Is Sunday the Sabbath?

by: Bill Bratt


From time to time you may hear some people who worship on Sunday make reference that Sunday is the Sabbath.

In today's society people want to be politically correct and more importantly we should strive to be Biblically correct.

‘Sunday’ is the 'first day of the week' and the Bible nowhere calls ‘Sunday’ the ‘Sabbath’ nor does the Bible say that ‘Sunday’ is 'holy'.

Let’s notice what the Bible records that was the first thing that God made holy: "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:2-3 KJV.) Here we are at the time of creation and God had worked six days (Genesis 1) and on the seventh day, He rested from all of His work and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, which means that He made it holy.

When God gave mankind His Ten Commandments, He wrote the Fourth Commandment regarding His Holy Sabbath Day saying: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. {9} Six days you shall labor and do all your work, {10} but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. {11} For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11 NKJV.) Please notice that the ‘Sabbath’ is on the seventh day of the week and that God hallowed it, which means that He made it holy.

In the New Testament Jesus Christ said that He was 'Lord of the Sabbath' (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus Christ was Jewish, born of the tribe of Judah (Hebrew 7:14) and it was his custom to keep the Sabbath (Luke 4:16, 4:31, 6:6, 13:10, Mark 1:21, John 5:14.)

Since Jesus was Jewish, He kept the Sabbath as do the Jewish people today, on Saturday, the seventh day of the week.

When Jesus was giving His Mount Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24 and was talking about the ‘great tribulation’ (verses 15-28), He made an interesting statement regarding the Sabbath: {19} "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! {20} But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." Jesus was stating that the Sabbath would still be observed at the ‘end time’ at His second coming.

The apostle Paul, who was sent to the Gentiles, kept the Sabbath, and it was his custom to do so (Acts 16:13, 17:2, 18:4.)

Jesus Christ and the New Testament Church, including the apostle Paul, kept the Seventh Day (Saturday) Sabbath.

Let's look at a New Testament scripture about the Sabbath for today:
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." (Hebrews 4:9 KJV.)
The word appearing as "rest" in Hebrews 4:9 is not translated properly. In the original Greek it is "Sabbatismos," which means: "A KEEPING OF THE SABBATH."

The New International Version translates this verse as: "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God." The American Standard Version, Weymouth New Testament, Rotherham Emphasized Bible also translates the word "rest" as "Sabbath-rest." The Bible in Basic English translates this verse as: "So that there is still a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God." Let’s notice what happened in the fourth century.

Emperor Constantine was a Pagan sun-worshiper and in 321 CE he declared that Sunday was to be a day of rest throughout the Roman Empire: "On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost."

The Church Council of Laodicea circa 364 CE ordered that religious observances were to be conducted on Sunday, not Saturday. Sunday became the new day of worship. They ruled: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day."

The day of worship was changed from the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) to the first day of the week (Sunday) by the Catholic Church. In the 'Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine' by Peter Geierman (1946) page 50 the following statements are made: "We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." and "The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her."

The Protestants came out of the Catholic Church, due to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, and they continue to keep the Sunday tradition.

In conclusion: Those not keeping the Sabbath will not be bearing God's Sabbath "sign" which identifies His people. The only way we can keep the Sabbath as Holy time is by doing what God commands on that day - by RESTING from our physical labors!

For more information on the Seventh Day (Saturday) Sabbath you can pick the following links:

Why Do You Observe Sunday?

The First Day of the Week

Remember the Sabbath