Chapter 11: The New Testament and the first Day of the week.

Please remember that the Bible never says that the seventh-day Sabbath was transferred to Sunday.  The Bible teaches us that the Sabbath found its fulfillment in Jesus who is our true provider of daily rest.

However, we also discovered that the early Christians were coming together on the eighth day (the Lord’s day), Sunday, to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection.  What does the New testament teach us about this day?  Does the New Testament collaborate the evidence found in historical texts? Let’s find out. Here are some Biblical events that happened on Sunday:

1.   Jesus was resurrected on Sunday:

John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”

Mark 16:9-10 “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” NIV

2.  Jesus appeared to the disciples on Sunday:

John 20:19 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"  (Please note that the Jews were following the Roman method of days in Jesus’ times.  Morning to morning refer to one day, while in the Old Testament it was evening to evening.  Otherwise John would have written in the evening of the second day.)

3.  A week later Jesus appears to His disciples again on Sunday.

John 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"”

4.  Pentecost (The outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit) happened on Sunday.

Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.”

Lev 23:15-17 clearly explains that Pentecost happens the day after the seventh Sabbath: “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.”

Please note that the early Christians came together in one place on that day, with the apostle Peter being the leader. The first mention of Christians coming together happened on Sunday!

5.  The Christian’s first public sermon delivered by Peter happened on Sunday.

Acts 2:14-15 “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.”

6.  The first baptisms performed by the early Christian church happened on Sunday:

Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

7.  Although Paul stayed seven days at Troas, Scriptures do not mention any Christian meeting on Sabbath but on the first day of the week.

Acts 20:6-8 “But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days. On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.”

8.   Paul encourages the Christians of Corinth to set aside a sum of money to help the poor of Jerusalem on Sunday. 

1 Cor 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

Why?  Paul says “that when I come no collections will have to be made.”  If they were saving their money at home, Paul would have to go home to home to collect that money, and no time would be saved!  His suggestion would be worthless, as a collection would have had to be made in order to collect that money together.  The only way this text makes sense is that the Christians of Corinth were setting aside their money at church on the first day of the week.  The money would then all be in one place when Paul arrived, and no collections would have had to be made!

Also, Jews collect money when meeting on the Sabbath day in their synagogue. It wasn’t because Paul didn’t want the Christians to collect money on Sabbath that he suggested to do this on the first day.  Nowhere does the Bible say that you could not collect offerings on Sabbath.  In fact the Bible teaches that sacrifices were even performed on Sabbath!  Those Christians in Corinth were meeting on Sunday and were collecting offerings during their meetings. Paul encourages them to set aside money as well for the poor of Jerusalem on that day.  This will avoid a waste of time when Paul arrives in Corinth, as no collections would have to be done.  All money would be found in one place!

9.   John had a vision on “the Lord's Day”.

Rev 1:10 On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…”

This expression is nowhere to be found in the Bible.  We could argue what John is trying to imply here.  However, if we go to secularly sources, written in the same time frame as when the book of Revelation was written, all these sources indicate that “the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord's day” Didache (90 AD), Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book XXX  

It seems clear that the Bible and the documents written by the early Christians agree with one another.  There is ample evidence that the early Christians were meeting together on Sunday and there is no evidence that they were meeting on Sabbath at church, unless they went to synagogues to preach the good news.

The question should not be “Where in the Bible is it written that Sabbath was changed to Sunday?”  This is a trick question, as nowhere is it written that the Sabbath was changed into Sunday.  The question should be “What day did the first Christians come together and why?”  The overwhelming evidence points out to met on Sunday to commemorate Jesus resurrection.

Another question should be “Was the Sabbath law fulfilled in Jesus?”  The question is also quite clear here. Col 2:16-17 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”   The Sabbath found it’s reality in Jesus who proclaimed: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:28-29).  This rest is not attainable just one day a week, but every day of the week.  Praise the Lord for caring so much for us! (see chapter 6)

Click here to go to: Chapter 12 The difference between the two Testaments.