Sabbath on Saturday?

Two listeners write:

1.  Hi. my name is Ikia and I am 14 years old and I would like to know what is the right day to go to church because some say you should go on Sunday but I go on Saturday that is the day I believe you should go so could you please tell me if I am right.

2.  How can you believe that the Sabbath is still on Saturday?  The Sabbath was on Saturday when dealing with the law of Moses.  When Christ was born the law of Moses was changed.  That's why the apostles always gathered on the first day, Sunday.  The also broke bread on the first day, Sunday.  I don't want to start a fight I would just like to know why you believe this?   

Mr Newman. USA.    Listen to the answer: Listen 

ANSWER:  I'm glad you don't want to start a fight. That is no way for Christians to act - and we have too many good things in common to fight over a day of worship!  And Ikia -- thank you for your question.  You both come at the question from opposite directions but I hope we can find some common ground.  I worship and honour God every day of the week but please let me tell you very briefly why I worship him especially on the Saturday Sabbath.

(1) There were two very special institutions that God gave mankind at creation. In the first two chapters of Genesis we find he gave marriage and a day of worship. The day of worship he called "rest" - that is what Sabbath means in Hebrew. And while it was given as the seventh-day of God's creation, Adam and Eve were not even tired. It was the first day in their wondrous world and God set it as a special sanctified time to be with Him.

(2) That special day he made before Moses existed, before there was a Jew. And he made it to last. I can find no text in either the Old or New Testament that gives any indication that Jesus or the apostles would sanctify any other day.

(3) Christians seem to enjoy the protection of the other nine commandments. I see no reason for excluding the blessing of the Sabbath Commandment.

(4) Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and did his best to upgrade it to the day of joy and worship instituted at Eden rather than the day of drudgery developed by the legalism of the Pharisees.

(5) History tells us that the change from worshiping on the Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday came about from about 150AD onwards and happened for several reasons a) Christians trying to distance themselves from the persecution of the Jews by the Romans, b) antagonism between Jews and Christians and c) compromise with the rest of the Roman Empire who already worshiped on "the venerable day of the sun".
Check the text where you mention that the apostles "always" fathered on the first day, Sunday. I think if you look in the book a Acts y ou will find many more where they worshiped on the Sabbath. There are actually only two references to Sunday in terms of worship or gathering. Acts 20:7 where Paul has a fellowship meal and preaches to the believers on the last night before he leaves the believers. This was not a special Sunday service but a farewell service. Interestingly some Bibles (e.g. Good News) place the meeting on a Saturday night meaning he was leaving to travel on the Sunday. The other reference is 1 Corinthian 16:2. This is not about worship but about stewardship. Jews and early Christians would not touch money on the Sabbath day. On the first day of the week, as they set up their family budget Paul simply encouraged them to put aside some money for famine relief.

(6) The argument for New Testament Sunday observance is an argument of silence. If there was a big argument between Jewish and Gentile Christians on issues such as meat offered to idols and circumstances there would most certainly have been a heated discussion on days of worship if Gentile Christians chose to worship on any other day than Sabbath. I am sure there would have been a statement on the issue at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. Instead, we find the blessing of the Sabbath rest being exalted in as late a book as the letter to the Hebrews.

This is a very short summary - but I hope it gives you a little view of why I find the Sabbath to be a blessing. I would love to give you more on why it is a joy to keep it - of my delight in throwing to one side the cares of the week on a Friday evening and spending a precious day with the Saviour my family, and friends.  

Related questions: Christ, the law and the Sabbath, Keeping two SabbathsSunday and the Resurrection, Saturday as a holiday, Explaining Ephesians 2:15.


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