Lonely Port

Chapter 14

It Never Was

Your birthday is the anniversary of when you came into the world. It commemorates the event. That is what your birthday is. The Bible Sabbath is the birthday of the world. By an express act of God (written down in Genesis 2:1-3), the Seventh day was declared by our Creator to be the weekly anniversary of the creation of this planet, several thousand years ago.

Can a person change his birthday from the day of the year on which he was born to another day? "impossible," you say. And you would be right.

Suppose he was born on August 7. He might tell people that he was born on August 1, but that would not change his birthday. It would still be August 7.

Well, then—how could he change his birthday? Even if the federal government enacted a law that his birthday was now August 1, and that he had been born on August 1—it would not change his real birthday. It would continue to be the 7th of August. He might convince everyone in the world that it was August 1, but this would not alter his actual birthday. August 1 would, in very real fact, remain a fiction—a fake birthday.

In the same manner, the Seventh-day Sabbath—the birthday of our world—cannot be changed to any other day of the week. Christ never changes, and He is the One who created this world out of nothing in the first place.

The Seventh-day Sabbath proves that the Creator is the only personage in all the universe whom we are to worship. The Sabbath is the mark of His creative power and authority.

The Seventh-day Sabbath, given by God to commemorate the creation of this world, could not be changed—except by going lack and changing Creation! The Creation Week, recorded in Genesis 1, would have to be redone. God would have to blot out this world and all its inhabitants and start all over again. Once our world has been created, men may try to deny those facts but they cannot change them: The earth and all in it was created in six days, and then God rested the Seventh and hallowed and sanctified it.

But perhaps you are still wondering: Is there no way to change the Sabbath to another day? Is not the authority of Constantine and the pope sufficient to do it? Is not the fact that Sunday-keeping has been customary for over fifteen hundred years all that is needed? What about the overwhelming number of people who today keep it holy? Isn't that sufficient to authorize the change? 

Quite obviously, the answer is no. And for a very simple reason: The Bible Sabbath is not just some silly little regulation that mortal man can change whenever he wishes to. It is the great Signpost pointing all mankind to the worship of the only true God—the Creator God. Creation Week would have to be redone in order to change the Sabbath. Here are statements by two prominent Protestants who recognized this fact: 

"The reason for which the [Sabbath] command was originally given, -namely, as a memorial of God's having rested from the Creation of the world—cannot be transferred from the seventh day to the first; nor can any new motive be substituted in its place, whether the resurrection of our Lord or any other—without the sanction of a divine command [in Scripture] ..

"For if we under the gospel are to regulate the time of our public worship by the prescriptions of the Decalogue—it will be far safer to observe the seventh day, according to the express commandment of God, than on the authority of mere human conjecture to adopt the first [day of the week]." John Mi/ton, A Posthumous Treatise on the Christian Doctrine, Book 2, chap. 7 [John Mi/ton (1608-1674) was the most famous poet of English literature, and the author of "Paradise Lost.]

 "If it [the Ten Commandments] yet exists, let us observe it.. And if it does not exist, let us abandon a mock observance of another day for it. 'But, say some, 'it was changed from the seventh to the first day.' Where? when? and by whom?—No, it never was changed, nor could be, unless creation was to be gone through again. For the reason assigned [in Genesis 2:1-3] must be changed before the observance or respect to the reason, can be changed.

“It is all old wives' fables to talk of the change of the sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changes times and laws [Dan 7:25] ex officio.—I think his name is 'Doctor Antichrist. ' Alexander Campbell, "The Christian Baptist, " February 2, 1824, vol 1, no.7 [Campbell (1788-1866) was an Irish Protestant who founded in America the denomination known as the Disciples of Christ.]

People can talk all they want about honoring Christ's resurrection by going to church that morning and then taking the rest of the day off as a holiday. But by working on the Seventh day—the day before Sunday—they have broken the Fourth Commandment. It is as simple as that. Will we obey God's words, or will we follow our own opinions? We now know that people today keep Sunday only because Christian apostates at Alexandria and Rome wanted the favor of the Sun-worshipers more than the favor of God. 

Here then is the question: Are we told anywhere in the New Testament that we should keep Sunday holy? Is there even one text in all of Scripture that officially changes God's holy Sabbath from the Seventh day to the first day?

There is not one text—not one—anywhere in the Bible that commands us to do such a thing.

Sunday is never called sacred or holy anywhere in the Bible. It is never called the Sabbath or the Lord's Day. Sunday is only mentioned eight times in the entire Bible. The first time is Genesis 1:5, where the first day of Creation Week is spoken of. No Sunday sacredness here. It is just one of the six working days of Creation Week.

The next five times refer to Jesus' appearances on Sunday to His disciples after His rest in the tomb on the Bible Sabbath (Matt 28:1; Mk 16:1-2,9; Lk 24:1;Jn 20:1,19). Jesus went and found His disciples and told them the good news that He was alive. But there is nothing here about Sunday holiness.

Here are the eight texts in the New Testament that mention the first day of the week:

Matthew 28:1 is the first first-day text in the New Testament: Here we see that the Sabbath ends before the first day of the week begins—and that is all that this passage tells us. Matthew wrote his record several years after the resurrection of Christ.

Mark 16:1-2 is the second first-day text, and Mark 16:9 is the third: We here learn that the Sabbath was past before the first day began. They are two different days. The Seventh-day Sabbath is holy, the other is but one of the six working days. Years after the resurrection, Mark knew of no first-day sacredness.

Luke 24:1 is the fourth one: Nothing new here. Luke does point out in the two preceding verses ( Luke 23:55-56) that some of Jesus' most faithful followers "rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment" (the Fourth Commandment of Exodus 20:8-11). In all His years of instruction, Jesus had said nothing about Sunday-keeping—or we would see His followers faithfully observing it. But this is not to be found, for Sunday-sacredness is foreign to Scripture.

John 20:1 is the fifth first-day text in the New Testament: Again the same simple record of the early morning experience, and nothing more.

John 20:19 is the sixth one: As with the others, John's record gives no account that Jesus ever mentioned the first day of the week. What John does say is that the disciples were gathered together "for fear of the Jews." He specifically points out that this was not a worship gathering. They were simply in hiding, fearful that they too would soon be killed as Jesus was. Some have suggested that the disciples were celebrating Christ's resurrection. This is incorrect; for they did not yet believe Jesus had risen. They were frightened men with a dead Saviour, for all they knew. Twice, Mark shows that by that time they still could not or would not believe it (Mark 16:11 and 16:12-13). Later Christ appeared to them (Luke 24:33- 37) but had a difficult time convincing them that it was He.

Acts 20:7-8 is the seventh text: After having spent seven days at Troas, Paul and his missionary company held a farewell gathering with them that night, which lasted till midnight. The first day of the week (Bible time) begins Saturday evening at sunset, and ends Sunday evening at sunset. Inasmuch as this meeting in Acts 20:7-11 was held on the first day of the week and at night, it must therefore have been held on what we today would call "Saturday night." For the first day of the week, according to the Bible, had already begun at sunset on Saturday evening. Had it been held on what we call "Sunday night," the meeting would have been held on the second day of the week.

"It was the evening which succeeded the Jewish Sabbath. On the Sunday morning the vessel was about to sail." Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul, Vol. 2, p. 206. [This is the most authoritative and complete book on the life of the Apostle Paul.]

"The Jews reckoned the day from evening to morning, and on that principle the evening of the first day of the week would be our Saturday evening. If Luke reckoned so here, as many commentators suppose, the apostle then waited for the expiration of the Jewish Sabbath, and held his last religious service with the brethren at Troas ..on Saturday evening, and consequently resumed his journey on Sunday morning." Dr. Horatio B. Hackett, Commentary on Acts, pp. 221-222. [Dr. Hackett was Professor of New Testament Greek in Rochester Theological Seminary.]

After the Saturday night meeting at Troas (Acts 20:7-11), Paul's company immediately set to work. They set sail that night. Paul preferred to go alone part of the way, so the next morning, Sunday morning, he walked nineteen miles across a point of land to Assos, where his friends took him on board ship (Acts 20:11-14).

If Sunday was Paul's holy day, why then did he stay with the brethren at Troas seven days, and then leave them on Sunday morning in order to walk eighteen-and-a-half miles that day. The Bible says, "for so had he appointed" to do. That was planning quite a bit of work for Sunday.

They had spent seven days at Troas, and then on Saturday night (after the Sabbath was past) they had a farewell gathering with the believers, "ready to depart on the morrow." What does it mean "to break bread"? This is the common Bible expression for partaking of food. The disciples broke bread daily from house to house {Acts 2:46), and they "did eat their meat with gladness" (2:46). It should here be mentioned that even if they had held an actual communion service that night, this would in no way make it a holy day. The Lord’s Supper may be celebrated on any day. (1 Cor 11 :26) The Lord's Supper commemorates Christ's death, not His resurrection. "Ye do shew the lord's death till He come." verse 26.

The book of Acts is as silent on first-day sanctity as are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 is the eighth and last text: It is the final mention of the first day of the week in the New Testament, and the only mention in Paul's writings. Although Paul wrote many, many letters, this is the only mention of the first day of the week.

Paul wanted the folk to save aside money for the poor folk in Jerusalem. He was an evangelist who didn't like to make calls for money in Sabbath services. "That there be no gatherings when I come," is what he said. He evidently observed that if people did not lay aside at home systematically, on a basis of weekly income—there would have to be a gathering when he came—not only a gathering of money, but gatherings of people, also.

"Let everyone of you lay by him in store." This plan had no connection with a weekly collection at a church service. It was to be laid aside at home. This text also teaches us to total up our money and work up our budgets on the first day of each week, since there is not time in the Friday afternoon (sixth day) preparation to carefully give attention to this, before the Sabbath begins at sunset. Bookkeeping and the keeping of accounts is not to be done on the Sabbath.

So there we have it: eight texts where Sunday is mentioned in the New Testament—and no indication of a new holy day, much less a direct command by the God of heaven to observe it in place of the Seventh-day Sabbath.

Thank God every day of your life for the Bible! It is your pathway to Christ and to eternal life. Never leave the pathway for that which relatives or learned men may tell you. If their ideas do not agree with the Word of God, you had better stay with the plain words of Scripture.

But, interestingly enough, there are some who will tell you that no command to keep Sunday is needed—for Revelation 1:10 proves that we should now keep the first day instead of the Seventh day.

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." Revelation 1:10. But there is no mention of Sunday in this verse, nor in the verses around it. We can only understand one scriptural passage by comparing it with other scriptural passages. This is the proper way to study the Bible.

John lived with Jesus throughout H is earthly ministry, and he well knew the day of the Lord. For three years they had kept it each week, for Jesus habitually kept the Bible Sabbath. "And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.

Later, John tells of an experience he had "on the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10). This beloved disciple had personally heard Jesus publicly declare that He was "Lord even of the Sabbath day" (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28). And John well knew that God, in the Old Testament, repeatedly said that the Seventh day was the Sabbath of the Lord. With such a background of information as this—it is inconceivable that this loyal disciple should regard another day as the day of His Lord and Master—when no other day was ever commanded in Scripture!

The only day mentioned in the Bible as being the Lord's day is the Seventh day of the week-the Bible Sabbath. The expression found in Isaiah 58:13 is a good example of this: "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on MY HOLY DAY.." God is here describing the Sabbath.

So then, what day is the "Lord's day" of the Bible? The Bible clearly tells us the day—and it is only one day of the seven. The Bible tells us that the Seventh day is the day of the Lord:

1- The Bible Sabbath is the day unto the Lord (Exodus 16:23,25; 31: 15; 35:2).

2- The Bible Sabbath is the day of the Lord (Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:4).

3- The Bible Sabbath is His own day; He calls it "My holy day" (Isaiah 58:13)

4- The Bible Sabbath is the day that Jesus called Himself the Lord of (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28).

So it is easy to understand why John would speak of it as "the Lord's day" in Revelation 1:10. He surely was not referring to Tuesday or Monday, Thursday or Sunday! For these days had no holiness in the weekly cycle, and none of them were ever spoken of by Jesus or His Father as being a new day for worship.

Yes, John knew what day was the Lord's Day. It is the Seventh-day Sabbath: This is the day that is the Memorial Day of the Creator (Genesis 2: 1-3; Exodus 31: 17). This is the Memorial Day of the Redeemer (Ezekiel 20: 12,20).

This is the Lord's Day—God's own day; a day He wants to share with you.

To love God and obey Him by the grace of Christ—is the most important thing in the world. And it is obvious that Satan seeks in every way to break up this relationship of man with his God. There are many evidences that we live down at the end of time. But a very significant one is the fact that most of the religious leaders today teach that it is not necessary to obey the Ten Commandments.

A great falling away from loyalty to God and His Commandments has taken place during the past ages.

And God predicted that it would happen.