Thank you very much for your response to our article Honour the Lord’s Day.
I’m well aware that some claim that we are not observing the true Sabbath unless we are observing it on Saturday. Some claim that the Emperor Constantine is the one who changed the Sabbath from Saturday and the reason we now observe it on Sunday is because the Caesar of Rome established the tradition in AD325 at the council of Nicea!
Actually, as far as I can see, the institution of the Sabbath was changed to the Lord’s Day on the first Day of the week by the Apostles chosen by Christ. As our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, and as the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, on the first day of the week, we read of the disciples gathering to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The Apostle Paul told the Christians to set aside their tithes and offerings on the first day of the week (1Cor 16:2). The Apostle John received his Revelation from Christ while worshiping on the first day of the week – which he described as “the Lord’s Day” Rev. 1:10.
The early church fathers taught that Christians set aside the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day. This included Polycarp (who was discipled by the Apostle John, and who was martyred in Smyrna in the second century).
In AD150 Justin Martyr wrote: “Sunday is the day in which we all hold our communion assembly, because Jesus Christ our Saviour, on the same day, arose from the dead”.
Clement of Alexandria wrote in AD194 that “Believers, in fulfillment of precepts according to the Gospels, keep the Lord’s Day.”
In the second century Tertullian wrote that on the first day of the week, “on the Lord’s Day, Christians should, in honour of the Resurrection of the Lord, defer all worldly business.”
So, as under the Old Covenant Jewish believers observed the last day of the week as the Sabbath in commemoration of the Lord’s work of Creation, Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and His work of re-creation, looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth – the everlasting Kingdom of God brought about by Christ’s victory over death, hell and the grave in His Resurrection on the first day of the week.
May the Lord continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfillment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond