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The Lord’s Day, part 4

In considering a discussion of the Lord’s Day, it is helpful to do so in connection with the Old Testament Sabbath Day. This can help us establish a historical mindset regarding both the significance of the Jewish Sabbath, as well as the Lord’s Day.

The principle of the Sabbath rest goes back to the Creation account. Genesis 2 says God “rested” on the seventh day. That word is shabat and means to rest or to cease. God ceased His work, and rested on that seventh day of creation. This is significant because God sets the pattern of working six days a week, and setting aside one for a day of rest.

The first mention of the Sabbath Day is in Exodus 16 when God provided manna for the people. They were to collect manna for six days, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, they were not to gather any manna. The next occurrence is in Exodus 20 when God gave his Ten Commandments. Commandment number four says that God’s people are to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The Sabbath was already in place by the time of the giving of the Decalogue. The Sabbath was not instigated with the Mosaic Law; perhaps we could say it was institutionalized on Sinai.

The nation of Israel was expected to keep the Sabbath Day holy, or separate, to the Lord. We can observe generally from the Old Testament texts that “in the early history of the Israelites, the Sabbath was a day of welcome rest from labor and of solemn worship at the sanctuary of God.”1 The Sabbath was observed all throughout the Old Testament as well as through the gospel accounts. Jesus attended synagogue worship on the Sabbath in Mark 1, Mark 3, Luke 4, and Luke 13.

As I wrote in an earlier post, the book of Acts chronicles the transition period from the Sabbath observance to the observance of the Lord’s Day. Is the Lord’s Day simply a “carry-over” from the Old Testament observance of the Sabbath, or are we to view those days differently? Today, there are varying views of the Lord’s Day with regards to the Old Testament Sabbath.

One view could be characterized as “Strict Sabbatarianism.” This view holds that the Sabbath Day is still to be honored, as it is said in the Decalogue. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church illustrates this view.

Another view could be described as “Semi-Sabbatarianism.” This view essentially takes the ideas and demands of the Strict Sabbatarians, but applies them to Sunday. Representative of this view is the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which refers to the Lord’s Day as the “Christian Sabbath.” In that document, six questions are given with regards to the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, applying its teaching to the Lord’s Day.2 This is the view that came to the New World through the teaching of the Puritans, who taught that no unnecessary works and no recreation were to be done on the Lord’s Day.

A third view of the Lord’s Day could perhaps be called “non-Sabbatarianism.” This view essentially believes that the fourth commandment regarding the Sabbath was part of the ceremonial law for Israel, but not applicable to the New Testament Church. Along with this view is the notion that there are no regulations regarding work or recreation on the Lord’s Day. This tends to be the predominant view of the Lord’s Day in the modern church.

I do not believe we could put a precise label on the early apostles and followers of Christ in the first century regarding their view of the Lord’s Day. It is clear that they shifted their worship from Saturday to Sunday. In those times of Lord’s Day gatherings we are left to believe that at the least they were set aside for worship and remembrance of the Lord’s death and resurrection.  From the first reference to the Lord’s Day in Acts 20:7 we are led to believe that the normal routine of the disciples was to come together to “break bread” a reference to the Lord’s Supper and remembering Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.  They gathered on this day as a group of believers, celebrated Christ’s sacrifice for sins, and heard the preaching of God’s Word.  We are also led to believe from the text in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 that the early church also set this day aside for giving.

Is there a link between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day? I believe there is. The principle of the Sabbath has been around since Creation, and therefore should be held today by the New Testament Church, though the particular restrictions set in place regarding the fourth commandment of the Decalogue are not for the Church today. Whether we call Sunday the “Christian Sabbath” as the Puritans did, or simply the Lord’s Day, our view of Sunday ought to be different than our view of other days of the week. I believe this can be supported through church history, which will be the subject of the next post.

This essay was originally published here and is reposted by permission from the author.

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About Guest Author

This guest article has been published because an editor has determined its contents to be supportive of the values of Religious Affections Ministries. Its publication does not imply full agreement between its author and RAM on other matters.



Endnotes:

  1. Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 5:184. []
  2. http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html, accessed 8/21/13.  See questions 57-62. []

43 Responses to The Lord’s Day, part 4

  1. Daniel La Nu says:

    I think most of the conservative Christians wouldn’t mind if they were labeled as Semi-Sabbatarianism.” I am leaning more towards “non-Sabbatarinism”, but according to the author, there is no precise label on the early apostles and followers of Christ in the first century according to the view of the Lord’s day. This is what usually happens on Sunday-we go to church, do not do any business, but at least we would go out and eat at restaurant for fellowship meal. In this way, we are contributing to people’s business, and spending a little time at restaurant could also mean part of our recreation. I do agree that keeping the Sabbath was part of the ceremonial law for Isarel. However, if we claimed that this is not applicable to the Christian church today, could it mean that we are doing something that God had not originally prescribed what to do regarding Sabbath?

  2. Vaden says:

    I do agree that there is a link between the Jewisdh and Christian view on the Sabbath. And I completely agree with the writer on the fact that our view on the Sabbath should be different from other days. I know growing up and even to this day I still when applying for a job make sure that I will not be working on Sunday. One for the fact that I can go and fellowship and worship with my church. The other to truly focus on God like He commands. I feel like with the busyness of life we need to set a side a day that we aren’t worrying or thinking about the week or whats going on and actually sit and focus on God and just fellowship with Him. And to break away from the beat down of the world and rest and let God aid our troubles.

  3. Ryan Thiessen says:

    It seems clear that the practice of setting aside one day per week devoted to worship is a practice the early Christians adopted very naturally from their Jewish backgrounds.  After all, the early Christians were ultimately worshipping the same God as they had in Jewish practice.  The obvious change is that they were now doing this through His Son.  
            It seems possible that the practice of Sunday versus Saturday worship was simply a matter of distinguishing Christian from Jewish worship.  I am merely speculating, but consider Paul’s letter to the Galations were is he is concerned about the corrucption of their faith by Judiazers.  This group sought to make the keeping of the Mosiac law as important or even more so than faith in Christ alone.  Would not such a group have insisted on Saturday worship.
            I feel the church has three primary functions (1) Glorify God, (2) Save the lost, (3) Enrich the family of believers.  Any issue worth our time and the potential divisions that may arise must be relevant to the three funtions.  One can argue that this may well aply to glorifying God in that we wish to be sure that we are in fact conducting this properly.  Where I feel this question is of somewhat less value is that it appears to have little value in either saving the lost or enriching the family.
            Ultimately it seems that most of us see this from the semi-sabbatarianist point of view.  I can say from personal experience that the notion of a day of rest and worship once per week cannot be fully appreciated until it is not available.  Working 18+ hour days, 7 days per week, with scarcely time to eat, provides an intense appreciation for God’s plan.

    Ryan Thiessen
    September 22, 2013

  4. Brian Matthewson says:

    I agree that our view of Sunday, being the day that a majority of Christians come together for corporate worship, should be different than other days. Though I’m not convinced that any of the three views presented on the Sabbath adequately addresses how we should view the Lord’s Day. The fact that the concept of Sabbath was established prior to the law makes it worth our while to consider modern applications of the principle. However, when reading Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath in the Gospels it does seem as if he directs us away from the strict, external Sabbath restrictions given in the law, even if he does not explicitly spell out the impact of his reinterpretation of the Sabbath as he did with other commandments of the law. Perhaps it would be best to be reminded of the situation and exact words.

    The occasion for Jesus teaching comes in response to the accusations the Pharisees’ leveled at Jesus’ disciples for picking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus states: “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:3-8). Mark’s account of this event further clarifies Jesus’ point, “And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.’” (Mark 2:27-28). I know it’s a long quote but I think there is something in the tone of Jesus’ discussion that is hard to convey through mere analysis. Without going into specific details it seems as though Jesus is making the point that in focusing on the rules and regulations we miss God’s purpose in codifying the Sabbath in the law, that it might be a blessing to man. As the narrative continues this idea is confirmed in Matthew 12:12 when Jesus reminds the Pharisees of man’s value to God and informs them that “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” So, rather than focusing our attention on the negative prescriptions such as a list of specific do’s and don’ts, which can easily be used as a means to bolster our pride of self, we should take time to reflect upon God’s intent in establishing the Sabbath and the role it serves in our relationship with God. After all, Ezekiel 20:20 states “keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Anybody can mindlessly follow a list of rules but we are called to know the Lord our God and that takes a great deal more spiritual effort for is a much higher calling.

    Another notable aspect of this passage is found in the declaration Jesus makes directly preceding his teaching about the Sabbath. Matthew 11:27-30 states “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” It seems, in this well known passage, that Matthew is purposefully making a connection to what follows. The close proximity of “rest” and a discussion of the Sabbath certainly bring to mind God’s act of resting on the 7th day of creation. Is the implication here that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath rest? Perhaps our conception of Sabbath must be focused on Christ, for it is only through him that we are able to know the Father… the Lord our God.

  5. Megan says:

    Brian and Ryan many of the points you make are very insightful about the Sabbath day. I think also our discussion in class touched on the fact that God knew we would need rest and so He built it into the seven days of creation. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27). God never grows tired or weary, but made a day to rest and enjoy all of His creation.

    One of the things I value so much about Sundays in general is the time I get to spend with my Christian friends and family as we worship together in church and then often fellowship together during meals at each others houses after services. Having a day of the week set aside for this creates an environment of community and fellowship that God prescribed in worship.

  6. Megan says:

    Currently I know many churches have moved to having multiple services at different times of day and on Saturday evenings. Perhaps Semi-Sabbatarianism would not approve of services on a different day of the week. However, since we live in a society that does not honor the Sabbath day, having multiple options for when to worship might make a corporate worship meeting possible for a Christian with an inflexible job. For example, when I was right out of high school I worked as a nurse assistant at a nursing home. I had to work every other weekend on Saturday and Sunday, no exceptions. Our church had a Saturday evening church service, which allowed me to continue to participate in corporate worship while working at this job. Is that secular culture creeping into church theology or making adjustments based on the needs of the people trying to worship God corporately?

    Also, what about ministers who lead worship services on Sunday and spend all weekend preparing for this worship gathering. Sabbath “rest” might not have the same meaning for these people who arrive at church hours before the sun rises and often return for another service as the sun sets. Should they have, not a separate day of worship because they obviously are participating in worship and fellowship of Sabbath, but another time set aside to rest and enjoy God’s creation?

  7. Jae Won Baek says:

    I do believe that there a link between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day. Also I agree with Dr. Anoil mentioned that the principle of the Sabbath has been around since Creation, and therefore should be held today by the New Testament Church.

    God is the first and the Last. Jesus is the Son of God, He is the Lord.
    Therefore, Jesus is the first and the last. He completely obeyed all commands of the heavenly Father. He never gave up the Law. God rested on the seventh day, from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested(Sabbath) from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:2-3) Jesus Christ fulfilled Father’s will. As a passover Lamb, he became a eternal peace offering. He resurrected from death to give eternal peace for His people, ‘the Church’. Becasue of our sin, although we were made by God, there was no fundamental rest. However, through Grace of Jesus Christ, we finally delivered and is going to true Sabbath.

    On the Lord’s Day, we practice the heaven’s life on earthly church.
    Sadly, today many church to do a lot of things on Sunday. The Church lost God’s command in Genesis 2:2-3. Christain do not know how they can rest. This situation is not different from nonchristian. In this reason, today Christain really need to learn how can rest in the Lord from the spirit of Sabbath. Jesus really wants to rest in our heart.

    Jewish ‘welcome’ the Sabbath from the Friday evening. They prepare the table, light a candle and read the word of God, and then share the supper in warm mode with all family members. Essentially, for Israel, the Sabbath help to remind God’s great work in their history, His word, and final rest when their Messiah come. Is this really seems to similar as What Jesus has done in the Last supper?

    The Lord’s Day and the Sabbath cannot be separated. Rather by learing from the Sabbath, true meaning of the Lord’s Day will be completed.

  8. Laura Baskin says:

    As Bryan and Megan have stated, we have to keep the purpose of the Sabbath in focus. As mentioned above, Mark 2:27 helps us put this in perspective. The Sabbath was not created for people to tiptoe around on a day that was totally irrelevant to them. This day was instated FOR men. The Sabbath was made for man, for our benefit.

    When thinking about the Sabbath, another passage comes to mind–Mark 3:1-6. Here, Jesus is ready to heal a man with a paralyzed hand, and the Pharisees are just itching to see him do the “wrong thing”–to heal on the Sabbath. To Jesus, this was ludicrous. If the Sabbath was made for man and his benefit, why in the world would someone not be able to have his hand restored? In verses 4 and 5 it says, “Then He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. After looking around at them with anger and sorrow at the hardness of their hearts, He told the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” Jesus was ANGRY and filled with SORROW. The religious leaders weren’t getting the point. And today, many times we’re not getting the point. As others have pointed out above, it’s not about getting caught up in a bunch of rules and rigamarole; it’s about the benefit for mankind. Rest is beneficial. Spending time with God is beneficial. It’s about LIFE–and being able to slow down and enjoy it.

  9. Laura Baskin says:

    Megan raised some great questions. It is tough dealing with the “Sabbath”/ “Lord’s Day” stuff in society today. I think it is beneficial for one to think back to the society in biblical times. Most, if not all, people can agree that things were different then. In particular, many people worked in their own fields or in neighbors’ fields. This was how they survived/made their living for their families. Today, we go to the grocery store to get all of our food. This means that we have to earn money for the food from somewhere else. In our society, that means options, options, options.

    People have so many options regarding what they “want to be when they grow up.” Like I said, totally different mentality from biblical times. So, what am I getting at? Well, in our economy, and in our non-honoring-Sabbath world (as Megan was talking about), some people cannot find jobs that we let them take off on Sunday. For biblical times people, many of them probably had a set schedule and were able to make preparations for the Sabbath day and be all together on one particular day.

    And let us not forget that Sunday is really the day people agreed on to be the “day of rest.” Do we know, 100 percent, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is for sure the day God wants us to conduct church services and rest with our families? I don’t believe we do. But we do know that God created us with a need to rest, whatever and whenever that time may be.

  10. Laura Baskin says:

    P.S. Yay for some Sabbathness during Fall Break!

  11. Ben says:

    Megan raised some interesting points that I would like to add to. Being a pastor’s kid growing up and having worked a full-time job as a music minister, Sunday is not a day of rest. It is probably the busiest day of the week! How then, are ministers (the leaders and examples to the Body of Christ) able to implement Sabbath practices into the hustle and the bustle of Sunday?

    Every experience that I have had, Friday was considered a “day off” from the office and planning of Sunday. I know that this is not necessarily the case in every church. This practice did allow my family to have much needed times of rest and reflection on all the blessings of God in our lives. Without this day in the week off, I do not see how it would be possible to implement a Sabbath into the life of a minister (strictly speaking from my experience and would love to hear from anyone with different experience)!

  12. Leyi Ling says:

    I do believe there is a link between the Lord’s Day and Jewish Sabbath, since both of them include the purpose for setting a day apart to worship God. According to the Old Testament, God command Israelites to keep Sabbath to rest. Looking at the details that God commanded for Sabbath, it is not difficult to find that in God’s mindset, rest means set a time apart from secular works and simply worship Him only. This is a very similar purpose for Lord’s Day, a day that Christians set apart to worship God. The difference is that the Lord’s Day includes celebration for Jesus’ resurrection. In this case, the Lord’s Day has one more significant theme than the Sabbath. To be honest, I would prefer to keep a Sabbath as personal worship time, and then worship God with brothers and sisters on the Lord’s Day in church. The more time we spent with God, the better our life could be shine for the Lord. So why not have two days of worship?

  13. John Gray says:

    I do believe we still should follow the sabbath, but I have heard a slightly different view then the ones mentioned by the author. The belief is that like all the commandments that the command to honor the sabbath command is more encompassing in the new testament than in the old (by what is strictly outlined). For example, it was said in the new testament that whoever hates (or is angry with his brother) has murdered (Matt. 5:21-26), and committing adultery in the new testament includes anyone who lusts after someone (Matt 5:28). The sabbath rest by this belief becomes a rest in Christ that occurs on a day by day, minute by minute basis. This belief is that we should find rest in Christ at all times. I tend to hold to this view, but I also find it hard to argue with the great Puritan theologians that the holy day is the new sabbath.

    I do believe that Sunday is the Holy day, because of Christ resurrection being on that day, and the early church meeting on that day. I think it is good for the Body of Christ to continue to meet on this day, but I also know that the Church of Acts met daily. The main importance is that the Body does not forsake the assembly.

    +

  14. Sze Wing Ho says:

    I strongly agree with the writer that there should be a link between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day. I believe that the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day are both rooted in the seventh day of God’s creation. As mentioned in Genesis Ch. 2, the seventh day is a time to rest. Although there are different interpretations about “rest”, we know that the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day should be separated from other days of the week.
    Among the three varying views of the Lord’s Day with regards to the Old Testament Sabbath, I am leaning towards the third view—“non-Sabbatarianism”. I believe that the fourth commandment pertinent to Sabbath was the ceremonial law for Israel, but not applicable to nowadays’ church. We are not necessary to obey the commandment literally, however, we need to understand the principle of the commandment and apply them in our current context.
    The purpose of Sabbath or the Lord’s Day is to remember the works of God. Ideally, it should be a day for us to sit back and enjoy God’s creation. Jesus’s example, however, shows us that in some circumstances, we may need to “wrok” in the Lord’s Day. In my opinion, we should treat the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day as an aid to worship rather than a rule to follow. The Lord wants us to separate a time and a space to worship Him without any hindrances. I think the worship practices are not the most important issue but a willing heart to look back and to reflect what the Lord had done for us.

  15. John Gray says:

    Ben, I agree that it is important for minister, as well as everyone, to take a day off to focus on Christ. I think, as mentioned in my previous comment, that the actual rest is daily in Christ, but we need that physical and mental rest too. Growing up with a grandfather as a minister I also have seen the busyness of Sunday, and I think that another day off is a necessity. It is an especially interesting thought if you hold to the semi-sabbatarian view.

    I also wonder what the sabbath rest should entail? I think it should be a time that we draw into reliance on God for who he is, and rest fully in him. It should also be a time for meditation.

  16. Sze Wing Ho says:

    I agree with Ben that Sunday is the busiest day for some people, especially for pastors and ministers. For those who cannot “rest” on Sunday, it is a good idea to implement Sabbath practices into another day. The Lord’s Day is an aid to help us to remember the Lord, it’s not a strict rule that everyone must follow no matter in what circumstances. Worshiping God is a daily practice but not a weekly routine.

  17. ai-chin says:

    I agree there is a link between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day. Sabbath has been established and observed from the creation. In the New Testament before the crucifixion of Christ, Jews still observed the Sabbath, even Jesus Himself observed it. Since we are influenced by tradition we do not build thing from scratch, I believe that the New Testament Christians replaced the Sabbath with the Lord’s Day. To better support my idea, I would like to use a “contemporary” or current example. Do you notice this? During the season of celebrating Christmas, some of the big companies have already replaced the blessing phrase “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holiday” or “Happy Winter Holiday” on their packaging. Even worst is some of the public schools already forbidden teachers and students to use “Merry Christmas” in public schools. These replacement words completely eliminate the meaning of Christmas. If we as followers of Christ do not stand up for this, I believe a few decades later or maybe long enough, a century later, people will completely forget the origin of “Happy Winter Holiday”. Stand up for this Christ follower,,,
    p/s my favorite blessing phrase for Christmas is Happy Birthday to King Jesus.

  18. Sarah Teichler says:

    I did not grow up in a church environment where we were taught to think through things. Though there was a genuine love for God there, there was no analytical or theological discussion on such matters (on really any matters…). So, I am seeing that there are many important issues, such as keeping the Lord’s Day holy and what that means, that I (and probably your average church-goer) need to think through.

    I think there is a connection between Jewish and Christian Sabbath because it was something God established at Creation, so it was pre-church. If you’ve ever had to work all week and through your weekend, you know how much you feel the need to be refreshed. I think God knew that humans would need a time set aside for rest. And of course, that rest can only truly be found in Him. So, resting from work to join with fellow believers to commune with God on the Sabbath seems perfectly fitting.\

  19. Ben says:

    While I understand the busyness of Sundays (both from the ministerial point of view as well as the secular employee’s point of view), it still saddens me that the culture of today is so anti-Sabbath. This slowly crept into our way of life.
    I am a defender of Semi-Sabbatarianism beliefs to an extent. If we were supposed to work or solely take time off with our families every week, I do not think that Hebrews 10:25 would be a necessary statement included in God’s Word. In this passage Paul states, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
    God has made it clear that we are supposed to continue meeting together for corporate worship. The early church met every day, so is this practice considered linked with that of the Sabbath? I would say so. Tracing tradition from the Jewish roots, the people gathered together to worship God on the Sabbath. This is also the time that, culturally, most are able to gather.
    This time not only gives the opportunity to worship in a larger, corporate sense; it also allows people to be edified by brothers and sisters in Christ. God uses this interaction to spur on His work. Thus, we don’t just get the satisfaction of fulfilling our creational design for worship, we are built up.

  20. Sarah Teichler says:

    Megan, what a great question you raise, “Is that secular culture creeping into church theology or making adjustments based on the needs of the people trying to worship God corporately?” I, too, have wrestled with working on Sunday because of missing church, and even is it okay to do homework on Sunday, etc. I also agree with Ben and Sze Wing Ho that Sunday is often not truly a day of rest. Ever since I was a child, and on into married life, my family was involved with the church service: We had to arrive extra early, stay extra late, grab a quick lunch, and if there was an evening service, do it all over again in a couple hours, going to bed late, and waking up early the next morning to go to school and work. Not a day of rest, but a day of sheer exhaustion! And I know many pastors will take off Monday as their day of rest. So, for those involved in the functioning of worship service, a day of rest does not seem to mean the day we go to church, thus not equal to idea of a Jewish or Christian Sabbath. It seems we need a more fluid definition of Sabbath and I, for one, certainly need to give it more thought.

  21. Vaden says:

    I agree with Sarah that because the idea is pre-church and God thought ahead and knew we would need a day to set aside and rest. And what better way than confining in The Lord on Sundays at church.

  22. Bradley Anderson says:

    I think this author makes a good point on the connection between the OT Sabbath and the NT Lord’s Day. It is clear from the Creation account that God found is necessary and beneficial to model the act of working six days and resting. I find it interesting that we see a shift in the day from Saturday to Sunday. I never gave that much thought until this course and this article. The move from Saturday to Sunday seems to be yet another aspect of the moving away from Jewish worship practices in to a Christian worship practice, just like the sacrificial system no longer in play after Christ’s death and resurrection. The early church fathers would have understood the idea of the Sabbath and it was obviously ingrained within them. And to show yet another difference between the Jewish and Christian practices, we see the move from Saturday to Sunday within the NT church.

  23. Bradley Anderson says:

    I think Sarah makes a great point in that point God knew we would need rest and modeled that in the Creation account. But what is more important in that act of resting? That God rested after working through the week or the fact that He rested at the end of the week (on a particular day)? I’ve not studied much on the theories and interpretations of the Sabbath, so I don’t speak with any authority. But it seems to me that the important aspect of the Creation account is that God rested from His work. I think God intended for humans to have a day of rest from their work. Anybody who works 5-6 days a week knows just how important that rest is. Unfortunately in today’s society, many jobs require their workers to work on a weekend, making it hard for believers to make it to church on Sunday. I personally like the fact that some churches, in response to this have added services at times other than Sunday to allow their members to worship. We unfortunately live in a society where nothing shut downs just because it is the weekend. I also like the model that some churches employ by closing the offices on a Friday or Monday, allowing those who work on Sundays to have a day of rest, since Sunday it not a day of rest for them. While I believe that Sunday is important and it is important to gather together with other believers in corporate worship, I also think that is important that every believer have a day of rest, whatever day that may be depending on your work/ministry schedule.

  24. Jessica Wan says:

    In agreement with Laura about the Sabbath:

    I am reminded of the well-known story about Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. The passage concludes with Jesus noting: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but one thing is necessary for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.” We often interpret the “good part” as being in the presence of the Lord; however, I think the “good part” may also refer to rest from the worries of life because of the Lord.

    Although the story does not relate directly to the Sabbath, I want to use it to illustrate the idea of work and rest. Most of us are like Martha, we get caught in our life’s never-ending to do list but I believe when God commanded the Israelites to rest on the Sabbath, He was intentional in ensuring that work does not consume their whole life.

    For these last two weeks, our worship class consumed my life. I spent much time in studying for the exam, writing the take-home essay, reading “The Beauty of Holiness,” and writing the book review. (Please note: my previous statement was not intended as a complaint about the course load but to illustrate how one can be consumed by work.) When this website was down last weekend, I was grateful for the time to rest from writing the online discussion responses. The time spent in resting allowed me to redirect my focus away from work and back to God. Reminding myself that my motivation is not to receive an A+ from worship class but to honor God by giving Him my excellence through my studies.

  25. Erin says:

    While there is certainly a link between the Jewish and Christian Sabbaths and I agree with the consensus that it was created for our benefit, our application of it can differ. It makes sense to rest on Sunday since the majority of people attend church on that day, but if for some reason your schedule only permits you to rest on tuesdays, that can be your sabbath. The original purpose is still there and you will still benefit from it.

  26. Mhonroni says:

    I agree with the author that there is a link between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day. Like many have mentioned about God taking rest on the seventh day of Creation, God created that day for man to rest and take pleasure in His creation. I believe it is also a day step back from our busy scheduled life and retrospect, refocus and enjoy the fellowship with Christ and with family, friends and community.

  27. Danielle Davidson says:

    I believe the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day can be one and the same. For those who argue that the Sabbath is an Old Testament law irrelevant to the New Testament church, I would agree with Brain that, “The fact that the concept of Sabbath was established prior to the law makes it worth our while to consider modern applications of the principle.” The Sabbath was established at creation and was God’s own example. After all Jesus observed the Sabbath and reminded us that God prefers mercy to sacrifice. A heart devoted to God is the most important thing on the Sabbath. Also it is a day to do good- God’s will- not to refrain from any activity whatsoever. It is a day beneficial to man but only in reaction to glorifying God and recognizing that he is Lord over all. For Christ’s yoke is light and only when we seek Him do we carry a lighter load. It is my feeling that the holiness of the Sabbath has been diminished in today’s church. Many believers use it as a catch up and day of rest and forget about God as soon as they leave church Sunday morning. I have felt convicted of practicing anything strictly of my will and not for God’s will on the Sabbath. The entire day should be set aside to honor God and do His will not our own.

  28. Danielle Davidson says:

    Ryan I would have to make a comment in light of your statement that working 7 days a week would heighten the appreciation for the Sabbath. I would argue that we do not appreciate the Sabbath for a day of rest off of our work schedules but a day devoted to God- to be completely selfless and spend a day entirely for God. If on the Sabbath He calls me to help others I would say that is God’s will for my activity on the Sabbath. It is a completely dying of our own will. Jesus healed on the Sabbath- He wasn’t resting from a long week but doing his fathers will in holy reverence to God. It is good to fast, meditate or have church on this day but in full remembrance that it is not a day for us to get caught up or to recharge. It is not a day for us at all but a day for God. And yes we find rest and peace in Him but it is important to remember not to search for that rest and peace above communion with God. But to seek God on the Sabbath and in turn find rest.

    Also I must make a second comment about your view, “I feel the church has three primary functions (1) Glorify God, (2) Save the lost, (3) Enrich the family of believers.” I would argue that the churches primary functions go in the following order: (1) Glorify God, (2) Enrich the family of believers, (3) Save the lost. God pours his love into his body, the bride of Christ and we in turn go out and save the lost. Ephesians 4:11-16 really helps to paint the picture of equipping the body in order to perform works of service. Even the Sabbath is for believers. Building up the body should be priority #2 in the church so that we as saints can be equipped for God’s ministry.

  29. Scott Aniol Scott Aniol says:

    Two related items to throw into the mix here: First, keep in mind that the first century Christians did not have Sunday off work, so whatever understanding of the Lord’s Day we take, we have to reconcile it with the possibility (and, in fact, probability) that cultural expectations even in America will return to that reality some day. Which leads to the second point: the reason we have Sunday off typically in the West is because Constantine insisted upon this, which is another factor that influenced the birth of Christendom.

  30. Leyi Ling says:

    Talking about Sabbath day, once I heard a Jewish Rabbi him talked about how Jewish celebrate Sabbath day in modern days. They have a certain number of steps that they can walk on Sabbath. If they walked over that number of steps, they believe they will bring curse to the family since they against Sabbath. They cannot drive on Sabbath, so they usually pay people to drive for them on Sabbath. They cannot cook on Sabbath, so the mother in the family has to cook a large amount of food before Sabbath and so on. I was really surprised and shocked by how the Jewish today still following those specific rules for Sabbath. I see they not only take God’s commandment seriously, but also add many rules for Sabbath, which are not written in Bible. By looking at the Jewish Sabbath, I realize that Sabbath is different with the Lord’s Day. One is to set apart a time from work to rest in God, and another is to set apart a time to worship God with His people and celebrate the resurrection of Christ. In this case, Sabbath and the Lord’s Day is a different day.

  31. ai-chin says:

    Ryan I agree with you. Any conflict issue that worth our time to discuss must be rounds the three functions that you mention. Since the bible does not mention that Sabbath has to be on Sunday, for this reason, I believe it is not a matter whether a church offers a corporate Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday, as Megan mentions. As for individual Sabbath-personal set apart day for God, it can be any day of the week. Since the meaning of Sabbath is to separate a specific day and make it different from other days of the week. I used to have my Sabbath on Monday when I was a piano teacher in Malaysia since I have to teach on Saturday and serve on Sunday at church.

  32. Erin says:

    Leyi, I believe that is just the Orthodox Jews that are so strict. With that in mind, it doesn’t surprise me that they would pay others to do what they themselves are not allowed. It reminds me quite a bit of the Amish where I live in PA. While they couldn’t own any technology, they had no qualms with using that owned by others. It is definitely along the lines of the Pharisees in Matthew 15 we talked about in class.

    That is a good point about early Christians not having Sunday off work. That raises the obvious question of “How then do we honor the Sabbath/Lord’s Day in spite of having to work?” Ideally, we would have the day off to fully focus on the spiritual, be you are right. We may not always have that luxury.

  33. Boyoung Lee says:

    I agree that there is a link between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day.
    The concept of the Sabbath of the Jewish is based on God’s fourth command. God worked for six days and then God rested in the seventh day, the last day. That seventh day, called the Sabbath means the spiritual resting and the fellowship between God and us with ceasing from the works. The Sabbath keeps the holy and the separated from the other days. Therefore the Jewish spent time with the strict behavior and preparations for the worship. Through the example about manna in exodus, God trained the Israel, and God indicated the importance to keep the separated Sabbath and to follow God’s command.
    In my opinion, these training and indication can remind God’s promise and show the fact that God is the Lord in our life.
    In the New Testament, especially in Acts, the Lord’s Day means the “break bread” and remembering Christ’s sacrifice for our sins as the author stated. Christians gathered to celebrate God’s sacrifice for sin and to pray and listen to the gospel. These components of Lord’s Day in NT represented the Sabbath that God commanded the Israel, because God died for the separated people and allows the eternal life with his resurrection. I think that it is the very important to keep the balance between the physical demand and the spiritual heart.
    I firmly believe that the connection with the Sabbath in OT that centered in their behavior and Lord’s Day in NT that centered in Christian’s heart show us the method to keep Lord’s Day in today.

  34. Jessica Wan says:

    I agree with Sarah when she said: “it seems we need a more fluid definition of Sabbath.” I think to define the Sabbath is to understand the essence of the day. The Lord outlines it clearly in Exodus 20: 9-10a: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God.” The importance from passage emphasize setting aside one day of the week that is a day of rest to the Lord. Hence, I believe it does not matter whether the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday, what matters is setting apart a day from the week and keeping it for the Lord.

  35. Keji Lu says:

    I agree with Ben that Sunday might be the busiest day for pastors and ministers. They cannot really have a quite time or rest on Sunday, but they can always find a time during the week to rest in Him and do Sabbath practices. It mentioned in The Beauty of Holiness, God give The Lord’s Day as an aid to give us a time to worship Lord, is made for man. I think Sabbath is a personal thing with God; it does not really need me on Sunday or Saturday.

  36. Malena D. Torres Martín says:

    The Lord´s day it is a very important dilemma in the Christian environment. As Dr. Aniol explains there is a polemic around the day we need to observe in accordance with the Scripture. Several churches don´t make emphasis in teach the people concerning this part of the Bible. That´s why many theories and propositions are in discussion today about the Sabbath.The Lord established the seven day for Jewish people in the Old Testament, and even today they celebrate Shabbat in the Sinagogue. I visited one time the Sinagogue in my country on Friday night; it was a marvelous experience to see how they celebrate the Sabbath. However, as Christians we should consider Sunday as a separated day to dedicate exclusively to God. Because God already ordained in the fourth commandment to separated the seven day.A conflict between Saturday and Sunday “Rest” it is a topic to analyse in a profund way. As Christians we should take one day off, just to meditate and abide in the presence of God. It is a blessing that our Lord rose in Sunday, so after this marvelous act all the Religious panorama changed for ever. Because Saturday worship shift to Sunday.

  37. Jin Young Park says:

    I never knew that there was no mention of the Sabbath in the Patriarchal Period and Exodus Period. I just imaged when patriarch worshiped God even though God rested on the seventh day in the Creation account. Exactly, the Bible did not tell when Abel and Cain performed burnt sacrifices. The Bible did not say when Abraham performed sacrifices in his life. I believe that God may want his people to focus on their heart before God commanded to follow the Sabbath. Before God formed the Sabbath, God wanted to set up worshipper’s heart toward God.

  38. Jin Young Park says:

    What does the Sabbath mean to ministers? Do they rest and cease their work on the Sabbath? God commanded to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, and ministers are supposed to be the most sufficient people who remember and keep the Sabbath holy with serving their works. Literally, the word, Sabbath, means to rest and to cease. God enjoyed his creature on the seventh day. However, ministers are not able to cease their work on the seventh day because their job is mainly happened on Sunday. Even though worshippers attend worship to remember and keep the Sabbath holy with ceasing their normal work, ministers are not able to cease their work on the same day like them. Few years ago, one of my professors suggested how ministers set up their rest in their lives. Technically, following the Sabbath is necessary in a physical sense, because of the influence of resting. My professor said that minsters need to select a day for their own Sabbath except Sunday because Sunday requires minsters serving their works for God. For minsters, I believe his suggestion is the best way to remember and keep the Sabbath with resting and ceasing.

  39. Boyoung Lee says:

    When I read this article, I considered how can we have a successful the Lord’s Day. I thought that Lord’s Day of the Korean has some similarities with the Jewish Sabbath in the legalism aspect. The Jewish seem to the lack of enjoyment the spiritual resting, because they were making considerable effort to keep commands to follow in their legal piety life. I don’t want to say that is too bad. But without the freedom, it becomes the second work in the Sabbath. In Korea, I had an experience like this feeling. In Sunday, our church had many scheduled the worship services and required participation and the bible study and Sunday school teachers meeting and choir practice. These events prevents having not only the physical rest and but also the spiritual rest. Serving many parts in the church as the volunteer or the staff is not a difficult thing, but Christians first should focus and remind the reason why God gave the separated Sabbath. I believe that the fellowship with God will be center in the Lord’s Day. Laying down our physical and spiritual fatigues to God, we peacefully and joyfully lean over God’s grace and comfort. I believe that remind the joy of the redemption, the hope of the heavenly life and the privilege of being children of God and the intimacy with God’s presence will restore us for the Lord’s Day that God gave as the present.

  40. Keji Lu says:

    I agree with Jess that “it does not matter whether the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday, what matters is setting apart a day from the week and keeping it for the Lord.” We need separate ourselves from the busy life and make a time only for God: worship Him, read His Words, be still and rest in Him, and the most important thing is to communion with Him. The Lord’s Day is made for worship Him as a church (body), has fellowships with brothers and sisters and remembers Him. The Sabbath is made for worship Him and rest in Him. Both the Lord’s Day and the Sabbath are important for us, we should using them as our tools to worship and love Him with all the heart, soul and might.

  41. Malena D. Torres Martin says:

    Many Evangelical Christians have a non-Shabbatarism ideology in their practices of worship. The antecedents of this posture came from long ago, as Dr. Aniol commented, this happen when Constantine established Sunday as the official day of reunion for Christians. The Adventists of The Seven Day are in oppositiong with other Religions because they disagree about Sunday worship.The interesting thing is that God is not looking for the observance of the Day as a ritual. God is looking for the attitude of the heart of man.Sadly sometimes Christians just see Sunday as a tradition, they go to Church in the morning but after Church they forget the day of rest to the Lord, and they start to do different things rather than consider this day as Holy and separated to God.

  42. Jae Won Baek says:

    I agree with Boyoung and Keji. The fellowship with God will be centered in the Lord’s day. The fellowship with brothers and sisters is our worship when we think about early Christian worship from the Lord Supper. Although some Jewish keep the rule very strictly, however this is not God’s intention. That kinds of very specific regulation was made by Rabbi. That’s why Jesus rebuked Pharisee.

    Couple of years ago I read ‘The Sabbath’ by Abraham Joshua Heschel. He is not Christian but we can find crucial key what is the Sabbath of Jewish, and Israelity’s identity as well. This book was very helpful for me. So, after reading this book, my attitude for the Lord day was quite changed.(spiritually, physically and emotionally… totally!)

    Over time, but I just would like to write second part. :)

    Every body great job! Have a wonderful fall break.
    Deep rest in the Lord.
    Shabbat Shalom you all….!

  43. Ryan Thiessen says:

    Michael Barrett in “The Beauty of Holiness” would say that we are profaning whatever day we choose by not devoting the entire day to it.  His notion has some merit.  He felt that to properly observe the day required time and preparation, not the skate into the service before the end of the last song and slide out in time to beat the rush to Luby’s mentality that many have today.  There are 168 hours in the week and even regular church goers do well to give just one of those to God (and usually show up late).  There of course is an element of rest involved in this as well, but first and foremost, the day is His.  Sunday worship begins to take on an interesting character this time of year.  The value of any sermon is at least partially measured by how much of the game we miss.

    Ryan Thiessen
    September 29, 2013

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