THE FIRST DAY VS. THE SABBATH
July 1, 1991 Issue
by Irvin Barnes
The first day of the week is a special and distinguished day because Jesus was resurrected on the first day, the church was established on the first day and Christians are taught to assemble to break bread and give of their means on the first day of the week.
Mark 16:9, says "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week." This is proof enough that Christ came forth from the tomb on the first day, However, those who observe the Sabbath claim that Christ "was risen" (past tense) and point that the tomb was empty when the women arrived on the first day of the week, therefore, they say Christ was risen in the afternoon of the 7th day or on the Sabbath.
Jesus said he would be raised on the third day (Luke 24:46). While walking on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas told Christ "today is the third day," since Jesus was delivered, condemned to death, and crucified (Lk 24:13-21). Verse 13 declares that the journey to Emmaus was on the same day the women went to the tomb. So Jesus was raised on the day the women went to the tomb, the same day Cleopas went to Emmaus which was the third day since Jesus had died. What day was it? Luke 24:1 says the women went to the tomb on the first day of the week. The women did not go to the tomb on the Sabbath day nor was the Sabbath the third day following the death of Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.
The church of Christ had its beginning on the first Pentecost day following the resurrection of Christ. Please see Acts chapter 2. Pentecost was one of five Jewish celebrations commanded in Lev. 23. Beginning at a specific Sabbath, the Jews were to number 7 Sabbaths complete. Seven times 7 equals 49 days. The day following the 7th Sabbath was the "fiftieth" day which is the exact meaning of the word Pentecost. Since Pentecost or the "fiftieth day" followed a Sabbath or 7th day, the day of Pentecost fell on the first day of the week. The church had its beginning on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1).
Christians are taught by command (Heb 10:25) and by example (Acts 20:7) to commune on the first day of the week. The first day is distinguished from all the other days of the week because of worship performed on this day that must not be performed on any other day.
Paul commanded a collection to be taken on the first day of the week (1st Cor 16:1-3). Those who practice Sabbath keeping claim this was a special collection and would not be continued after Paul came to take it to Jerusalem. Please note that the passage does not say "that there be no more collections ever again, after I come," but says simply that they were to take a collection each first day so the funds would be ready when Paul or others arrived. Nothing is said to prove that they would not continue the first day collection every first day of the wee after Paul departed Corinth for Jerusalem. The first day is distinguished by this act of giving in the assembly on each first day of the week.
THE SABBATH IS GONE
The first day of the week is not a Christian Sabbath. There is no Sabbath in God's plan for the New Testament age of the world. Because of greed the people of old asked, "When will the Sabbath be gone?" After rebuking them for their covetousness, the prophet Amos answered, "And it shall come to pass in the day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day," Amos 8:4-9. This was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross. "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour," Matthew 27:45. Paul explains that Jesus took away the law contained in ordinances, blotting out the ordinances by nailing them to the cross (Eph 2:14-15 & Col 2:14-16).
Hosea 2:11 tells of a time when Israel's feast days (yearly festivals), her new moons (monthly observances), and her Sabbaths (weekly observances), would cease. Paul explains that since Jesus has died, "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days," Col 2:14-16. The holyday refers to the yearly feasts, the new moon to the monthly feasts and the Sabbath refers to the weekly observances. Hosea said these observances, including the Sabbath, would cease. Paul says at the death of Christ they did cease.
When Christ died on the cross, did he take away the ten commandments or only the book of the law? He took away both! In Romans 7, Paul points out that Christians are loosed from the law, dead to the law, free from the law, and delivered from the law. He illustrates our freedom from the law by quoting one of the ten commandments in verse 7, "Thou shalt not covet." Second Corinthians 3, also proves that the ten commandments written on stone were done away by, and had no glory in comparison to, the more glorious law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Nine of the 10 commandments are taught again in the New Testament in the following places: James 2:11, Rom 13:9, Eph 4:25, 1st. Thes 4:6, Eph 6:1-2, 1st. Cor 10:7 and Eph 4:29. The command to observe the 7th day cannot be found in the New Testament. The Sabbath is gone. It was taken away in the cross of Christ.
Irvin Barnes 1991 OPA Main Page HOME