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Sunday Observance and the Book of Revelation
Lesson 6 Lesson # 7 Lesson 8
Since Revelation is a book for the last days, and since it centers on Jesus and His resurrection, one would expect to find some exciting comments in the book in regard to the church custom of keeping Sunday as a holy day in honor of His resurrection.
But, strangely, the day itself is not even mentioned. Stranger yet, though the day is mentioned eight times in other books of the New Testament, in no case is a command given to keep it holy. Since millions of sincere and loving Bible believing Christians worship on Sunday, why is the Bible so strangely silent on this subject?
Could it be that more is involved here than appears on the surface? The answer is "Yes!" One of the greatest prophecies of the book of Revelation involves the subject of Sunday worship. One of our seminar lessons will consider this crucial topic in detail.
However, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to understand this important prophecy unless the topic in this lesson becomes crystal clear. So, let us examine the eight scripture references in the New Testament which mentions the first day of the week. Obviously, if there is a command to keep Sunday holy, we should find it in one of these Bible passages.
1. Do these three resurrection texts say Sunday is holy?
Mark 16:9: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene Ö"
Matt. 28:1: "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week Ö"
John 20:1: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early Ö "
Answer: No! No!No!
The Bible always calls Sunday the first day of the week.
2. Does this fourth text say the day is holy? Mark 16:1,2.
Note: This New Testament text tells us something very interesting. Sunday is not the Sabbath, because the Sabbath is past when Sunday comes.
3. Does this fifth passage say Sunday is holy?Luke 24:1.
"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, Ö"
Note: The book of Luke was written by a Gentile Christian, thirty years after Christís ascension, but no change in the day of worship is mentioned.
4. Does this sixth text reveal a regular Sunday meeting?John 20:19
They assembled "for fear of the Jews."
Note: This could not have been a regular meeting to honor the resurrection, because until Jesus appeared in their midst they refused to believe He was raised!
5. The seventh text answers a number of questions. 1 Cor. 16:1,2
a. Does this passage say the first day is holy? Answer: NO!
b. Does it say, "Give money when the collection plate is passed in your church on the first day?" Answer: NO!
verse 2:"let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
6. What is the significance of "lay by him"?
Answer: Do it privately at home!
The New Testament, in the language of today says, "Each of you should at home lay aside some money he makes, and save it." Paul was requesting money for the Jerusalem Christians, who were suffering famine and hardship.
(Acts 11:27-30; Rom. 15:26).
So, Paul wrote ahead to the churches he would visit, asking each believer to save money at home weekly, so it would be ready when he arrived. These Christians kept Sabbath holy and usually reviewed their weekly financial accounts on Sunday. So it was an ideal time to plan their giving.
7. The eighth and final New Testament text is Acts 20:7 - 11.
Does it say to observe Sunday as a holy day? NO!
Does it say the Sabbath was changed to Sunday? NO!
Does it say they met every Sunday for worship? NO!
Paul was on a farewell trip to the churches. Acts 20 & 21 mention at least five other churches Paul visited on this same farewell trip. This meeting at Troas was a special farewell meeting. That is why it lasted until midnight.
8. Would Paul have told us if the Sabbath had been changed?
Acts 20:27 says Paul gave us all of Godís counsel!
The book of Acts covers a period of 23 years after Jesusí ascension and mentions the Sabbath in eight different chapters, but without any hint of change.
9. Could the disciples have changed the day if they wanted to?
Matt. 5:18 "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law".
Deut. 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from itÖ"
10. Satanís strategy is to get us to break just one of Godís commandments! Why?
When you offend in one point you are guilty of all.
Note: Godís law is like a 10-sided fortress. Only one side needs to be broken down for the enemy to enter.
11. John speaks of the Lordís day - which day is it?
"I was in the Spirit on the Lordís day."
"But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy GodÖ"
Which day is the Lordís day?
Isa. 58:13 "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day.."
Mark 2:28: "Öthe Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath".
The Sabbath is the Lordís day.
Note: People sometimes call Sunday the Lordís Day, but the Bible calls the Sabbath the Lordís Day.
Memorial of Jesusí Resurrection
12. What does the Bible call Sunday?
Answer: One of the six days.
13. Where did the Sunday sacredness come from? Matt. 15:3-9:
Answer: From the tradition and commandments of men.
Note: Misguided men have substituted another day of worship for the Sabbath.
14. What did Jesus give us to honor His death, burial and resurrection?Rom.6: 3-6, Col.2:12
Answer:Baptism and the
Note: Neither Jesus nor His disciples gave any command whatsoever to honor Sunday as a memorial to the resurrection. Rather, He gave us Baptism and the Lordís Supper as a memorial of His death, burial & resurrection.
Calendar Change Explained
15. Have calendar changes made it impossible to find the Sabbath?
The seventh day on our calendar is the same 7th day that was on the calendar when Jesus was here.
The Romans who ruled in Jesusí day gave us our modern calendar. Only one change has been made and it did not affect the weekly cycle. In October of 1582, ten days were removed. Thursday the 4th was followed by Friday the 15th. Therefore the seventh-day Sabbath on our calendar today is the very same seventh-day that Jesus kept.
Nailed to the Cross
16. Which Sabbaths are no longer binding since the cross?
Those that were a "shadow of things to come".
Note:The annual or yearly feast days were also called sabbaths, and were part of the CEREMONIAL LAWS which foreshadowed some aspect of Christís ministry in the plan of salvation. They came on different days of the week each year and symbolized Jesusí coming sacrificial death and priestly ministry (Heb. 10:1). By this means he taught Israel the gospel (Heb. 4:1-2). For example, the annual Sabbath of the Passover foreshadowed Christís suffering and death (1 Cor. 5:7). All of these yearly sabbaths came to an end at the cross.
The yearly Sabbaths were not a part of Godís perfect Ten Commandment Law which will stand forever and tells us to observe the seventh-day Sabbath
(Psalm 19:7; 111:7,8; Isa. 66:22,23).
17. What do Sunday churches say about this problem?
"There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week"
- Baptist Manual
"You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday". - James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers
Catholic Services Appeal, 1995, St. Catherine Catholic Church, St. Clair Boulevard: "Öthe holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday, the day of the Lord (not based on scriptural authority, but) Öfrom the churchís sense of itís own power."
"People who think the scripture should be the sole authority should logically become Seventh-day Adventists and keep Saturday holy".
"There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change."
- First Day Observance
Church of Christ:
"I do not believe that the Lordís day Ö was changed from the seventh to the first day." - Alexander Campbell, Washington Reporter,
October 8, 1821
"Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None!"
- Manual of Christian Doctrine
"Take the matter of Sunday Ö there is no passage telling Christians to keep the day."
- Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate,
July 2, 1942
"The observance of the Lordís Day (Sunday) is not founded on any command of God."
- Augsburg Confession of Faith
"The Christian Sabbath (Sunday) is not in the scriptures."
- Dwightís Theology, vol. 4
My Love and Obedience
18. Does Revelation say Godís people keep his commandments?
Answer: Yes - three times!
1. Rev. 12:17
2. Rev. 14:12
3. Rev. 22:14
And the dragon was
wroth with the woman, and
went to make war with the remnant of her
seed, whichkeep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (KJV).
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they thatkeep the commandments
of God,and the faith of Jesus (KJV).
Blessed are they that
do his commandments,
that they may have right
to the tree of life, and may
enter in through the gates
into the city (KJV).
And being made perfect,
he became the author of
eternal salvation unto all
them thatobey him (KJV);
Jesus, in Revelation, is stressing thatsalvation is provided for the obedient and not for the disobedient. Matthew 7:21-23 makes it clear that many active church members will be shocked when they are shut out of heaven for disobedience, in spite of the fact that they did many wonderful things in the Lordís name.
Matt 7:21 - 23:
Not every one that saith unto me,
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; buthe that
doeth the will of my Fatherwhich
is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied
in thy name? and in thy name have
cast out devils? and in thy name
done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (KJV).
19. What does Jesus say to us about this problem?Matt. 15:3
"Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?"
"If ye love me keep my commandments." John 14:15
We serve whomever we obey (Romans 6:16). Will we serve Jesus and worship on his holy day or will we serve, and thus worship, misguided men who were led by satan to replace Godís holy day with a substitute?
20. Do you want to be on the side of tradition and lose, or do you want to be on the side of truth and win?
21. Do you want the blessings God gives those who keep the Sabbath?
We hope you will want it. We have chosen to accept ... and we are rejoicing greatly!
PRAISE THE LORD!
Lesson 6 Lesson 8