Saturday or Sunday?

From Issue: Discovery 01/02/2012

One of the most noticeable differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament revolves around the Sabbath day. The Sabbath, which is Saturday on our calendars, was the day when God rested from creating the heavens, the Earth, and all that is in them. He blessed it and marked it as a holy day (Genesis 2:2-3). In the Ten Commandments, God said: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work…” (Exodus 20:8-10a). Those who were under the Law of Moses could do no work on Saturday. They could not even cook their food on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:23).

Some people think that since God commanded the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day holy in Exodus 20, we should worship on Saturday instead of Sunday. Others say that since we worship God on Sunday, it is a holy day and under the same commandment of rest. Is either of these ideas correct?

As Christians, we are no longer under the commandments of the Old Testament, and we do not have to obey the commandment to rest or worship on Saturday. We have examples of Christians meeting together to worship on Sundays (read Acts 20:7-12; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2), but nowhere in the New Testament are Christians commanded to worship on Saturday. Saturday is no longer a holy day. At the same time, even though Sunday is a special day for Christians, we are not commanded to observe this as a day of rest. Sunday is not the “Christian Sabbath,” because there is no “Christian Sabbath.” Even though it may be a worthy tradition to rest on Sunday, Christians are not commanded to “do no work” on this day.

So what is Sunday for? The Lord established Sunday as the day Christians meet together and worship Him. We are shown that singing, praying, teaching, and giving are all part of our Sunday worship. The fifth part (or act) of worship involves remembering Jesus’ death on the cross by eating the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). These are the only commands for Christians on Sunday. God freed us from a commanded Sabbath rest, but promised those of us who are Christians an eternal rest with Him in heaven (read Hebrews 4:1-11).


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