Sabbath

Question: Is the first day of the week the day of worship?

Is the first day of the week the day of worship?

Christ resurrected on Sunday and appeared to His disciples and Mary Magdalene on Sundays, never on the seventh day of the week (Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:9; Lk 24:13-15; Jn 20:19). Can we conclude that He had established the first day of the week to be the day of worship?

➠ Jesus appeared on the same day to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:14-18), to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-15), and to the disciples in the house (Jn 20:19) because He had risen before the dawn of that day (see Lk 24:1-3). The second time Jesus appeared to the disciples was on the second day of the week (Jn 20:26). The day of his third appearance is unknown (Jn 21:10). So Jesus did not specifically set aside the first day of the week and the day itself is not significant.

➠ Nowhere in the Bible does it record that Jesus Christ replaced the seventh-day Sabbath with the first day of the week to be a day of worship. Nor did Jesus himself instruct the disciples to worship on the first day of the week instead of on the Sabbath.

➠ We must not interpret the Bible based on what we think a certain event signifies, especially when the interpretation contradicts with the commandment of God.

What about when Paul and the believers came together on the first day of the week to break bread as recorded in Acts 20:7?

➠ The breaking of bread here should refer to a love feast or fellowship meal, which was a common practice in the Apostolic period (Acts 2:46; see Jude 12). The phrase “breaking of bread” does not  necessarily mean the Lord’s Supper (see Lk 22:16 vs. Lk 24:30; Acts 27:33-35).

➠ Paul’s companions were sailing while Paul was speaking (v. 13). If the first day was the day of worship, Paul would not have arranged his companions to be sailing while he himself was worshipping.

➠ The passage does not mention the Sabbath because Sabbath observance was a custom and needed not to be mentioned. The first day of the week is mentioned instead because Paul was to leave the next day (v. 7) and would probably never see the members again (Acts 20:22-25). So this special occasion deserves mention

➠ In any case, we find no basis that Christians should worship on the first day of the week rather than on the Sabbath.

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In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul instructs the church to make offerings on the first day of the week. Offering is a part of worship (Heb 13:15-16; Deut 16:16; Phil 4:18) but this cannot conclude that Paul had specified the first day of the week on that day:

➠ Here Paul is not telling the members to have worship services on the first day of the week and at the same time make offerings. Paul was suggesting that on the first day of the week each member should set aside (or “save” in NIV) some of the money earned (or things stored) the previous week so that “there be no collections when I come.” This instruction is only to facilitate the collection of offerings.

➠ Paul specifies the first day of the week rather than Saturday probably because Saturday is a day to rest from labor. It’s also quite possible that he wanted the believers to set aside the donation at the beginning of the week (Sunday) so that it would not be consumed during the rest of the week.

The majority of Bible commentators agree that “the Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10 is the day of Christ’s resurrection. Is this Lord’s Day the Sabbath day?

➠ None of the writers of the New Testament, including the apostle John himself, ever stated that “the Lord’s Day” was the first day of the week. The conjectures by Bible commentators cannot be held as the truth.

➠ The Bible never teaches that we should worship on “the Lord’s Day” or on the first day of the week.

➠ The Lord’s Day should refer to the “day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6; 2:16; 1Cor 1:8) or the “day of the LORD” (Isa 13:6,9; Joel 2:1; Zeph 1:14).

Since God did not change the Sabbath day, we should still keep the Sabbath on Saturday, the seventh day, rather than on Sunday, the first day. Blessed are those who hold true to God’s commandments!

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