I agree with you that the Old Testament clearly tells us
that the seventh day was to be set aside as the Sabbath. But
"the Lord's Day" -- or the "the first day" of the week -- is
mentioned as the special day several times in the New
Testament. Perhaps the main thing to remember is that since
we are joined to Christ through the cross, we can freely
worship Him every day of the week! He is our Shepherd, and
when we trust and follow Him, He shows us His ways.
But lets look
at some of His guidelines. While our God finished His work of creation on the seventh
day, another work was completed by Jesus through the cross.
Bearing our sins in His tortured body, He said with His
dying breath, "It
is finished!" The ultimate work of redemption was done! No need for periodic sin offerings as in
the past! He
-- the pure and holy sacrificial lamb -- freed us from eternal judgment by bearing the full
of the penalty we deserve.
The Old Testament's 7th-day Sabbath was ordained and celebrated before
the cross -- long before Jesus said, “It is finished”
-- and long before we became partakers of His glorious
Testament legal structure was based on the Law given to
Moses, including all the Levitical laws concerning temple
sacrifice that became obsolete when Jesus became our
ultimate sacrifice for sin -- "once for all." In contrast,
the New Testament was based on God's grace through the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. From then on, God's people would
live by faith, not by "works"! And by that
God-given faith, they would happily follow His way.
In the dark hours
between the cross and the empty tomb, grief and confusion filled
the hearts of those who loved Him. But all the more joyful was
the day of His resurrection -- the first day of the week!
What an amazing time to celebrate! What glorious hours to
commemorate each week in all the years to come!
On the day of
our resurrected Lord sent His people the gift of
the Holy Spirit. Now, by His Spirit in us, we can draw strength and wisdom from the mighty resources of God Himself. We had entered into a "rest"
that could not be limited to one day of the week. Instead we are
called to rest from our own self-efforts every day of the week.
is in Jesus Himself, and -- if we truly are “born again” by
His Spirit -- that rest never ends!
"He has spoken in a certain
place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on
the seventh day from all His works'; and again in this
place: 'They shall not enter My rest.'
therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those
to whom it was first preached did not enter because of
disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying
in David, 'Today,' after such a long time, as it has
been said: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not
harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest,
then He would not afterward have spoken of another
day. There remains therefore a
[Sabbath] rest for the
people of God. For he who has
entered His rest has himself also ceased from his
works as God did from His.
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest,
lest anyone fall according to the same example of
explains some of the statements that Jesus made about the Sabbath. Through
the centuries before the cross, numerous man-made rules for the
Sabbath had been added to God's original guidelines. They brought
all kind of man-made restrictions, many of which had nothing to do with God's moral
law. To clarify the problem, Jesus intentionally healed
and helped people on the Sabbath, prompting Pharisees to
accuse Him of breaking their laws. Their anger gave Jesus the opportunity to ask
public questions and demonstrate His Father's loving intentions:
"Is it lawful
on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or
to destroy?” (Luke 6:9)
you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit,
will not immediately pull him out on the
Sabbath day?" (Luke
was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore
the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)
The old 7th
day Sabbath had been set aside as a holy day to "rest" from
ordinary workday distractions in order to honor God, our
Creator. But, by Jesus' time, this day of worship, joy and
neighborly love had become a fearful day of distracting
man-made rules and restrictions.
Testament shows us that
the early Church changed their
day of worship from the 7th to the 1st day of the week.
They called it "The Lord's Day" -- and
so it was. For "the
Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." (Mark 2:28)
Keep in mind
that Roman labels such as Saturday and Sunday had nothing to
do with this change. May years would pass before that that
pagan dating system was adopted by
the church establishment in the Roman empire.
change from the Pharisees' rule-oriented 7th day Sabbath to the
Spirit-led Lord's Day would
have helped thousands of new Jewish converts
set aside the old works-oriented customs. Paul's letter to
the Galatians expresses his deep concern for converted Jews
who drifted back to the legalistic rules (including the obsolete requirement for circumcision) of the old system:
"...if you become circumcised, Christ will profit
you nothing.... You have become estranged from Christ,
you who attempt to be justified by law; you have
from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for
the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ
Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails
anything, but faith working through love."
By trading the
legalism of the local synagogue for faith in God's grace,
they would be free to follow the leading of God's Spirit, not the restrictions of Levitical laws made obsolete through the
In his letter
to the Galatians, the apostle Paul -- a educated former
Pharisee -- kept warning the
people to trust God rather than themselves. The key
to victory is faith in God, not in self-effort. And the goal is to
faithfully demonstrate His love and honor Him -- not
man -- every day of the week!
receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or
by the hearing of faith? ...Having begun in the
Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh
[human nature and effort]?" Gal. 3:1
"...no one is justified by the law in the
sight of God is evident, for 'the just shall live by
faith.'” Gal. 3:11
you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do
not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but
through love serve one another.” Gal. 5:13-14
By the time the
beloved apostle John was exiled on the island of Patmos, the Christians
had been honoring "the
of the week for a long time. "The
had become the standard day to come together for worship
and communion. For example,
on ..the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together ...
to break bread...." (Acts 20:7)
day of the week
let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as
he may prosper.... I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem."
(1 Corinthians 16:1, 3)
It's not surprising
that God chose this same holy day to communicate with John in a special
way. As the former disciple explained,
"I was in
the Spirit on
and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying,
'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,'
and, 'What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven
churches which are in Asia..." (Revelation 1:10)
called His followers to "walk in the Spirit" and demonstrate
His life every day of the week. That call has led to
hatred and persecution by unbelievers around the world.
Countless millions have been tortured, imprisoned, isolated
and killed for their faith. To many of them, the privilege
of worshipping together with other believers became only a
dream. But He was always with them!
There is much
more to be said about this exciting privilege of resting in Jesus while
walking in His ways. Let us keep on looking to
Him and trusting Him to teach us all that He wants us to know!
“'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'
"But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things
of God.... Now we have received, not the spirit of
the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might
know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
... But the natural man does not receive the things of the
Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:1-14
"He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend
Matthew Henry's Commentary
on the Whole Bible
God's Eternal Covenant
covenant with Abraham.