSNESS, walking in love and thus FULFILLING ALL the LAW of God)
18. For he that IN these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20. For MEAT destroy NOT the work of God. ALL things indeed are PURE; but it is evil for that man who eats with offence. (in other words, if one eats NOT pork to boast of their WORKS, then they are NOT eating pork in order to offend those who DO eat pork having no conscience of sinning being convicted of the Holy Spirit for eating what we know by faith that God has cleansed. And on the other side of the coin if one eats pork to boast of their FAITH that they have been given, then they are EATING pork to offend those who do not eat pork.)
21. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak. ( I had a pastor tell me that he once pastored a church that was previously taught by another pastor before him that it was SIN to drink coffee. Now he was a big coffee drinker and loved to drink coffee, but for five years while he pastored THAT church he drank NOT a drop of coffee lest he would offend one of his brothers or sisters in the Lord. Now if had been ME I would have taught them the TRUTH and asked them where in the Bible ITSELF does it say that drinking coffee is a SIN? And I hate coffee. Cannot even stand the smell of it!)
22. Have you FAITH? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he that condemns NOT himself in that thing which he allows. (I cannot tell you how free and happy those, who once were Sabbath keepers being even the third and fourth generation Sabbath keeper, are now after seeing the TRUTH about the Sabbath for themselves directly from God's word.)
23. And he that DOUBTS is damned if he eat, because he eats NOT of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
Work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling. Now I personally do not believe that NOT eating pork is a sin. Whether you EAT pork or do NOT eat pork to me it is not a sin either way. Unless you eat pork NOT in FAITH, and you yourself are NOT yet fully persuaded in your OWN mind BY the word of TRUTH, the WHOLE word of God.
Now I realize that many seventh day of the week Saturday Sabbath keeping Christians do not dogmatically demand that Christians MUST NOT eat pork in order to receive eternal life in the world to come, but SOME do blatantly and emphatically teach that if a Christian eats pork and does NOT keep the SEVENTH day of the week as a day of rest as the Jews then they shall NOT receive eternal life in the world to come.
Some Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians say that they do not eat any of the foods called unclean in the Old testament under the OLD covenant for HEALTH reasons ONLY.
But some who have come back to keep ONLY the NEW covenant admit that while they were being deceived they were taught early on that it was VOLUNTARY and up to them if they wanted to eat or not eat pork, but later it became a LAW to them by what they were being taught by their Sabbath keeping group, and felt it to be sin if they ate any unclean food. Then after they returned to obey ONLY the teachings of the NEW Testament all those feelings of not pleasing God if they ate pork left them. They now KNOW for themselves that God has CLEANSED ALL manner of meats and that we as CHRISTIANS are NOT to call unclean what God himself has cleansed.
And what I do know for sure it that all Saturday seventh day of the week Sabbath keeping Christians IMPLY that all other Christian are sinning even through they claim that they are not judging us by NOT keeping a DAY of the week. These studies are for YOU, my readers and seekers of the truth of the whole word of God, who are already being lead by the Holy Spirit to seek out the WHOLE matter for yourself to see if what you are being taught is the truth of the WHOLE word of God. In other words, IF the Holy Spirit has opened your eyes of understanding to a verse that is raising doubts as to what you have been taught, then it is no accident that you are hear reading this introductory study to Sabbath TRUTH, to learn WHAT IS the TRUE Sabbath.
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.
Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you continue to read ALL the studies I gave links above and throughout this study concerning this subject on Sabbath TRUTH.
Also below are some quotes from early church writers that prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the early church did not keep the seventh day of the week as the Jews.
Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE
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).