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Sabbath – Saturday or Sunday?4 min read

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So, this past week, I received a free booklet in the mail from some cult that was trying to get me to request more information, and in the book, one of their pet doctrines was that we should be celebrating church on Saturday, rather than Sunday.  One of my friends was worried by the booklet, and asked me what was right, and I wrote him the response below.  He then responded in this fashion:

tx! whew. according to the booklet, anyone who didn’t see Saturday as the Sabbath was going to be dammed. he then provided many quotes which were heavily interspersed with his interpretations.

Regarding the Sabbath, the short answer is, it doesn’t matter which day you rest or meet with other believers. Groups that are hung up on which days you should worship are usually controlling, cult-like organizations trying to draw people into their dysfunction (see, I have an opinion ;).  Here’s some scriptures to

1. The Sabbath is made to help us, we are not made to slavishly obey some Sabbath rule:

Mark 2:23-28
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then 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.”

2. The Sabbath and other ceremonial rules such as sacrificing animals, were merely a foreshadowing of Christ.  Now that He has come, we obey them by trusting in Christ – by RESTING in his work for us, we are, essentially, obeying the Sabbath.

Colossians 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.

3. The Sunday sabbath was adopted by the Catholic church to combat paganism (similar to how they put Christmas over-top the winter solstice).  However, this may also have been done because Constantine, who converted to Christianity, was a former sun worshipper who worshipped on Sunday.  So the “Saturday sabbath” folks DO have reason to say that perhaps the Sunday Sabbath was chosen for the wrong reasons.

In 321 CE, while a Pagan sun-worshiper, the Emperor Constantine declared that Sunday was to be a day of rest throughout the Roman Empire…The Church Council of Laodicea circa 364  CE ordered that religious observances were to be conducted on Sunday, not Saturday. Sunday became the new Sabbath. They ruled: “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day.”

4. There are scriptural, New Testament reasons to worship on Sunday, chief of which is that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, though some dispute this.

The interval between death and resurrection is given as three days in many places in the Gospels:

  • Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19; Luke 9:22, 13:32, 24:46: “on the third day”
  • John 2:19 “in three days”

These passages would be consistent with a Friday afternoon death and Sunday morning resurrection, because of the Jewish “inclusive” method of
reckoning time. 


But in the end, it is the second point which is most important – it just doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that we practice

  • the principle of Sabbath rest, that is, putting aside a day to stop
    working and renew our relationship with God, others, and ourselves
  • are trusting Christ for our righteousness, not keeping the rules slavishly