Question: Is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday? Some churches worship on Saturday, others on Sunday. Who is right?
Answer: The church in the first century began to worship on Sunday, or the first day of the week, Acts 20:7, in acknowledgement of the death and resurrection of Jesus, because they viewed His death and resurrection as a fulfillment of the Old testament Scriptures and is the prophesied rest that we now have in Jesus, that is a rest from having to obtain our salvation from legalistic law keeping. Paul says that the Sabbath was a shadow of the rest we have in Christ (Colossians 2:17).
Acts 20:7 clearly says that the church came together on the first day of the week which they called “The Eighth day.” The epistle of Barnabus, Paul’s traveling companion, was held in very high regard by the early Christians and was actually included in the canon for many years. It was found as part of the oldest manuscripts, Codex Sinaiticus and was cited by Jerome, Origen and many others.
In his epistle Barnabus says, “Lastly, He saith unto them: your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot bear them” (Barnabus is quoting from Isaiah 58) - Consider what He means by it; the Sabbaths, says He, which ye now keep are not acceptable to Me, but those which I have made; when resting from all things I shall begin the eighth day, that is: the beginning of the other world for which cause we observe the eighth day with gladness, in which Jesus rose from the dead; and having manifested Himself to His disciples, ascended into heaven (The Epistle of Barnabus, Chapter 12: 9,10).
The early church worshipped on Sunday to acknowledge the New Covenant and make a clear distinction between the Sabbath that God has chosen, the rest we have in Christ, which brings us rest and liberty from legalistic law keeping for our redemption. The eighth day is mentioned in Leviticus as a foreshadow of the rest to come. The eighth day was also a Sabbath. There were actually two Sabbaths observed during certain occasions- Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. Le 23:39
Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. Le 23:36
On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein: Nu 29:35
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can see how the Apostle Paul and the other Apostles were moved to see the prophetic significance of the eighth day in the Old Testament Scriptures and applied it to the celebration of Christ’s victory as the day of worship in the New Covenant.
Is it wrong if someone chooses to worship on Saturday instead? No, as Paul says, “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. Colossians 2:16,17
While we are told that “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5 - we are also admonished not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
Is our worship to be restricted to just one day a week? We are told that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should be continually worshipping and in relationship with God 24/7. Legalistic worship arises when God’s people begin to substitute one day a week worship for the continuing relationship, the daily communion with God that Jesus died to give us.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (I Corinthians 3:16).
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ( II Corinthans 6:16).
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