Friday, August 22, 2014

The Lords Day is The Sabbath not Sunday

First I want to make clear I'm not a Seventh Day Adventist or a member of any any other Sabbath based sect. I do not Support Legalism, Christians are not bound to observe any weekly service, at all. I'm writing this to refute the notion that The New Testament "Lords Day" is Sunday.

Not everyone who believes weekly Sunday worship is Biblical defines it as Sunday supplanting the Sabbath.  Some like Chris White  just define it as the New Testament ordaining weekly Sunday worship as a separate thing from The Sabbath.  I'm making this post in response to any form of suggesting The New Testament ordains weekly Sunday worship.

In The New Testament the term "The Lord's Day" occurs only once. Revelation 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet".

We're not told what day of the week this is, or if it's a weekly day at all. Sunday supporters just assume this phrase means something distinct from the Sabbath and therefore it backs up their other reasons for saying The New Testament calls for worship on the First Day of The Week.

But in Matthew 12:8 Jesus said he was the Lord of the Sabbath, and Isaiah 58:13-14 calls the Sabbath, "The LORD's Holy Day". So using Scripture to Interpret Scripture this can only mean the Sabbath.

As far as extra Biblical references go (which don't actually matter to me). The Didache (supposedly the oldest Extra-Biblical Christian writing) also does not say when "The Lord's Day" is, just refers to it. The one quote of Ignatius of Antioch often used in this debate dated to 110 A.D. says in the only surviving Greek text (which is the language he wrote in) "If, then, those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing Sabbath, but living according to the Lord's life ...". Clearly not about when or if we should do a weekly observance at all, simply referring to us not being bound by The Law. Some later Latin texts add "The Lord's Day" to this, and some even make clear it's Sunday, but these are clearly latter corruptions.

It's not till the second half of the Second Century A.D. that indisputable references to The Lord's Day being Sunday occur, in texts like the Apocryphal Gospel of Peter, or Acts of Peter, or Acts of Paul, or Acts of John, or Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth in 170 A.D. You might think that sounds sufficiently early, but they're after the Bar Kochba revolt which occurred around about a third of the way into the Second Century. That is when the Church started taking on Anti-Semitic tendencies in response to the persecution of Christians carried out under Bar Kochba, I've written on this elsewhere. I feel this separation of Christian observance from the Sabbath was based solely on that agenda.

Now, for Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2.

The Corinthians reference is to me certainly not about weekly observance. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." One could argue that Paul expected his Epistle to be read to the congregation on a Sabbath meeting, and that they should then begin saving up this money the very next day.

Acts 20:7 I don't really see as calling for anything. It just says they broke bread together, and then Paul preached.

I personally find the debating that goes own between Protestant and Evangelical denominations on when to observe the "Lord's Supper", should it be Weekly, Monthly or Yearly, and so on to be silly. Jesus told us when in the actual account of the Supper itself "when ye eat". It's not supposed to be an appointed ceremony, it's simply a matter of whenever we eat we remember that Jesus's Body was Broken and his Blood was Shed for us.

And Paul I don't think needed a special day to Preach on either, Preaching is simply what he did.

But another thing about the Acts reference is it's a Translation issue.

If your ability to check the Greek is only via using a Strongs, or a Strongs based Computer Program, then you probably just saw that the two words translated "first day of the week" here are the same every time that phrase is used of The Resurrection of Jesus. But the thing is the Strongs tells us nothing about grammar or word forms. And the word for Week here, even used in this exact same form "Sabbatwn" is also used in contexts that are indisputably about the Sabbath day, like in Acts 13:14 and 16:13 and Colossians 2:16. The Colossians reference BTW clearly implies in context that early Christians were keeping all those observances refereed to.

Almost no English Translations translate this phrase differently, but that doesn't mean the majority can't be wrong. What leads me to support the minority view here is the anomaly that occurs in my Greens Interlinear Bible.

In the Column on the side where the Greens puts things in a way that grammatically works in English, it reads like most translations "The first day of the week". But where the English words are placed under the actual Greek text it reads "on one of the Sabbaths". Reading the whole narrative in context I feel supports that reading.

Acts 20:6-7 "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And on one of the Sabbaths, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."

Being so soon after the Days of Unleavened Bread means this is during the counting of the Omer, the Seven Sabbaths that pass between First fruits and Pentecost. So "one of the Sabbaths" probably means one of those Seven Sabbaths.

Even if we take the KJV at face vale, that it's between First Fruits and Pentecost means it's not a First Day of the Week that wasn't already ordained by the Torah in Leviticus 23.

Likewise The Resurrection and Pentecost were on Sundays because Leviticus 23 ordained them to be, those Sundays being important did not introduce anything new.

I keep hearing that ALL of Jesus post Resurrection appearances were on Sundays from the Evangelical Sunday supporting people.

Besides that it's well known The Ascension was a Thursday being day 40 of the Omer (Acts 1:3).  Most of them aren't clearly dated at all besides ones that occurred on the very Sunday of the Resurrection.  Or what John 20:26 says for the Doubting Thomas incident which mathematically does NOT tell me it was the same Day of the Week as the previews event.  Eight Day would make it at the same day of the week, but after eight days makes it a day later.

When you read through Acts, you'll see Sabbath observances are definitely still kept by Early Christians, even Paul. Even if the word Sabbath isn't used, if Paul is disputing with Jews in a Synagogue, you can infer that it is a Sabbath or a New Moon or a Holy Day. And for this reason it's clear that even the Mars' Hill Sermon was preached on a Sabbath not a Sunday, in Acts 17:16-19.

Ezekiel 45 clearly has the Sabbath still being observed in the Messianic Temple.  And I believe that is the New Heaven and New Earth not The Millennium.

So what day we do a weekly observance is not something to be Dogmatic on. Or even if we do a weekly observance at all.  I'm ultimately against the entire modern definition of what a church is, archaeology shows no church buildings were built till the Third Century. But the evidence both Biblical and Extra-Biblical shows that the first 2 or 3 generations of The Church met on the Jewish Sabbath, not Sunday.

But there is something else I want to note on the Western Sunday worship issue.  I was raised Catholic, and I remember during a catechism class on the Ten Commandments they showed a corny little video about a kid being a stubborn brat for not wanting to wake up early on Sunday morning to go to church.  I felt like the whole being a Day of Rest part of the command was being contradicted by forcing someone to wake up before it came naturally to them.  I didn't say that because I knew they'd just find applying that logic to be outright bizarre.

You see besides just changing what Day we should observe the Sabbath command on, we don't follow the Biblical definition of when a day begins either.  Sunset of the previous day is when the Day begins for Jews.  Jews and Torah observing Christians do their Sabbath worship service after the Sun sets on Friday, they do not worry about waking up early in the morning.  The Priests in The Temple may have had to get up early to make the morning offerings, but their responsibilities were different from most people.  If an additional Synagogue service happened during the daylight hours of The Sabbath, it wasn't first thing after Sunrise.

The Women came to Jesus Tomb early Sunday morning precisely because it wasn't a Sabbath, they came to do something they couldn't do on The Sabbath.  If you want to do a Sunday service based on The Resurrection, when they fond the Tomb Empty isn't the time you should use, but rather much later in the day when Jesus appeared to the Disciples which was at dinner time, or the Road to Emmaus which was a little earlier then that.  The reference to Bread there isn't a coincidence, they keeping the seven day feast of unleavened bread, of which I believe the Resurrection and First Fruits of that years was the third day, the 17th of Nisan.

But now after all that I want to advice my fellow Sabbath advocates not to make the ridiculous "Sunday is because of Sun worship" argument.  As I showed early on there were pre Constantine Christians claiming the Lord's Day was Sunday because of Anti-Semitism.  Constantine probably choose Sun Worhip to try and meld Christianity with because they happened to be worshiping that day already.

Each day of the week has a Pagan god attached to it on secular calendars.  That the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday was used by confused ancient Pagans like Tacitus to argue the Jewish God was actually Saturn.  That the Pilgrimage Feast days all revolved around the Harvest cycle probably would have backed that if he'd been aware of it, with Saturn being the god of the harvest.

Jesus is called by Malachi the Sun of Righteousness, and Genesis 1 says he Sun, Moon and stars were given for times and for seasons.  So I think it's fitting that He rose from the dead at sunrise on Sunday.

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