Most of the Christian world today observes Sunday as the day of rest and worship, a holy time before God. However, there is nowhere in the entirety of the Holy Bible where Sunday is sanctified as holy time or as a day of rest. What we can find with ease is the sanctification and observance of the annual Sabbaths or Holy Days of Leviticus 23 and the seventh day Sabbath.
God calls the annual festivals and Holy Days as “the feasts of the Lord,” or “my feasts,” and they fall under the “appointed times” of God (Gen. 1:14. Hebrew; moe’ds), the times God gave to humanity. Notice it did not say they belonged to Israel and the Jewish people. He calls the weekly Sabbath “my holy day,” (Isa. 58:13). Only God can determine which day is holy. God has never declared Sunday holy, only man. Furthermore, there is no instruction in the entirety of the Holy Bible that God instructed that the Sabbath be changed to Sunday. What we see, instead, is the reinforcement of the Sabbath in current day and futuristic applications (Hebrews 4: 9; the Sabbatismos; Greek, or keeping of a Sabbath) and Isa 66:23, when all nations will have to observe the Sabbath when God established His kingdom on Earth.
The substitution of Sunday for Sabbath has been justified by using scriptures such as Act. 20 ; 1 Cor. 16, Rev. 1, which on closer examination show they had nothing to do with Sunday worship. “The first day of the week,” reference was not in connection with a Sunday service or a command to observe it. The word “day,” is in italics in every reference and meant the Feast of Weeks between Pentecost and the Days of Unleavened bread. If you notice every time the phrase “first day of the week,” is mentioned it is always in connection with either Pentecost or Days of Unleavened Bread.
The claim Jesus rose on a Sunday is debatable because there is no way one can calculate “three days and three nights,” between Good Friday and Sunday morning. That was the only sign Jesus gave the unbelieving Pharisees that He would remain in the grave, but that’s for another article. The pertinent question is where in the scripture is the authority to change the Sabbath day? There is none.
The question of whether the apostolic church kept the Holy Days and annual Sabbaths or Holy days is indisputable. From secular and biblical sources, the evidence is there the men and women of apostolic period held firmly to the Hebraic roots of Christianity and followed the true teaching of their Master Jesus Christ, who kept those days, even after his resurrection. Interestingly, why didn’t Jesus announce the change then?
Author Thomas J. Talley writes: “‘Paul writes around A.D. 55 from Ephesus in Asia Minor, a city with whose synagogue he had an extended relationship (Acts 19.8). Writing, possibly, from around the time of Passover, he tells the Corinthians that he intends to remain in Ephesus until Pentecost (1 Cor. 16.8). His references to Passover and Pentecost show that these times were significant for him, and he seems to assume that they have a definite meaning for the Corinthians to whom he writes” (Talley, Thomas J., The Origins of the Liturgical Year, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991, 4; emphasis added).
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, “There is no trace of the celebration of Easter as a Christian festival in the New Testament or the writings of the apostolic fathers…The first Christians…continued to observe the Jewish festivals…as commemorations of events of which these had been the shadows. The Passover, ennobled by the thought of Christ the Paschal Lamb, continued to be celebrated…, and became the Christian Easter” ( Ninth Edition, article “Easter” ).
“The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews; therefore the Christians for a long time together, did keep their conventions on the Sabbath.” The Whole Works of Jeremey Taylor (R. Heber’s Edition, Vol/X11 p.416).
There are numerous scriptures in the New Testament, especially the book of Acts, which show the apostles observing the Sabbath and annual festivals. Perhaps the most significant sign we can draw from apostolic adherence to the annual and weekly Sabbaths is found in Matt. 24:20 in a prophetic remark made by Jesus when he addressed His followers: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day…” Jesus referred to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. during the apostolic period. The fact is our Lord and Saviour was expecting His followers to be still observing the Sabbath, even nearly 40-years after his ascension. If Sunday should have replaced the Sabbath to commemorate His resurrection, Jesus knew nothing about it! Isn’t that interesting? For more on this subject, download our FREE booklet Did the Apostolic Church Observe the Sabbath and Holy Days?