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Sabbath Day Worship

Sabbath or Sunday Worship – Part 7 Series

Religion and the Sabbath/Sunday Worship – Part 7: The Early Church Fathers Corrected 1/30/2022

Some religious organizations, such as the Sabbath Christians (Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-Day Baptists, and certain other smaller groups), claim that Christians must not worship on Sunday but Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. They claim that Sabbath worship must be kept for the reason that God set apart the seventh day of creation to be a day of rest and with an emphasis that we must always remember not to forget the Sabbath and must keep it holy by having all the members of the household refrain from working. At some point in an unrecorded time after the apostolic age, the Church “changed” the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday.

However, passages of Scripture in the New Testament support Sunday as Lord’s Day, such as Acts of the Apostles or Acts knew to be written by Luke, the companion of Paul. For example, acts is the fifth book of the New Testament,  Acts 20:7- And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his …, Paul supported the Sunday meeting of the faithful, and he was the author of 1 Corinthians 16:2- On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come to no collections … For many centuries, many claimed the epistle to the Colossians be credited to Paul. Still, modern scholars argued and settled the authenticities, that those were not Pauls’s work and maybe belonged to Philemon or Epaphras or somebody else connected with Paul, like maybe a beloved friend and evangelist who shared Paul’s work for spreading the gospel and gave guidance to the Colossians. 

Paul never visited the Colossae, and I believe that maybe Paul approved the letter to the Colossians in support of the Sunday meetings of the faithful— Colossians 2:16-17- 16 Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat or drink, or respect of a holy day, or the new moon, or the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ., and the book of Revelation as revealed to John 1:10- 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet…

The passages mentioned above vindicated the Sunday worshippers a peace of mind, and the New Testament supports that Sabbath is no longer binding if we go by the  Scripture. Christians are to worship on the Lord’s day and should acknowledge Christ’s victorious mission in defeating death, his sacrifices, and deliverance, and most of all, the message of love from God, His word. The traditional Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, gave way to Christ’s honor, but it should not take away the praise and glory to our  God Almighty, who is the root cause of our salvation. Honoring Christ is not enough; that is why Sunday celebration is dedicated to him and, of course, to God our jealous Father.

Remember that Jesus honors the heavenly Father, and during his ministry, he referred to God as “Father,” as recorded in the New Testament gospels. He humbly said that the Father is more significant than Him (I) in John 14:28.

The early church fathers supported the meetings on Sunday as the Lord’s day, and they sided with the validity with no harm to our relationship with the Father and the Son. We have free will, and any choices we make are our responsibility. However, we must be extra careful because other people’s opinions could also not be ours. Remember, our conscience will testify when the time comes, so let your conscience speaks to your heart before you make any move. Would it be Saturday or Sunday that we have to observe Holy Days?

Sabbath (Saturday) is the 7th day of the week for Jewish people, and the day after Sabbath is Sunday, the eight-day for them when Christians gather in honor of Jesus Christ’s resurrection day. Pray and meditate and ask God for wisdom.

The following are the Early Church Fathers and Evangelists whose opinions on worship day were considered.

Barnabas—…In which Jesus rose again from the dead” (Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74])

Didache “But every Lord’s day . . . gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions…(Didache 14; A.D. 70).

Ignatius of Antioch —… Those who have come to the possession of new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day…(Letter to the Magnesians 8; A.D. 110).—

Justin Martyr —”But Sunday is the day we all hold our joint assembly because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change…(First Apology 67; A.D. 155).

The Didascalia—”The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service and the reading of the holy scriptures… (Didascalia 2; A.D. 225).

Origen—Hence it is impossible that the [day of] rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh day of our God…(Commentary on John 2:28; A.D. 229).

Victorinus— lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews… which Sabbath Christ in his body abolished. (The Creation of the World [A.D. 300]).

Eusebius of Caesarea—”They [the early saints of the Old Testament] did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we Christians. They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we…(Church History 1:4:8; A.D. 312).

Athanasius—”The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord’s day… as the memorial of the new creation…(On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345).

Cyril of Jerusalem— Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean” (Catechetical Lectures 4:37; A.D. 350).

Council of Laodicea—”Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath…, reverence the Lord’s day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians” (Canon 29; A.D. 360).

John Chrysostom— He gave a commandment concerning the Sabbath— ‘On the seventh day you shall do no work’—also subjoined the reason for this cessation. What was this? ‘Because on the seventh day, God rested from all his works which he had begun to make’… (Ex. 20:10-11).

The Apostolic Constitutions—”And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent him to us…, (Apostolic Constitutions 2:7:60; A.D. 400).

Augustine—”Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these ten commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian” (The Spirit and the Letter 24 [A.D. 412]).

Pope Gregory I— But let him hear the apostle Paul saying in opposition to him: ‘If you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing (Gal. 5:2)” (Letters 13:1 A.D. 597).

Whatever interest or inspiration you may receive, get the full content by searching on the internet or google the one in close parenthesis; highlight, cut, and paste, e.q. Letters 13:1 A.D. 597

God is all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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