Why do Christians today observe the first day of the week and not the seventh day of he week as did Israel? It’s a question that constantly needs to be revisited for those who never got the message that the old testament is for our learning and not our obedience (Rom 15:4)
Sabbath Keeping Was A Part Of The Law of Moses
The Law of Moses, and in particular the Ten Commandments, were “written and engraven on stones.” The new covenant of Christ, on the other hand, was “written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh” (2 Cor. 3:3). Furthermore, what was written on stone (the Ten Commandments), was a killing law, i.e., led to death because of human disobedience, while the new covenant of the Spirit is a life-giving ministration (2 Cor. 3:7). In that same context, Paul says that this old covenant has passed away; it has been replaced by that which possesses a greater and superior glory (2 Cor.3:11). The law of Moses has been abolished: “. . . having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace (Eph. 2:15). Christ, through his cross, “blotted out the bond written in ordinances” of the old law: “.. . having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). Sabbath law, along with the rest of Moses’ law, was taken away by the cross of Jesus.
Sabbath Law Was Only Given To Hebrews
The theological doctrine which today binds sabbath-keeping upon Christians totally ignores the fact that the sabbath was instituted for the Jews and never for the Gentiles. The sabbath was given to the Hebrews to help them remember their own experience in Egypt: “And you shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah your God brought you out there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm: therefore Jehovah your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day” (Deut. 5:15). It was a unique sign between God and the children of Israel: “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exo. 31:16-17). The sabbath was never for Gentiles, nor was it ever practiced by the church!
Sabbath Law Was Revealed At Sinai, Not At Creation
It is often alleged that the Sabbath was given at the creation for all men of all times to observe. This is not true. The Sabbath was not revealed until the Law was given by Moses to Israel at Sinai. The book of Nehemiah acknowledges this in the ninth chap-ter: “You came down also upon mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and made known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commanded them commandments, and statutes, and a law, by Moses thy servant” (Neh. 9:13-14). Moses, who revealed the Sabbath to the people at Sinai, explained its having been “hallowed” by God in his narrative about creation in Genesis 2:1-3. He does not say in Genesis that it was hallowed then, only that God rested then, and hallowed it later at Sinai. If it had been hallowed and commanded at the creation, why did none of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.) ever observe it?
Sabbath Observance Was Forbidden To Gentile Christians
In Paul’s Galatian epistle he hammered home the fact that the law of Moses was not to be seen as binding upon the church. He warned Christians not to be entangled again in a yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1), but to continue in the freedom from the law of Moses which Jesus had wrought upon the cross. Since circumcision was the main issue in Galatians, other facts are often ignored, such as his condemnation of observance of the Jewish holy days: “You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain” (Gal. 4:10-11). The sabbath was one of those Jewish holy days to which he makes reference here! Paul feared that, just as these Gentiles had once been servants of idolatrous gods (v. 8), they would now serve the false apostles who had invaded their number, make themselves subservient to the entire law (cf. 5:3), and ultimately sever themselves from Christ and his grace (cf. 5:4).
Christians Are Not To Be Judged By Jewish Laws
The New Testament requirements are the basis of our judgment, not those things found in the Old Testament. The Old Testament legislation was requisite for Hebrews living under that covenant; we are not to be judged by these “shadows”: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s” (Col. 2:16-17).
Christians Are To Worship On The First Day Of The Week: Sunday
This was the day of our Lord’s resurrection (Jn 20:1). It was the day upon which early Christians assembled to worship and commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection (Acts 20:7). On this same day they gave of their means (1 Cor. 16:1-2), since it was the important day of Christian assembly. In the Old Testament the sabbath was a day of holy convocation and assembly (Lev. 23:3). In the New Testament Christians are never seen observing this day or meeting in such convocations, save to teach and convert Jews in their own meetings. Christians worshiped on the first day of the week, the day we call Sunday, since sabbath celebration ended for them with the Lord’s death on the cross. Bottom line, Israel remembered the sabbath because God freed them from bondage and gave them a day of rest. Christians remember the Lord’s death because He freed us from our sins by his death, burial, and resurrection (which occurred on Sunday) (Jn 20:1-17).