Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Sabbath (conclusion)

It was Martin Luther who pondered the question "Am I alone wise?" when he was asked whether he stood by the things he had written concerning the church and justification by faith at the Diet of Worms. He pondered the question, not because he doubted the truth of Scripture, but because he understood that man is foible and is prone to believe and think in ways that are contrary to the truth. He also understood that there can be but one truth, not a variety of "truths"—the current fad of our society.

I bring this up to say that, considering the fact that for 2,000 years the church with near unanimity has taught that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, it is truly dumbfounding how anyone could think that such is not the case. I have pointed out in previous articles that history demonstrates without there being room for any doubt, that the first day of the week has been observed by the church as the day when it met for worship and as the "Christian Sabbath."

Consider the following facts. The Lord rose on the first day of the week. No Christian doubts the fact that the Lord's resurrection took place on the first day of the week. Every one of the four gospels attests to the fact that this is so. The Lord appeared to his disciples on that day and did not do so again until the eighth day after that event: again, on the next first day of the week. This cannot be a coincidence! Fifty days after the Lord's resurrection, the Holy Spirit came and fell upon the disciples. It cannot be happenstance that this took place again on the first day of the week. 

The first baptismal and corporate service of the new church and the first observance of the Lord's Supper took place on the same day the Spirit fell, on the first day of the week. I pointed out in a previous article that the Scriptures in Acts tell us that the disciples came together to break bread (an idiomatic expression used to refer to the Lord's Supper) on the first day of the week. The collection for the saints by the Corinthians was to take place on the first day of the week. Why? Why do it on the first day of the week if they're meeting on the seventh day? No other explanation could possibly make sense than that they met on that day.

 Let me illustrate what I have said to this point with a few quotations from several historical church figures. They will demonstrate, if further proof is needed, that those who observe the seventh day in the Christian era do so, not because they have evidence that compels them to do so, but in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

“I find the day spoken of by one of them as “The Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). Undoubtedly, the day was changed: it was made the first day of the week in memory of the Lord’s resurrection, instead of the seventh—but I believe the apostles were divinely inspired to make that change, and at the same time wisely directed to make no public decree about it. The decree would have only raised a ferment in the Jewish mind…” J.C. Ryle

 “By their actions, nevertheless, both our Lord and His apostles appear to commend the first day of the week to us as the Christian Sabbath. It is not merely that our Lord rose from the dead on that day: a certain emphasis seems to be placed precisely upon the fact that it was on the first day of the week that He rose.” B.B. Warfield

 “The early Christians called their own day, for which they asserted preeminence and exclusive obligation, “the Lord’s Day,” “the first day of the week,” “the eighth day”; and, in their communication with the heathen, they came to call it, as we have done in correspondence with ancient secular usage, “dies solis”—“Sunday.” Archibald A. Hodge

 “Those who have come to the possession of new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath (seventh day), but living in observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again, by Him and His death.” Ignatius of Antioch

 “We celebrate the eighth day with joy, on which, too, Jesus rose from the dead.” Epistle of Barnabas

 “On the day called Sunday is an assembly of all who live either in cities or in the rural districts, and the memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read…therefore it remains the chief and first of days.” Justin Martyr

 “On the Lord’s Day, Christians, in honor of the resurrection of the Lord…must avoid everything that would cause anxiety, and defer all worldly business, lest they should give place to the devil.” Tertullian

 “The Lord transferred the sacred observance (from the Sabbath) to the Lord’s Day.” Athanasius






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