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Is Sunday, the first day of the week, the Christian Sabbath? Did it replace the seventh day as the rest day of YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel? Has the fourth of the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20:8-11 been changed or done away with? If all the praiseworthy characters mentioned in the Bible - including the Savior and his twelve apostles - kept the seventh day Shabbat, then why oh why are the majority of Christians keeping Sunday?
These and similar questions are being asked today by believers all over the globe and the answers to them fall into three distinct categories.
1. "The days of the week are all alike," say some believers, "so there is no need to become emotionally polarized about any particular one. Saturday, Sunday or even Friday for that matter, they are all the same to YaHuWaH. The important thing is to keep yourself holy every day of the week and forget about a seventh day Sabbath, because it no longer exists. The Sabbath commandment has been fulfilled, superseded, done away with and nailed to the cross. Christians meet for worship on Sunday, not because it is the Sabbath of the ten Commandments, but because it is convenient. The law has been fulfilled by YAHUSHUA the Messiah and is now obsolete: so there is no longer a Sabbath commandment to observe. It is the Spirit that matters, not the day of the week on which you choose to rest."
2. "The law of YaHuWaH still stands" say others "but Sunday is the new Christian Sabbath. It commemorates the resurrection of YAHUSHUA the Messiah. It is YAHUSHUA's Day and has replaced the seventh-day Sabbath by the authority of the inspired Apostles and, therefore, by Messiah himself. Christians are certainly under obligation to observe it."
3. "Sunday is not the Sabbath day at all," says a third group. "The Almighty's Sabbath, according to His unalterable Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11, Matthew 5:17-18) is the seventh day. You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you will not find a single verse authorizing the observance of Sunday. The true weekly Sabbath of YaHuWaH, the Almighty Elohim of Israel was, is, and ever will be, the seventh day."
Thus the arguments rage back and forth across the globe and are even now stirring the minds of many in your area. We trust that this article will settle the matter for you once and for all, and prepare you for the days ahead when this very issue concerning the Almighty's Shabbat becomes a deciding point for all the inhabitants of the Earth.
In your own interests, therefore, we will advise you to carefully study this page and be ready to answer this critical question: Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath?
Before we present our answer it is obvious that we should first settle the issue of whether or not a Sabbath day exists. In other words, does the Almighty still want mankind to observe a Sabbath day - or are all the days of the week alike?
The answer to that question is: YaHuWaH 's Shabbat still exists and He most certainly wants people to observe it. The following verses will prove that the Sabbath commandment was not done away with at the cross, but is still on the statute books of Heaven.
The First Proof Text is:
|Matthew 24:||20: But pray that your flight be not in the winter,
neither on the Sabbath day.
In this passage the Master advised His followers to request His Father to so arrange circumstances for the early church that Sabbath observance would be made easier for them at the time of Jerusalem's capture; an event which took place some 40 years after the crucifixion. Now pause and think about that advice: If the Sabbath commandment was scheduled for cancellation at the cross - as some suppose - then why did YAHUSHUA give His disciples this instruction about keeping Shabbat? What was the point in advising them to pray to the Father about a commandment that would not be in existence in AD 70?
The answer is perfectly obvious: The Sabbath commandment was not scheduled for cancellation at the cross; it was to continue. The Savior knew this, and that is why He advised His followers, who were mostly Israelites at that time, to pray to YaHuWaH to arrange a weekday flight from Jerusalem. They would not then be exposed to the temptation of breaking the Sabbath commandment in their haste to get away from the besieged city.
The presence of this text is irrefutable evidence that the Savior had absolutely no intention of doing away with the Sabbath commandment at Calvary; a fact which He had previously pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount when He said:
|Matthew 5:||17: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18: For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled.
|Genesis 2:||1: Thus the heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2: And on the seventh day Elohim ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
3: And Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which Elohim created and made.
Sabbath keeping, in other words, is imitating the Almighty: doing in our small way what He did at Eden in order that we may enter that great spiritual REST OF Elohim of which the seventh day Sabbath is but a token.
The Second Proof Text is:
|Isaiah 66:||22: For as the new heavens and the new Earth, which I shall make, shall remain before Me, saith YaHuWaH, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23: And it shall come to pass, that from one moon to another, and from one Shabbat to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith YaHuWaH.
This passage tells of the future - our future - when YaHuWaH, the Holy One of Israel will re-create the universe. (Revelation 21:1) And on that new Earth all flesh (all of Earth's redeemed host) will observe the seventh day Shabbat. The above text proves conclusively that the Shabbat of the Almighty will last throughout eternity, from generation to generation - for ALL TIME. (Exodus 31:12-18)
The argument that the weekly Shabbat was done away with at Calvary is, therefore, groundless and too feeble to consider any further. The question remaining to be answered, however, is:
Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath, and did it replace the seventh day as the rest day of the Almighty YaHuWaH ?
To answer this question we will do two things:
By doing this we will avoid that vain and perilous pastime of substituting the traditions of men for the commandments of YaHuWaH. (Matthew 15:9)
In the Scriptures the days are not named, but numbered from one to seven. The only exception is the seventh day which is called the Shabbat. Consequently, the day we all know as Sunday is referred to in the Bible as the "first day of the week." And so in our search to answer the question about Sunday being the Christian Sabbath, we will need to examine every Bible verse in which the "first day of the week" is mentioned.
To our knowledge there are only nine such texts, one in the Old Testament and eight in the New. We will quote them in turn.
"And Elohim said, let there be light: and there was light. And Elohim saw that it was good: and Elohim divided the light from darkness. And Elohim called the light day and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5)
This text tells of what Elohim did on the first day of the creation week. It says nothing about the Sabbath one way or the other, so we will pass it over without further comment.
The following five verses concern the end of the seventh day Shabbat after Messiah’s crucifixion. We will list and comment on them as a group, because they are separate accounts of the same event.
"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." (Matthew 28:1)
"And when the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre." (Mark 16: 1-2)
"Now when YAHUSHUA was risen early the first day of the week He appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom He cast seven devils." (Mark 16:9)
"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the seulchre bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them." (Luke 24:1)
"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre." (John 20:1)
These five texts concern events that took place on the morning when Mary Madgalene and some others brought spices to anoint the body of the Master. It was the morning of the first day of the week.
What do the Gospel writers tell us? They tell us this: that when the first day of the week began, the Sabbath had ended - the Sabbath was past. In other words, the Shabbat day according to the Gospel writers, who were writing some 30 and more years after the resurrection, was still the seventh day - the day that went before the first day of the week.
Surely these Gospel writers, who were mostly Jews, would have mentioned a change of the Sabbath day had it occurred? But there is no mention of a change; not a text, nor a word, not even a hint or suggestion.
Because there had been no change. The Shabbat day, as far as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were concerned, was still the seventh day, the day that preceded the first day.
Let us now move on to the next text.
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came YAHUSHUA and stood in the midst and saith unto them, “Peace be unto you." (John 20:19)
This meeting took place on the Sunday evening after the resurrection. The disciples were assembled, we are told, "for fear of the Jews."
Some, in a frantic bid to find Scriptural support for Sunday observance, use this text as though it proved that the Master sanctified Sunday by visiting the disciples on it, and that this meeting was called to celebrate the resurrection.
This, however, was not the case. The disciples met, we are plainly told "for fear of the Jews." In fact, some of them didn't even believe the Master had risen. (Mark 16:11-14, Luke 24:36-38) We would be deluding ourselves if we tried to classify this meeting as the inauguration of a new Sabbath day. The Sabbath is not even mentioned in this verse.
And why not?
The seventh day had been the Shabbat since the creation of the world. It was the day YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel blessed and sanctified (set apart for sacred use) at Eden.
|Genesis 2:||2: And on the seventh day Elohim ended His work which He had made: and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
3: And Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it He rested from all His work which Elohim created and made.
The seventh day continued to be the Sabbath when some 2500 years later Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years; for Scripture tells of the special miracle YaHuWaH did each seventh day to identify it from other weekdays.
|Exodus 16:||25: And Moshe said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto YaHuWaH : to day ye shall not find it in the field.
26: Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Shabbat, in it there shall be none.
27: And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
28: And YaHuWaH said unto Moshe, How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My Torah?
The seventh day of the week was the Shabbat when the Master walked on Earth; for we read that it was His custom to go to the synagogue each Shabbat day.
|Luke 4:||16: And He came to Nazareth, where He was brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Shabbat day.|
As mentioned previously, the seventh day was the Sabbath which the Messiah advised his followers (mostly Jews at that time) to prayerfully remember at the fall of Jerusalem; an event which took place some 40 years after the crucifixion! (Matthew 24:20)
And then there is that staggering prophecy in Isaiah 66:23 which tells of the Sabbath being observed by ALL MANKIND THROUGHOUT ETERNITY.
That, briefly, is the Scriptural position concerning the first and the seventh days of the week. The reader will have noticed that in not a single instance in the first day called the Sabbath. In Holy writ that sacred title belongs to the seventh day of the week and the spiritual realities it foreshadows.
"How then," you may well ask, "did Sunday observance begin? And why are millions of believers still endeavoring to keep it? If Sunday is not the Sabbath of the Almighty YaHuWaH, then how did the colossal error creep into the church?"
The answer may well astonish you, but here it is.
Sunday observance is a product of paganism. If found its way into the Christian church many years after the original Apostles died. At that time, Sunday was the rest day of the pagan Roman Empire in which the popular religion was Mithraism, a form of sun-worship. In the course of time, (during the second, third and fourth centuries) multitudes of sun-worshipers joined the church. And when the Emperor Constantine ruled (AD 306-337) it became quite fashionable to follow his example and become a Christian. Sad to say, however, most of the multitude who joined the church weren't truly converted. They had little or no love for the truth as taught in the Bible, and they naturally didn't want to give up their pagan ways - and days - for anything which was at variance with their cherished heathen traditions. Besides, these unconverted members in the church had soon outnumbered the faithful. This gave them the power to implement their wishes and so the popular traditions of paganism were brought into the church and the truths of the Most High were slowly pushed aside. The church leaders - many of whom were themselves devoid of the Spirit of Elohim - reasoned, that in order to appease and keep their congregations, the traditions of heathenism should be "Christianized," given sacred titles and accepted into Christian worship. Thus it was that Sunday - the venerable day of the Sun god - along with a host of other pagan practices, too numerous to deal with in this article, was adopted by the fallen church and hailed as the New Christian Sabbath - the LORD'S DAY!.
Sunday observance, in short is an "heirloom from heathenism," a pagan tradition which unlawfully entered the Christian Church centuries after the early Apostles died. It has absolutely no Scriptural authority whatsoever!
Now that you know the truth about Sunday observance and can see it has no Scriptural authority at all, we will urge you to take stock of your position and consider your future course of action.
Sunday observance honors the authority of men instead of honoring the higher scriptural authority of YaHuWaH the Father.
What are you going to do about Sunday - which is an ordinary work-day posing as the Sabbath of the Almighty? And, more importantly, what are you now going to do about the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Almighty YaHuWaH ? Bear in mind that the seventh day was, is and ever will be the True Sabbath Day. Those who ignore this fact are guilty of breaking one of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:8-11) And that is sin: for sin is the transgression of the Almighty's Torah. (1 John 3:4)
In view of that awesome fact, we will advise you to carefully consider the message of this tract and to act upon it; for to continue in sin is a dangerous thing. Very soon this matter about the True Shabbat Day is going to engage the minds of every soul on Earth. It is going to be the main issue in the "coming spiritual election" in which all mankind will declare their spiritual preference either for the Traditions of Men, or for the Commandments of YaHuWaH.
Meanwhile we will prayerfully commit you to the Almighty, trusting that He will grant you the wisdom, the courage and the power to recognize and obey His will; for as His Son has so correctly said in Matthew 19:17
The fourth commandment is as follows:
|Exodus 20:||8: Remember the Shabbat day, to keep it holy.
9: Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10: But the seventh day is the Shabbat of YaHuWaH thy Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11: For in six days YaHuWaH made Heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore YaHuWaH blessed the Shabbat day, and hallowed it.