THE SABBATH OR THE LORD’S DAY— WHICH?

(Acts 20:7.) 

ALTHOUGH there is much controversy upon this 
subject, the Scriptures are very clear when studied 
as a whole. Our discussion of the matter is not to 
perpetuate controversy, but to ascertain the truth. 
Nothing is settled until it is settled right. 

1. The first mention of the seventh day. The eve- 
ning and the morning were the first day (Gen. 1:5). 
The evening and the morning constituted each suc- 
ceeding day. The evening and the morning also con- 
stituted the seventh day. Hence the Jews reckoned a 
day from sunset to sunset. 

We will now study Gen. 2:1-3. This is a case 
of prolepsis, or the joining together of two distant 
events to make it appear as if they happened at the 
same time. God rested in the seventh day of creation, 
thus ending the first week. But He did not sanctify 
the seventh day until the giving of the law on Mount 
Sinai. 

In Gen. 3 : 20 we have another case of prolepsis. 
Adam named his wife Eve when she was created; but 
she was not the mother of a race for several centuries 
following that time. 

In Matt. 10 : 2-4 is another case of prolepsis. ' 1 And 
Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him." Matthew wrote 
this over thirty years after the calling of the twelve 
apostles. In this passage, he connects the sending out 
of Judas and the betrayal of Christ by Judas in one 
passage, as if the two events happened at the same 
time; when, in reality, they happened some three years 
apart. 

So, in Gen. 2:2, 3, we read that "he rested on the 
seventh day from the work which he had made. And 
God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." This 
account was written by Moses hundreds of years after 
the creation. In writing it, Moses connects two distant 
events as if they happened at the same time. God 
rested on the seventh day of the world's existence. 
He sanctified it, or set it apart as a special day, by 
positive law after the Jews were led out of Egyptian 
bondage. Absolutely there is no record of any observ- 
ance of the seventh day during the patriarchal dis- 
pensation. 

2. The setting apart of the seventh day as the Sab- 
bath for the Jews. 

a. Neh. 9 : 13, 14. The Lord came down and made 
known unto them from Mount Sinai His holy Sabbath. 

b. Ex. 20 : 8-11. The giving of the Ten Command- 
ments. We note that they are commanded to "re- 
member" the Sabbath. Evidently they had known 
something about it previous to that time. If so, when? 

c. Exodus 16. The first observance of the seventh 
day as the Sabbath. We can see at a glance, from the 
reading of this chapter, that they had known nothing 
about the Sabbath previously. Here is mentioned a 
period of eight days — or a day of eating meat, fol- 
lowed by six days of eating bread, followed by a day 
of rest, the first observance of the Sabbath. On the 
first day of the eight, quails came down "at even" 
and covered the camp, and they ate meat. Then for 
six days they ate bread. And on the following day 
they rested. This is all very plain. This occurred 
about the middle of the second month after they had 
passed the Red Sea. In the following month they 
came to Mount Sinai, where the law was given; and 
the command to observe the Sabbath was written upon 
tables of stone. Hence it was stated, "Remember the 
sabbath day to keep it holy." This was the setting 
apart of the seventh day as the Sabbath, by positive 
written law. 

3. The purpose of observing the Sabbath. 

a. Deut. 5 : 1-3. Here Moses refers to the giving of 
the law and states expressly that the law was not given 
to their fathers, but to those to whom he was talk- 
ing at that time. 

b. Deut. 4:10-13. This covenant consisted of the 
Ten Commandments, written upon tables of stone. 

c. Deut. 5 : 4-22. Here he repeats the covenant. 
Included therein, as one of the Ten Commandments, 
was that of keeping the Sabbath (5: 12-15). 

d. Deut. 5 : 15. The purpose of the Sabbath — that 
they might remember their Egyptian bondage and 
their deliverance therefrom "through the mighty hand 
and stretched-out arm" of God. Hence, as it was to 
commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from Egyp- 
tian bondage, it has no meaning whatever to a Gentile. 

4. The Sabbath was a sign between the Lord and 
one nation — the Jews (Ex. 31:12-17). 

5. The duration of the Sabbath. 

a. Ex. 31 : 16. It was to be a sign between the 
Lord and the Jews "throughout their generations. ' ' 
Whenever this phrase is used, it refers to the days of 
the Jewish dispensation. The Passover was also insti- 
tuted as a feast to be kept forever throughout their 
generations (Ex. 12:3-14). But as the slaying of the 
paschal lamb in Egypt merely pointed forward to the 
slaying of the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7), 
when Christ had been put to death as a sin-offering for 
all humanity, the significance of the Passover ceased 
and it was no longer observed. A slave is bound to 
his master forever — that is, as long as the master lives. 

b. Hos. 2 : 11. God says that He will cause her 
Sabbaths to cease. If so, when? 

c. Col. 2:13-17. They ceased with the death of 
Christ. 

We summarize the first part of the discourse as fol- 
lows: (a) The Lord blessed the seventh day because 
that was the day on which He rested at creation; (6) 
He sanctified the seventh day, or set it apart as the 
Jewish Sabbath, to commemorate the deliverance of 
the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage; conse- 
quently, it had no meaning, previous to the passage of 
the Red Sea, whatever; (c) it was a sign between the 
Lord and the children of Israel, and did not affect the 
Gentile world in the least; (d) it was first observed 
while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, 
following the first six days of the miraculous supply 
of manna from heaven; (e) its observance was incor- 
porated in statute when the law was given from Mount 
Sinai ; (/) together with the entire old covenant, it was 
nailed to the cross by the death of Christ. 

IN this discourse we take up the question of the 
observance of the first day of the week. Some 
contend that Constantine made the change from the 
Sabbath to the first day by imperial edict. History 
proves that Constantine merely issued a decree com- 
pelling the cessation of manual labor on the first day. 
Others maintain that the change was made by the 
Pope. If so, in what year and by what Pope? This 
evidence can not be produced. 

We propose to show that, since the Sabbath was a 
sign between the Lord and the Jews to commemorate 
their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and had no 
significance to the Gentile world whatever, with the 
passing of the Jewish economy a new day was insti- 
tuted by Scriptural authority for the Chrisitan world 
to keep as a memorial day. 

1. This day in type (Lev. 23:10-12). The first- 
fruit of the harvest was to be waved on the morrow 
after the Sabbath. Christ is the first-fruits of the 
spiritual harvest (1 Cor. 15:22, 23). He became such 
when He was resurrected. Hence it follows that His 
resurrection had to occur on the morrow after the 
Sabbath, or the first day of the week. 

2. This day in prophecy (Ps. 118:22-24). 

a. What is the day which the Lord has made? 
The day in which the stone, rejected by the builders, 
became the head of the corner. 

b. Jesus Christ is the stone and the Jews were the 
builders (Acts 4:10-12; Matt. 21:42; Eph. 2:19, 20). 

c. His rejection was consummated by His resurrec- 
tion from the dead (Mark 8:31). The end of the 
whole matter was when he "rose again." His resur- 
rection is the underlying evidence of Christianity. 

d. By His resurrection He became the head of the 
corner, or the chief corner-stone (Rom. 14:9; 5:18; 1 
Cor. 15:12-19). The entire Christian system depends 
upon the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. 

e. Hence the day on which He was resurrected was 
the day in which He became the head of the corner, 
and is the day which the Lord has made. What day 
was that? (Mark 16: 9.) The first day of the week. 

3. Jesus arose from the tomb on the first day of 
the week; thus the type becomes reality, and the 
prophecy is fulfilled. This is the day which the Lord 
hath made. 

4. The prominence of the first day of the week in 
the New Testament. 

a. The day in which Jesus arose from the dead 
(Mark 16:9). 

b. On the same day He appeared unto Mary 
Magdalene, and unto the two, and unto the eleven 
disciples while they sat at meat (Mark 16 ; Luke 24 ; 
John 20). 

c. One week later He appeared unto the twelve and 
convinced Thomas that He was the risen Christ (John 
20:26-29). 

d. Seven weeks later the Holy Spirit descended 
and the church was established on the first day of the 
week (Acts 2). 

e. The early disciples met on the first day of the 
week for the Lord's Supper and preaching of the gos- 
pel (Acts 20:7). As this was the custom of the early 
Christians, under direct guidance of the apostles, it 
should be the universal custom to-day. 

f. Paul tells us not to neglect this worship (Heb. 
10:25). 

g. The offering was also included in the regular 
worship of the first day (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). 

h. John received his wonderful revelation on the 
isle of Patmos on the first day of the week, or the 
Lord's Day (Rev. 1: 10). 

5. What is it called? As it is the day which the 
Lord hath made, it should be called the Lord's Day 
(Rev. 1:10). 

Conclusion. The Sabbath was a type or shadow 
of the Lord's Day (Col. 2:16, 17). As the Sabbath 
was commemorative of the deliverance of the children 
of Israel from Egyptian bondage, so the Lord's Day 
is a memorial of the deliverance of mankind from the 
bondage of sin by the resurrection of Christ. 

The Sabbath was a day of rest. The Lord's Day is 
a day of worship. It is a day dedicated to the wor- 
ship of the Lord, and should not be desecrated by idle 
pleasures and pursuits.