Sabbath Day Worship

Sabbath or Sunday Worship Part 1C Series

Religion: Sabbath or Sunday Worship Part 1C: Jews and Gentiles

Many aliases and changes of the name are recorded in the Bible, but not a single change in Jesus’ name appeared. On the other hand, there are changes of names in other versions of the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments: Elijah: Elias or Elia, Abram to Abraham, but this was changed by God putting His name in the middle and becoming the Father of the multitudes. Ahasuerus in Esther 1:1 is known to history as Xerxes, Sarai becomes Sarah in Genesis 17:15, and Jacob becomes Israel in Genesis 32:28. There are some changes of the name because it had to, like when the Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah,  King Josiah’s oldest Son, Eliakim to Jehoiakim, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon changed the names of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in that order to be pleasing to the Babylonian gods. Also, Saul to Paul, to Apostle Paul.

Peter is also known as Simon, Son of Jonah (John 21:15). Jesus gave Simon the name Peter, and he was also known as Cephas, which means stone; Andrew or Andraus, the brother of Peter; James was identified as the Son of Zebedee, Bartholomew was identified as Nathanael in John’s gospel, Thomas was referred to as Didymus. Some names and aliases were very confusing, and some had no explanation for why the change of names happened. 

Jesus is an accessible name to pronounce because we are already used to it. The shortened name of Yehoshua, the original Hebrew name of Jesus to Yeshua, will have the same impact on the pronunciation of Yehoshua. However, practice makes it perfect; Jesus has been Jesus for many centuries, and calling his name correctly seems to have no problem worldwide. Changing it back to Yehoshua may need a little practice, but we can be accustomed to it as we keep saying it. Therefore, it should not be changed; it is a big mistake.

Since Jesus was the one who chose his disciples and was later called apostles, he would continue his teachings when he was gone. He could probably have a good reason for the change of names of some of his disciples. The  first group of Christians God mentioned as His chosen people, with their hard work, deserve to be called the “chosen ones.” As many are called and responded to accept the word of God, they will be part of the family of the “chosen ones.” Jesus said John 10-23 Jesus said: “I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way, the world knows that you have sent me and loved them the same way you have loved me.” This is followed by the confirmation that this scripture has something to do with the doctrine of the Trinity.

John 15:4-11 says: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.’ ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’ ‘If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.’ ‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[a] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.’ ‘By this, My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”—New King James Version.

Paul’s ministry with the Gentiles grew in significant numbers of followers. When the apostles heard that the Gentiles were accepting the message of Paul, the apostles started to reach the Gentiles and converted many, especially in Galatia. This made Paul furious that his converts were being proselytized. Paul brought up his new doctrine on circumcision and challenged his converts not to listen to the other Jesus that the other group preached. He was referring to Judaist preachers or teachers. Jews were not easy to convert to Christianity, while the Samaritans were more flexible and easy to accept the teachings Jesus brought to them by the apostles.

As long as we worship the one true God, the same God the Jews and Muslims worship, it should not be burdensome. God knows how much we love Him and knows if we are only politicizing to attract attention. Therefore, the significance of the seventh day is a devotion to the Almighty Father, the one true God Whose existence is being recognized.

Did Jesus and the apostles change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday? It was not taught and recorded by the New Testament, so they did not change the Sabbath’s rest. The Christian Jews seriously respected the Sabbath labor rest, and the day was devoted to the LORD as recorded in the Old Testament:

Exodus 31:16-17—Therefore, the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant…

Exodus 31:13—…” Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations that you may know I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

Ezekiel 20:18-21—…”I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between you and Me, that you may know that I am the LORD your God…

The reflection of the Israelite’s disobedience and misbehavior met the warnings from the LORD: Ezekiel 20:12-13—”Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.”—Ezekiel 20:24 “because they had not executed My judgments but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.”

Reminder from Deuteronomy 4:2 —You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

There are ups and down with our faith because we lost focus on the great “I AM.” We worship the Son instead of the Father. It is not wrong to give the Son full respect, but the Father is no longer the center of the worship for Christian Sabbath Sunday. And for the Jews who are still under the law, their faith speaks for itself. During ancient Israel, as recorded, the Idols’ presence in mind led to the destruction of the covenant. To be called the chosen people of God, once again, faith must be justified. John 3:16 is available, and they can meditate on it day and night. 

God is all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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