Categorized | Sunday In The Bible

Lord’s Day In The New Testament

Many Christians believe that the Lord’s day in the New Testament is Sunday and therefore the new Sabbath of the Lord. In this article we will examine all the verses in the New Testament that mention Sunday or ‘first day of the week’ and whether those verses show that the Sabbath had changed from Saturday to Sunday.  This is a very important study as it will help us to see if the Sabbath day was changed by the Apostles or the early church or whether we have to look else where for this change. This is very important if we are to avoid worshiping in vain by teaching as doctrine the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)

Below are the 8 verses in the New Testament that mention Sunday, followed by an analysis of whether they show that the Sabbath had been changed to Sunday.

1) Matthew 28: 1: “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.”  This verse mentions two days i.e. Sabbath and then first day of the week.  It talks of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to look at the tomb on the first day of the week.  All Christians are agreed that Christ died on Friday and rose from the dead on the Sunday. It is therefore clear from this verse that Saturday was still considered Sabbath and no transfer had taken place during Christ time on earth. Otherwise why would the passage refer to Sunday as first day of the week and referring to the previous day as Sabbath. We should also take into account the fact that the gospels were written years after Christ’s resurrection.

2) Mark 16:1.2: “When the Sabbath was past … very early in the morning the first day of the week.”  Here is another verse which shows that the first day of the week  immediately follows the Sabbath. No mention here that first day of the week is now the Sabbath or holy. Just as the Cross did not make Friday sacred, the resurrection did not make Sunday sacred.

3) Mark 16:9: “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons..” Here again Sunday is simply called “the first day of the week.”  The “week” began in Genesis and starts from the first day to the seventh day when God rested. The early patriarchs and Jews have kept the seventh day, Saturday as the Sabbath to this day.

4) Luke 24: 1: The women went to the tomb on “the first day of the week” after “they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” Luke 23:56. One thing that is clear in these passages is that these women who had walked with Jesus throughout His ministry were still keeping the Sabbath even after the cross. Unless you doubt their sincerity and devotion to Christ, it is clear that the disciples were unaware of any change by Christ of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. They rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment found in Exodus 20:8-11  and then went to the tomb on first day of the week. This shows that the Sabbath was still there after the cross. Luke wrote this book  28 years after the resurrection according to some experts.

5) John 20:1: Mary came to the tomb on “the first day of the week.” As in the previous books,  John simply gives a narrative account of the resurrection of our Lord on Sunday.

6) John 20:19:” Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you”. Here the disciples were assembled together for fear of the Jews and not as a worship meeting. Even if they were to be worshiping, there is no mention that this had now become the Sabbath day.

7) 1 Corinthians 16:2: “Concerning the collection for the saints” (vs. 1). The context and other Scriptures reveal that Paul was raising a “collection” for needy believers in “Jerusalem” (vs. 3) during a time of famine. See Acts 11:27-30; Romans 15:25, 26. Notice carefully: On “the first day of the week” (Sunday), “let every one” (individually), “lay by him” (the original Greek literally means, “at home”), “in store” (in storage), a certain amount. The words, “by him in store,” reveal that this was to be done by the believers in their homes. The “first day of the week” was ideal for the Corinthians to look back on the previous week, examine their finances, and set aside a weekly contribution. This would then be gathered and made ready for Paul, “that there be no gatherings when I come.” Paul was going to pass through Corinth. He wanted the money ready for him to pick up. This was an emergency situation and not their regular practice, for Paul had to give them “orders” to do what they were not normally used to doing (vs. 1). Paul said nothing here about a church service or the resurrection.

8) Acts 20:6-13: This passage is often misused to support Sunday observance, but it doesn’t. This was Paul’s last meeting with a small group of believers in “Troas” (verse 6). The meeting took place at night (20:7, 8) on the “first day of the week.” Biblically, the day begins at sunset. Genesis 1.5, 8; Luke 23:54, etc. Therefore this meeting took place on a Saturday night. The New English Bible says, “On Saturday night.” That night Paul preached his farewell sermon, “ready to depart the next day [on Sunday morning].” At “daybreak” (verse 11), while Luke “sailed” (verse 15), Paul walked 25 miles “to Assos” (verse 14). Thus Paul traveled many miles that Sunday. He had been in Troas for “seven days” (vs. 6). Simple math reveals that Paul arrived on the previous Sunday, stayed for a week, and conducted his last meeting on Saturday night, which would have been right after the Sabbath. Significantly, the Book of Acts mentions “the first day of the week” only once (in Acts 20:7), yet “the Sabbath” is mentioned 11 times (see Acts 1:12; 13:14, 27, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). A careful study of Acts 20:6-13, the “Saturday Night in Troas, Sunday Travel to Assos Text” is proof that Paul did not keep Sunday holy.

Below is a video sermon from E E Cleveland on the Lord’s Day in The New Testament. It sheds more light on the verses above.

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