Saturday or Sunday Sabbath

I have been surfing the web and came across a church group that believes the resurrection was on the Sabbath (Saturday) and that worship of Jesus or His resurrection on Sunday, or any other day, is sinfully wrong and can be a determining factor in salvation. Please help me with this!

This church’s claim that it is sinful to worship Jesus on any day other than Saturday is a false teaching. There is nothing in the Bible to support such a claim, but there is plenty to refutes it. Additionally, the claim that the day on which Christians gather to worship has a determining factor in salvation is both sad and heretical. Sad, because it denies the sufficiency of Jesus’ atoning death, and heretical because it makes salvation works-based. Salvation is a gift, freely given to all repentant sinners who believe and trust in Jesus’ work on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins and the salvation of their souls. 

What Day of the Week?

Certainly, we should gather to worship Jesus.  So on what day should that be? The Bible is clear about God’s instructions to the Nation of Israel.  They were to keep the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the Sabbath day of rest  (Exodus 20:8, Deuteronomy 5:12). However, we in the Church, the Body of Christ, are not the Nation of Israel nor are we under the same covenant.  We live under the New Covenant that was established with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, not the Old Covenant.

Our Sabbath rest is not a designated day. Rather it is a divine Person. Our sabbath rest is the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4).  In Him we find our rest, and it’s not on Saturday, nor on Sunday, It’s every day of the week.  Our Sabbath is a continual rest — a rest that is without ceasing.  We rest in the richness of the gifts that He has given us.  Our rest is in knowing that we have eternal life with Jesus; and our rest is in surrendering to the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who teaches and guides us.  

Therefore, gathering for fellowship and corporate worship can be any day of the week. Sunday is perfectly acceptable as a day of worship.  It should be noted that the apostolic church of the first century, which formed immediately after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, met on Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).  Sunday has been the traditional day for Christian to worship since that time.  However, we can worship Jesus on any day of the week, and we should worship him every day of the week.

Resurrection on Saturday?

 It was mentioned that this church also believes that Jesus’ resurrection was on a Saturday. That’s a completely different topic, and I can only briefly address it here. 

A Saturday resurrection is often held by those who believe Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday. They refer to Scripture that says “on the third day,” and they count three literal 24 hour periods—starting with Wednesday afternoon to Thursday (1st day), Thursday afternoon to Friday (2nd day) and Friday afternoon to Saturday (3rd day). That means Jesus had to rise from the dead before sundown on Saturday, when Sunday began.  While this might seem to make sense, the Bible clearly tells that Jesus rose on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:9).

There are many other biblical reasons that discredit the idea of a Wednesday crucifixion.  However, that’s a topic for another time. If you want more information, read: Was Jesus crucified on Wed, Thurs or Friday?

Again, remember that our Sabbath rest is in a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our Sabbath rest is not a specific day.  To better understand our rest in Jesus, I’ll share an excerpt from Remember Me – A Course in Rightly Remembering.  By keeping in remembrance who God is, what He has done for us, and who we are in Christ, we find our rest in Christ.  And by understanding Jesus’ summary teaching on the Ten Commandments, we find insights about the true meaning of our Sabbath rest.

Remember the Sabbath Day, to Keep it Holy

(from Remember Me – A Course in Rightly Remembering, by Shari Abbott © 2013)

It’s interesting to note that the first three of the Ten Commandments pertain to our relationship with God.  The last six are about our relationship with our fellow man. 

So where does the fourth commandment fit in? The fourth commandment, “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” is the one that binds the others together.  It is the commandment to rest in God and to find our satisfaction and peace in Him alone.

In His earthly incarnation, Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments with two Great Commandments:

Matthew 22:37-40  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The first three of the 10 commandments are summarized in Jesus’ first and great commandment.  Those three commandments are about our vertical relationship with God.  Jesus’ first and great commandment is “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt 22:37)

The last six of the 10 commandments are summarized in Jesus’ second commandment to love others.  Those commandments are about our horizontal relationship with our neighbors.

Jesus clearly proclaimed that His Law is all about love—loving God first and then loving our neighbors.  But what about the fourth commandment?  Jesus is our sabbath Jesus Himself embodies the fourth commandment as our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4).  He is our rest and His Law is love (John 13:34, James 2:8). We are to abide in Christ and allow His love and His Spirit to work in and through us, and direct and guide us.

* Abiding in Christ is our source of peace and comfort.
* Abiding in Christ is our source of strength.
* Abiding in Christ fuels us with His love.
* Abiding in Christ enables us to love others.

Live your life in the light of what Jesus has done for you. Be anchored in Him. Rejoice in who you are in Him. Find your rest in Jesus and remember that the law we live by is His Law of Love —  Love for God (vertical, 1 John 4:19) and love for our neighbors (horizontal, Rom 13:10).  Our love for neighbors is called the Royal Law.

James 2:8  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

The Royal Law is the Law of King Jesus. He gave this Law/commandment to His 11 faithful disciples (after Judas left) on the night in which He was betrayed :

John 13:34-5 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

The love we give to others, in our horizontal relationships, flows from the love we have received in our vertical relationship.

1 John 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

Abide in Christ. Allow His love and His Spirit to work in and through you, and to direct and guide you. By the power of the Holy Spirit, keep the Royal Law.  Understand that God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.  Until Jesus returns for us, or until we die and go to be with Him, show His love by loving and serving others.

Find Sabbath Rest in Jesus

Isa 30:15  For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…

Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Heb 4:9-11  There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

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