Is Saturday or Sunday the Holy Day?
By Bro. Peter Dimond
-Why true Christians (i.e., Catholics) dedicate Sunday specifically to God, rather than Saturday
Refuting Seventh-Day Adventists and Seventh-Day Baptists from the Bible
Exodus 20:8-11- "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath
of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your
daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who
stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the
sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD
blessed the sabbath day and made it holy."
In Exodus 20, we find the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. In the Old Testament, Sabbath meant “rest” or “cessation” on the seventh day of the Jewish week – Saturday. A sizable number of Protestants argue that people are still bound by the commandment to set Saturday apart for God. They believe that Catholics break this commandment by recognizing, in accordance with the Tradition of the Church and the teaching of the New Testament, that the prerogatives of the Sabbath have been transferred to Sunday in the New Covenant. The following considerations should show any sincere person why Seventh-Day Adventists and Seventh-Day Baptists are wrong. God Himself, through the Church He established, transferred the prerogatives of the Sabbath to Sunday, in honor of the day on which Jesus rose again.
THE COMMANDMENT TO KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH IS DIFFERENT IN NATURE FROM THE OTHER COMMANDMENTS
Of all the 10 commandments, the one to keep holy the Sabbath is different in nature from the rest. This is a very important point. It’s different because it’s the only one of the Ten Commandments that pertains to the ceremonial, not the natural law. For instance, man knows in his heart that he should not murder, that he should not steal, etc. But the natural law itself doesn’t teach him that he must worship God on a particular day as opposed to another day. That must come from external revelation and precept.
In fact, keeping holy the Sabbath or Seventh Day only started after the Exodus. It wasn’t done before that or from the very beginning. It’s part of the ceremonial, not the natural law. Since it’s a commandment of the ceremonial law, not the natural law, God can change the day on which He is to be specifically honored. Protestants who contend that the Saturday Sabbath law remains in force do not follow other aspects of the Old Testament ceremonial law. They don’t consider circumcision or ritual sacrifices to be binding anymore, but they consider the ceremonial Sabbath law to be binding. This is both unscriptural and illogical.
Just as circumcision, the ritual sacrifices, and other parts of the ceremonial law have ceased with the coming of Christ, the ceremonial requirement to set Saturday apart for God has passed away. It has been replaced by God and His Church with the requirement to specifically honor Sunday.
THE APOSTLES AND THE EARLY CHURCH CELEBRATED SUNDAY, NOT SATURDAY
The Apostles clearly honored Sunday, not Saturday. We read that they met for the Eucharist and the breaking of bread on the first day of the week, Sunday, the day of the Lord’s Resurrection.
Acts 20:7- And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
We see that the Christians came together to worship on Sunday. This day was set apart by the Apostles.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2- “Now concerning the collections that are made for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so do ye also. On the first day of the week let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him; that when I come, the collections be not then to be made.”
This next verse is particularly important.
Colossians 2:16-17- “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
Here we see St. Paul specifically teaching that the festival and ceremonial laws (including the observance of the Sabbath!) pertained to the Old Testament period and are no longer binding after the coming of Christ. How clear does it have to be?
GOD GAVE THE CHURCH THE AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER THE SABBATH TO SUNDAY IN HONOR OF HIS RESURRECTION
Matthew 16:18-19- “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 18:17-18- “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
That’s why the early Christians met on Sunday (the Lord’s Day) to celebrate the Eucharist. That’s why the most ancient fathers, such as St. Ignatius of Antioch writing about 110 A.D., recognized that Sunday was the day, not Saturday.
St. Ignatius of Antioch , Epistle to the Magnesians, no. 9, 110 A.D.: “If then they who walked in ancient customs came to a new hope, no longer living for the Sabbath, but for the Lord’s Day, on which also our life sprang up through him and His death – though some deny Him – and by this mystery we received faith, and for this reason also we suffer…”
This is a clear proof that Seventh-Day Adventists and Seventh-Day Baptists are following a man-made perversion of Scripture which was foreign not only to the Apostles but to the most ancient Christians. Many other fathers could be quoted.
THERE’S MORE: GOD’S DAY OF REST IS CONNECTED WITH HIS CREATION;
HE RESTS AFTER HIS WORK OF CREATION IS FINISHED
THE RESURRECTION SIGNIFIES THE COMPLETION OF THE NEW CREATION,
AND THUS IT MARKS HIS NEW DAY OF REST
Genesis 2:1-2- “So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.”
We read that God’s rest is connected with His completion of work. God finished His work, and then He rested on the seventh day. But the entire creation was ruptured by the sin of Adam. That’s why Romans 8 teaches that all of creation was waiting in expectation for the Redemption of Christ. His Redemption would repair the creation that had been ruptured.
Romans 8:22-23- “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Christ’s Redemption is, therefore, a new creation. That’s why we read:
2 Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Hebrews 9:11-12- “But Christ, being come an high priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, that is, not of this creation: Neither by the blood of goats, or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption.”
Christ’s new work of creation – of repairing the creation that had been ruptured by Adam – was accomplished on the Cross and it culminated with His Resurrection. That’s why we find the interesting subtle identification of Jesus with the gardener. When Mary Magdalene saw the risen Lord on the day of His Resurrection, she mistook Him for the gardener. This true event was also meant to indicate that Jesus was in the new garden – the restored Garden of Eden (paradise) which had been previously forfeited by the sin of Adam.
John 20:15- “Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”
Genesis 2:8- “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
Jesus’ Redemption and Resurrection restored paradise and repaired the garden that had been corrupted; for He is the new and greater Adam.
1 Corinthians 15:45- “And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening spirit.”
Romans 5:14- “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure [type] of him that was to come [Jesus].”
Romans 5:19- “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Thus, it makes perfect sense that the Lord’s Day (Sunday, the day of His Resurrection) – which marked the end of His new work of creation – would become the new day of rest.