By Peter Michael Martinez
We know that once our God declares something HOLY, it remains so. The sabbath day is very special in that it is a MARK or SIGN between YHWH God and His people. It remains a distinction that the Remnant of God’s people fully understand.
Exodus 31:13 “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am YHWH that doth sanctify you.”
It makes a distinction between those who are HIS and honor HIS word. This is one of the commandments written in the hearts and minds of the New Covenant believers and is part of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of YHWH thy God: 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:”
Jesus and the Disciples
Some have taught that Jesus did not teach about the sabbath day but that is in error. Jesus honored the sabbath for to not do so would be SIN and Jesus was without sin.
He taught the disciples the TRUE MEANING of the sabbath day that it was made for man and not man for the sabbath. He delivered men from religious nonsense that was added by the Religious community and restored our Father’s original intention in this blessing called the Sabbath day.
It is a day of resting and recovery that the human body and mind needs to be healthy and successful in our world.
The disciples continued in the same teaching as they taught in the synagogues on sabbath days. Remember that all of Israel knew full well that the sabbath was the 7th day and all businesses would close from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday every week without fail.
Even today, when you go to Israel as I have 3 times, all the Jewish stores and shops close down right at sundown on Friday night and like a grand reopening burst to life on the evening of Saturday. It is a very stark lesson that leaves a very real impression on you if you’ve never seen it.
Acts 13:44 “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”
It was the custom of the Apostles to meet and preach the word of God on the Sabbath day. Even the Gentiles understood this and gathered to hear the Word of the LORD on the Sabbath day.
It was never questioned and there was no discussion in those days about which day was the sabbath day or whether or not any other day would be considered the sabbath. That was just not something discussed because even the heathen knew very well of the hebrew customs.
It was certainly never an issue in Israel. What did become a matter of debate is what is or is not legal on the sabbath day but never the day itself. That just wasn’t a point of debate.
When did things change … and who changed it?
As the Bible does not testify of Sunday sacredness to honor the resurrection, it was clearly unknown to the Apostles and was neither observed or commanded by them. Sunday sacredness is really nothing more than a Catholic Tradition. If you are going to follow the precepts of the word of God in the Bible and observe the day it enjoins, then there is really only one choice: the keeping of the seventh day (Saturday) Sabbath as found in the Ten Commandments of God.
Over the centuries, it was through royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained by secular power by which the pagan festival [day of the Sun] attained its position of honor in the Christian world.
In fact, the first public ordinance that enforced Sunday observance was a law enacted by Constantine in A. D. 321. History records that this edict required citizens to rest on “the venerable day of the sun,” but permitted farmers and agricultural workers to continue their farming. While this had nothing to do with the Bible or the Kingdom, it was enforced by the emperor Constantine as his own brand of compromised, seeker sensitive Christianity.
It was during the council of Nicea, convened by Constantine in 325 ad, that it was decreed that Passover would be celebrated, not on the 14th of Nisan according to the Biblical method, but rather, always on a Sunday, supposedly to honor the resurrection, but in reality was again another attempt to meld together Sun worship with Christianity.
Sunday became a little Easter every week. Emperor Theodosius II, a century later, issued a Sunday law that specifically enforced “the Lord’s day” as a Christian day of rest and worship:
“On the following occasions all amusements of the theaters and the circuses shall be denied throughout all cities to the people thereof, and the minds of Christians and of the faithful shall be wholly occupied in the worship of God: namely, on the Lord’s day, which is the first day of the whole week, on the Natal Day and Epiphany of Christ, and on the day of Easter and of Pentecost, as long as the vestments that imitate the light of the celestial font attest to the new light of holy baptism; at the time also when the commemoration of the Apostolic Passion, the teacher of all Christianity, is duly celebrated by everyone.” (Law of Theodosius II, Feb. 1, 425, in THEODOSIAN CODE 15.5.5, p. 433. Copyright 1952 by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.)
As this was NEVER instituted by the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, one has to ask why this became a matter of compromise? Why would the Christian community go along with a departure from one of the Ten Commandments when it clearly stated that we are to remember the Sabbath day?
You have to bear in mind that from the first century forward, there was DEADLY persecution being leveled against all new believers and one of the ways to MARK these believers was … you guessed it … they gathered on Saturdays.
It didn’t take long for some to propose that by meeting on the same day that the Sun worshipers did, they would not “stand out” or be so “set apart” and would not be such easy targets for persecution. History records that this compromise started “making sense” to the new generations of Christians who feared persecution for their faith.
Little by little it became an accepted practice and ultimately was adopted by the emerging church in Rome where it became a formal tradition of incorporation of pagan holidays mixed with Holy Days to give people a way of avoiding persecution while supposedly still becoming a “christian” as they understood it.
While the Protestant Reformation contended on many issues, the tradition of Sunday worship was so ingrained as a tradition that to attempt to change that would not be popular. In every generation, a Remnant of God’s people quietly abstained and kept the Sabbath day but most who claimed to be Christians, were really following Roman Catholic and not biblical doctrine.
Today most churches have no idea that in keeping Sunday as the Sabbath day they are taking a position in agreement with the Roman Catholic Church that MAN has the power to OVERRIDE the Holy Scriptures and that MAN MOVED THE SABBATH DAY.
Such a notion that man can MOVE the sabbath day is so blasphemous on its face that it hardly requires much in rebuke. Surely those who ask the Holy Spirit will get an answer to this question … if they can bear it.
What about the average believer?
I personally believe most church goers to be completely innocent of this issue. I believe that most people have never even taken the time to question Sunday worship and the issue of the Sabbath day. Those in leadership however, bear a different level of responsibility.
Even Christians that today advocate for the Ten Commandments are unaware of the 4th commandment and the importance of the fact that no man has the authority to change one jot or tittle of the Holy Laws of God.
I don’t believe the average Christian has this blood on their hands because they are following an example and tradition that they grew up thinking was normal and acceptable to YHWH God. They believe that God is “all good” with man moving the Sabbath day and some will reason that … it doesn’t matter.
YHWH will say for HIMSELF what does and does not matter to HIM. If someone said to you that the commandment “thou shalt not steal” is not longer in effect, what would you say to them? Personally, I don’t believe such things are up for debate.
As for Encouragement Church, we always want to be a blessing and encouragement to God’s people to seek FIRST HIS KINGDOM and His righteousness. To learn HIS ways and know our Father’s heart.
Rather than debate this issue, we walk out a demonstration in love as an example for this is what the scripture calls us to do. We do NOT condemn anyone who worships on any other day and we support worship EVERYDAY of the week.
We support meetings and gatherings in Jesus’ name in every place and in every way we can to reach people with the gospel.
But if you ask us which day is the Sabbath day … It’s most certainly NOT Sunday.
The Sabbath begins on Friday Evening and extends to Saturday Evening. We have moved our Saturday Morning service back to Friday Nights!!!