why do we celebrate the sabbath on sunday
Why do some Christians observe the Sabbath on Sunday? The Christians during the apostolic era (basically the first century, from about 35 to 100 A. D. ) kept Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, more or less what we now call Saturday. (More or less" because the Bible Sabbath begins and ends at sundown whereas Saturday begins and ends at midnight). For the first 300 years of Christian history, the Christian religion was an illegal religion, but Judaism was a legal religion. During the apostolic era, Christians found it convenient to let the Roman authorities think of them as Jews. Sabbath observance is quite visible. Thus, during those early years of Christianity observance of Sabbath helped the Christians to be identified with Judaism, which gained them legitimacy with the Roman government. However, the Jews rebelled against Rome, and the Romans put down their rebellion by destroying Jerusalem in 70 A. D. and again in 135 A. D. Obviously, the Roman government's suppression of the Jews made it increasingly uncomfortable for Christians to be thought of as Jews. So instead of trying to be thought of as Jews, some Christians in the early second century tried to distance themselves from Judaism, and observing a different day was one easy way to do that. And that was a very convenient way to do it. Many pagans observed the first day of the week in honor of their sun god.
By switching to observing the Sabbath on the first day of the week the Christians accomplished two things: They distanced themselves from Judaism, and they made it easier for pagans to become Christians. Of course, their observance of the Sabbath on Sunday was without biblical support. They just did it. This is not to say that all Christians suddenly started keeping the first day of the week. The movement toward keeping Sunday began quite small. The earliest positive evidence for a Christian worship service on Sunday is sometime between about 115 and 135 A. D. , probably in Rome. We also know that the church in Rome was particularly active in promoting Sunday observance. For several centuries, some Christians kept Sabbath on Saturday and some kept it on Sunday. By the 500s, Sunday observance was pretty universal. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, the book
"From Sabbath to Sunday" by Samuele Bacchiocchi has a very detailed history. You can purchase this book online by clicking here. See this page in: Mankind's Day of Rest, the Sabbath Day ot all churches answer this question the same way. Some groups, most notably the Seventh-day Adventists, still worship on the seventh day. They argue that the sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments ( ), and is therefore part of God's permanent will for His people.
They often claim that the shift to Sunday was part of a great apostasy that allowed pagan ideas to infiltrate the church during the early centuries (see Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 58-59). Other Christian groups say that Sunday is the Christian version of the sabbath. They suggest that the main point of God's command to observe the sabbath was not the seventh day, but the idea of one day out of the seven. Jesus claimed that he was Бlord even of the sabbathБ ( ), and therefore had the authority to change it to a different day. This position argues that Jesus changed the day to Sunday as a way of extending its blessing from the Jews to the whole world. Still others Christians would say that we no longer observe the Jewish sabbath, but worship instead on Sunday, a distinctively Christian holy day. They argue that the early church very soon began meeting on Sunday in honor of the resurrection of Jesus, which took place on the first day of the week. At the very beginning, the church in Jerusalem met every day in the temple and in private homes ( ). Since the first believers were all Jewish, it seems safe to assume that they continued to participate in Jewish synagogue and temple worship for some time. However, the New Testament makes it clear that the observance of a particular day was not imposed as a binding obligation. makes it clear that there was some freedom in the matter of special days. commanded the church not to allow anyone to act as their judge in regard to sabbath days.
And warns against going back under the Law by insisting on the legal requirement of special days. The records that remain in the New Testament show that the first day of the week soon became a day of worship. When Paul wanted to collect an offering from the church at Corinth, he asked them to gather the money on the Бfirst day of the weekБ ( ). And when he wanted to meet with the believers at Troas, the gathering took place on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread ( ). In, the apostle John described himself as being in the Spirit on the. Most writers have thought he was referring to Sunday, so that our use of the Lord's Day as a term for Sunday comes from this verse. There is no Scripture passage that specifically teaches that the sabbath has been transferred from one day to another. It seems most likely that the shift from Saturday to Sunday was gradual, and took place along with the change from a mostly Jewish church to a mostly Gentile one. The early church fathers generally viewed sabbath as a Jewish observance, and the Lord's Day as the proper Christian observance. For example, Ignatius wrote in the early 100's A. D. , describing Christians with a Jewish background as those who Бhave come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His deathБ (Magnesians 9 ) [Editor's note: Magnesians is a letter written to the church at Magnesia by Ignatius, a church father, also called Theophorus. ] A person's decision concerning sabbath observance probably hinges on the question of how we view the entire Old Testament.
If all of it is still binding on us, then so is the sabbath. If there are parts that are no longer binding because they were directed specifically to the Jewish nation, or because they were for ritual purposes, then the sabbath is open for discussion. No matter what position a person takes, it is important to recognize that God has a claim to all of my time. When I give Him one day of the week, it reminds me that He owns all seven! For a much more detailed discussion of this question, consult the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia articles on БSabbathБ and Lord's Day. Author: Dr. John Bechtle. 1996, All Rights ReservedБexcept as noted on attached page that grants ChristianAnswers. Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools. ChristianAnswers. Net USA
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