Updated: May 9
Melissa, why do you go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday? That is kind of weird. How can you honestly believe that one day is better than another? Do you really believe that so many Christians, pastors, and theologians could get the very day they worship God wrong?
It is time to address the elephant in the room: why do I go to church/refuse to work on Saturday?
Before I say anything else I want it to be very clear that the only point of reference or source of information that I am using to write this study is the Bible. I am not writing about this because I am a "Seventh-day Adventist". That actually displays my reasoning backward. I am "Seventh-day Adventist" because of the Bible verses I am about to share. I am not going to quote Ellen White or any other author because I have absolutely zero interest or need to do so.
The Bible speaks for itself.
I am praying in a special way for my readers who might be going through this post despite disagreeing with my stance on a day of worship. I am praying that you will be open-minded and that the truth of the Bible will be revealed to you regardless of what conclusions you draw. You might not agree with my views, and that is okay. God is bigger and better than me in every possible way and I am not worried about "convincing" anyone of anything because I know that the Holy Spirit will do that all on his own. I do not think that this is a salvation issue. If you want to know my stance on salvation you may read it here: https://www.thebiblegirl.com/post/faith-alone-has-freed-me
The best place to start any study is in the beginning and for the Bible that means Genesis.
Genesis 2:2-3 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
When I talk to people about going to church on Saturday or respecting the Biblical Sabbath they often tell me that Sabbath was a Levitical or Mosaic law that was dismissed with the death of Jesus Christ. That is not true. Sabbath was established before there were any laws. Sabbath was established before there was even sin.
That being said, it is true that Sabbath was described and defined many times in the Old Testament along with many other Jewish laws and activities that the Jewish community still upholds today (more on that in a bit). Let's look at some of Old Testament verses on the Sabbath:
Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between Me and the Israelites forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'"
Leviticus 23:3 There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.
When you read the Old Testament there truly is no denying that God asked His people to worship him on Sabbath.
Perhaps you are shaking your head and thinking, "well do you still sacrifice animals too?" The answer is no. I do not carry out any of the other "rituals" or Jewish ceremonies that are listed in the Old Testament because I agree that they were no longer necessary when Christ died. We see visual evidence of this in Matthew 27:51 which says, "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split." This is a scene from the events at the moment Christ was on the cross and it shows that the "Most Holy Place" was no longer necessary because of Jesus' sacrifice. The world now has the Holy Spirit. God is now on earth and freely willing to communicate with all people.
The reason Sabbath is not dismissed along with all those other procedures is that Sabbath was established before those other things. Sabbath was established before sin and before we were even separated from God. Not only that, but the Sabbath is the ONLY Jewish "custom" which is found in the 10 Commandments:
Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
It is the 4th commandment and it is the only commandment that Christians and society have chosen to ignore. No one is telling people it is now okay to murder, steal, or cheat. No one is arguing that loving God is unnecessary. The Sabbath is the only one we decided to drop. Some people call the Sabbath the "lost" commandment or the "forgotten" commandment. No. It is not lost because we can all find it and it is not forgotten because any great pastor or theologian knows it is there. It is ignored.
Someone is still not convinced simply because all of the scripture I have shared thus far has been from the Old Testament. It is time for us to go to the New Testament instead.
Acts 18:4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
Hebrews 4:10 For whoever enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.
Romans 3:31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
The law mentioned in the Old Testament is referring to the 10 Commandments. There are some other verses that Paul has spoken which people often use to claim we are released from the 10 Commandments and that it is "old law". Paul says that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (Romans 3:31) which is a quote for Jesus himself (Mark 2:27). People often use this verse to justify doing anything they want on the Sabbath or ignoring it completely. I do not think this is what Paul meant because once again in Romans 3:31 (listed above) we see that he stated we still uphold the law.
This makes sense because no one who loves Jesus ignores any of the other 10 Commandments... they only ignore the Sabbath.
Now that we see Biblical proof that God designed a Sabbath and wants us to utilize it, how do we know the Sabbath isn't simply Sunday?
There has been much debate about this because there are various calendar versions and some people will even say that you cannot possibly say God was using a calendar. He wasn't. Instead, he used numbers. He said the seventh day. In our calendar, the 7th day is Saturday. Ironically enough some languages even called "Saturday" a word that means Sabbath:
Arabic: Sabet Armenian: Shabat Bosnian: Subota Bulgarian: Sabota Corsican: Sàbatu Croatian: Subota Czech: Sobota Georgian: Sabati Greek: Savvato Hebrew: Shabbat Indonesian: Sabtu Italian: Sabato Latin: Sabbatum Maltese: is-Sibt Polish: Sobota Portuguese: Sábado Romanian: Sambata Russian: Subbota Serbian: Subota Slovak: Sobota Slovene: Sobota Somali: Sabti Spanish: Sabado Sudanese: Saptu Ukranian: Subota
In my opinion, there is no denying it. At the very least you must admit that all of this information is fascinating. So how did people start going to church on Sunday?
Some people will argue they go to church on Sunday because that is the day Jesus rose from the dead. This is a nice sentiment but not the reason Christians as a whole do not attend services on Saturday.
In order to understand this, we cannot go to the Bible because there is no documented change of the seventh-day Sabbath to any other day. It just isn't there. Instead, we must go to history, to the story of Constantine. You may read about his life here: http://www.classichistory.net/archives/constantine-christianity
In a nutshell, Constantine was originally worshiping the Sun God- a popular deity in Rome during the 300's (AD). Eventually, Constantine had a vision of a cross which convinced him that the God of the Bible was the only true God. He began to study the Bible, discovered the Sabbath and brought it up to his counsel. Although the Roman Empire was willing enough to accept the Bible and give freedom of religion to the people in their reign, they were not willing to accept holding services on Saturday because that is what the Jewish community did and they did not want to be affiliated with the Jews. As a compromise, Constantine combined the pagan traditions of his previous religion and worship to the Sun God... who was worshiped on Sunday.
That merging of those two cultures, the Bible and the Sun God, has sustained itself until today.
If you do not believe it, I urge you to research it for yourself. You can even use only secular articles and sources in your study. You will find it.
The same weaknesses of Constantine exist in pastors and spiritual leaders today. It is tradition and it is culture and they know how hard it would be to try and change it. They know that the majority of Christians (who often only read bits and pieces of the Bible, to begin with) would not be interested in changing the day. They decide that because it is not a salvation issue it is unnecessary and unimportant to focus on. They ignore it. But there are many things we do for God that aren't salvation issues. They are love issues. I love God. It is impossible for me to believe that God wants me to ignore a day He hallowed and set aside before sin even existed. He said to respect it and I love Him, so I do.
It is your choice to do what you feel is right with this information, but it is important for you to know it. If you too, like many pastors feel that it is unnecessary to worry about, I can respect that. However, if the Sabbath is unnecessary, that logic means that all of the 10 commandments must be unnecessary. You cannot throw out one and keep another. They aren't meant to be picked apart like that. If that was the case, all of our morals would be uprooted. Murder, stealing, infidelity. None of it would matter.
We must be real, and honest, and open to what the Bible says. If you don't like it, ask God to help you. Ask him to show you the way and help you find a desire for what is true. Do not be afraid or worried. God is going to give you the answers. Have faith and be encouraged.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”