Saturday or Sunday Sabbath

Question:.

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!

Answer:

This church’s claim that corporate “worship of Jesus [on any day other than Saturday] is sinfully wrong” is a false teaching without any biblical support.  And their claim that the day on which we gather to worship has a determining factor in our salvation is both sad and heretical.  There is no biblical support for such a belief  and it is contrary to the gospel message of freedom and rest found in Christ.

Plus, most significantly, it adds a work that we can perform to the finished work of Jesus on the cross that atones for our sins and liberates us from bondage to sin.  Our salvation is a free gift, unmerited and unearned by us, determined only by the Lord’s goodness, mercy and grace.  Salvation is not dependent upon our day of worship or anything we can do.  It is received by us when we repent and trust in Jesus’ finished work upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. 

What Day of the Week?

Certainly we should gather to worship Jesus, but it can be done on any day of the week.  Yes, 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 are not the Nation of Israel.  We are the Body of Christ, the Church, and we live under the New Covenant that was established with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  

Our Sabbath rest is not found on a designated day, but rather our Sabbath is found in a designated Person…the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4).  Because our Sabbath rest is found in Jesus—and Sabbath is every day of the week.  It is a continual rest, that is without ceasing.  We abide and we rest in the richness of the gifts that He has given us.  Our rest is in knowing 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.  

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

Resurrection on Saturday?

 It was mentioned that this church also believes 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.  

Our corporate worship of Jesus can take place on any day of the week.  And our personal communion with Him should take place on every day of the week!  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 sabbath rest.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  

(from Remember Me – A Course in Rightly Remembering)

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. The the last six of the 10 commandments are summarized in Jesus’ second commandment.  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 your neighbor.  But what about the fourth commandment?  

Jesus Himself embodies the fourth commandment. Jesus is 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, anchored in who He is and who you are in Him. Find your rest in Christ and remember that the Law we live by is one of love. Abide in Christ and allow His love and His Spirit to work in and through you, and direct and guide you. Live your life in the light of what Jesus has done for you, and anchored in Who He is and who you are in Him.

 It is Finished!

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