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Does the day of Christ ressurection tell us to worship on Sunday?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Hobie, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. Does the day of Christ ressurection tell us to worship on Sunday?

    Where did Sunday come in as a day of worship, was it from the ressurection, did Christ rise and tell the Disciples something that was not in scripture or did the change come from elsewhere. Some people say 'I keep Sunday in honor of the Resurrection' or they are told that the Apostles began keeping Sunday as the day of worship after the ressurection, but did they. Did the ressurection somehow cause a change to the day of worship?

    Worship is the reason for the Sabbath. It is the only day God ever gave us to worship Him on. "In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."—Matthew 15:9. That which God gives us is the truth. We are to believe it and obey it. "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth."—John 17:17. "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."—1 Timothy 2:4. "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."—2 Thessalonians 2:13. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit."—1 Peter 1:22. It is not safe to refuse obedience to the obvious truths of God’s Word. "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Proverbs 28:9. "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God."—John 7:17, R. V.

    So what does the clear Word of God tell us when men come up with changes to what God has given us, or bring in tradition which go against Gods Law. "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29.

    So does the ressurection change the day of the Sabbath, well the problem is that God never told anyone to keep Sunday in honor of the resurrection of Christ—or for any other reason. But He decidedly and repeatedly told us to keep holy the seventh day of the week. What are the greatest events in history? Creation and Calvary and the Second Advent stand out. In Gethsemane on Thursday night and on the cross on Friday morning and afternoon, our salvation hung in the balance. By sundown Friday it was all settled. The price had been paid. The salvation of those who would accept it was assured. Then came the Sabbath day of rest, and Jesus our Lord rested in the tomb.

    On Sunday morning, He rose and another work week began. Christ began working again. Mary was told not to detain Him for He had yet to ascend to heaven—which He did that day. A long trip to heaven and back again. And a visit to the fearful disciples on a road to Emmaus that evening and in an upper room where other disciples were hiding from the Jewish leaders. Frankly, the resurrection of Christ is in no way as important as is Calvary. Those who wish to abandon a clear command of God to keep the seventh day for another day, would do well to keep Friday holy in honor of Calvary.—But we keep a day holy because God says to, not because we decide to! Let us not imagine that we can abolish part of God’s Ten Commandments and substitute our own!

    Someone will say "I wish we still had a memorial of Christ’s resurrection." Actually, Jesus gave us a memorial which combines His crucifixion and resurrection. And He commanded us to observe it.

    This definite memorial is baptism. The death and resurrection of Christ are symbolized by the ordinance of baptism, and by partaking of it we partake of that experience with Him. This double symbolism is clearly explained by Paul:

    "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin [the breaking of the law; 1 John 3:4] that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ—were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,—even so we also should [rise and] walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted [buried] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be raised also in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."—Romans 6:1-6.

    Some say that they keep Sunday because it is the "great memorial of our redemption." This is not true. The sign or symbol or memorial of our redemption is the Bible Sabbath. Our keeping of it is the sign by which all men shall know that we belong to God our Creator and that it is He, and not we ourselves, who is saving us from sin and will ultimately redeem us from this evil world. The seventh-day Sabbath is the seal of the law and the sign that He is our Creator (Exodus 31:16-17). And it is the sign that He is our Redeemer. "Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them."—Ezekiel 20:12. His Sabbath kept in our lives is the sign that we belong to Him. "And hallow My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God."—Ezekiel 20:20. The Bible Sabbath is the sign given by our Heavenly Father, that He is sanctifying or preparing us for eternal life. "Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you."— Exodus 31:13.

    So lets look at issue of the ressurection in Samuele Bacchiocchi's book 'From Sabbath to Sunday' to see if there is any evidence that the day of Christ ressurection tells us to worship on Sunday. "..Some scholars have argued that Sunday observance has a Biblical and apostolic origin. According to these scholars, from the inceptions of the Church the Apostles themselves chose the first day of the week in place of the seventh day in order to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. (2)

    My own assessment of the sources is that this thesis is wrong on two counts. First, the change from Saturday to Sunday occurred sometime after 135 A.D. as a result of an interplay of political, social, pagan and religious factors to be mentioned below. Second, the change originated in Rome and not in Jerusalem. Before submitting the reasons for my conclusions, we shall briefly examine the alleged role of Christ, of the resurrection and of the Jerusalem church in the origin of Sunday.

    Jesus and the Origin of Sunday

    A popular view holds that Christ by his provocative method of Sabbath keeping-which caused considerable controversy with the religious leaders of His day-intended to pave the way for the abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday keeping instead. This view clearly distorts the intent of Christ's controversial Sabbath activities and teachings which were clearly designed not to nullify but to clarify the divine intent of the Fourth Commandment.

    Christ never conceded to have broken the Sabbath commandment. On the contrary He defended Himself and His disciples from the charge of Sabbath breaking by appealing to the Scriptures: "Have you read . . ." (Matt 12:3-5). The intent of Christ's provocative Sabbath teachings and activities was not to pave the way for Sunday keeping, but rather to show the true meaning and function of the Sabbath, namely, a day "to do good" (Matt 12:8), "to save life" (Mark 3:4), to loose people from physical and spiritual bonds (Luke 13:16), and to show "mercy" rather than religiosity (Matt 12:7).

    The Resurrection and the Origin of Sunday

    Did the apostles introduce Sunday keeping instead of Sabbath keeping in order to commemorate Christ's resurrection by means of the Lord's Supper celebration? This view, though popular, is devoid of Biblical and historical support. The major reasons, briefly stated are the following.

    No Command of Christ or of the Apostles

    The New Testament never suggests or commands to celebrate Christ's resurrection by a weekly or annual Sunday celebration. This silence is noteworthy in view of the specific instructions given by Christ regarding such practices as baptism (Matt 28:19-20), the Lord's Supper (Mark 14:24-25; 1 Cor 11:23-26) and foot-washing (John 13:14-15).

    If Jesus wanted the day of his resurrection to be observed as a day of rest and worship, would He not told the women and the disciples when He rose: "Come apart and celebrate My Resurrection?" Instead He told the women "Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee" (Matt 28:10) and to the disciples "Go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them" (Matt 28:19).None of the utterances of the risen Savior reveal an intent to memorialize His resurrection by making Sunday the new day of rest and worship.

    No Designation of Sunday as Day of the Resurrection

    Sunday is never called in the New Testament as "Day of the Resurrection." It is consistently called "First day of the week." The references to Sunday as day of the resurrection first appear in the early part of the fourth century. (3) By that time Sunday had become associated with the resurrection....."

    "....The Earliest Reference to Sunday

    The earliest explicit references to Sunday keeping are found in the writings of Barnabas (about 135 A.D.) and Justin Martyr (about 150 A.D.). Both writers do mention the resurrection as a basis for Sunday observance but only as the second of two reasons, important but not predominant. Barnabas' first theological motivation for Sunday keeping is eschatological, namely, that Sunday as "the eight day" represents "the beginning of another world." (4) Justin's first reason for the Christians' Sunday assembly is the inauguration of creation: "because it is the first day on which God, transforming the darkness and prime matter, created the world." (5)

    The above indications suffice to discredit the claim that Christ's resurrection on the first day of the week caused the abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday. The truth is that initially the resurrection was celebrated existentially rather than liturgically, that is, by a victorious way of life rather than by a special day of worship....."

    ".....The attachment of the Jerusalem Church to the Mosaic Law is reflected in some of the decisions of the first Jerusalem Council held about 49-50 A.D. (See Acts 15). The exemption from circumcision is there granted only "to brethren who are of the Gentiles" (Acts 15:23). No concession is made for Jewish-Christians, who must continue to circumcise their children. Moreover, of the four provisions made applicable by the Jerusalem Council to Gentiles, one is moral (abstention from "unchastity") but three are ceremonial (even Gentile Christians are ordered to abstain "from contact with idols and from [eating] what has been strangled and from [eating] blood" (Acts 15:20). This concern of the Jerusalem Council for ritual defilement and Jewish food laws reflects its continued attachment to Jewish ceremonial law and its commands. It would be unthinkable that this Church at this early time would change the Sabbath to Sunday.

    James' statement at the Jerusalem Council in support of his proposal to exempt Gentiles from circumcision but not from Mosaic laws in general, is also significant: "For generations past Moses has had spokesmen in every city; he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues" (Acts 15:21). All interpreters recognize that both in his proposal and in its justification, James reaffirms the binding nature of the Mosaic Law which was customarily taught every Sabbath in the synagogue.

    Paul's Last Visit

    Further insight is provided by Paul's last visit to Jerusalem. The Apostle was informed by James and the elders that thousand of converted Jews were "all zealous for the Law" (Acts 21:20). The same leaders then pressured Paul to prove to the people that he also "lived in observance of the law" (Acts 21-24), by undergoing a rite of purification at the Temple. In the light of this deep commitment to the observance of the Law, it is hardly conceivable that the Jerusalem Church would have abrogated one of its chief precepts-Sabbath keeping-and pioneered Sunday worship instead.

    Did Sunday Originate After 70 A.D.?

    The foregoing evidences has led some scholars to argue for the Palestinian origin of Sunday observance at a slightly later time, namely, after the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. (8) They presume that the flight of the Christians from Jerusalem to Pella as well as the psychological impact of the destruction of the Temple weaned Palestinian Christians away from Jewish observances such as Sabbath keeping.

    This assumption is discredited by both Eusebius and Epiphanius who inform us that the Jerusalem Church after 70 A.D. and until Hadrian's siege of Jerusalem in 135 A.D., was composed of and administered by converted Jews, characterized as "zealous to insist on the literal observance of the Law." (9) The orthodox Palestinian Jewish-Christian sect of the Nazarenes, who most scholars regard as "the very direct descendants of the primitive community" (10) of Jerusalem, retained Sabbath keeping on Saturday until the fourth century. Indeed, seventh-day Sabbath keeping was regarded as one of this Church's distinguishing characteristics. (11) This implies that Sabbath observance was not only the traditional custom of the Jerusalem Church, but also of Palestinian Jewish-Christians long after 70 A.D.

    Of all the Christian Churches, the Jerusalem Church was both ethnically and theologically the closest and most loyal to Jewish religious traditions, and thus the least likely to change the day of the Sabbath....."

    So where did Sunday worship come from...

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