The Disciples and the Sabbath Day

Many Christians believe that the disciples changed the Bible Sabbath day to the first day of the week in honor of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, and that the New Testament teaches that they started meeting on the first day of the week, our Sunday, instead of the seventh day, our Saturday. We need to let the Bible, the very Word of God be our guide, so let's take a look at the truth of this.

Luke 23:56 ...'And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.' ... So, straight away after the death of Jesus, the women who followed Him, after the sun went down on Friday evening, kept the 7th Day Sabbath according to the Commandment. These women followed Jesus closely, and they would have known if Jesus even hinted at the Sabbath Commandment being changed or done away with, but no, they were still keeping it even after Jesus death.

Acts 13:42 ...'And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.' ... Paul had just finished preaching on the seventh Day Sabbath and as you can see, the Gentiles (NOT the Jews) asked him to preach to them again the NEXT Sabbath Day.

Did you catch that important fact? If the Sabbath Command had now passed, why didn't they ask him to preach to them another day? The VERY NEXT day was Sunday, the first day of the week, which Christians believe was the NEW Sabbath day! Why didn't they ask him to preach to them then, if Sunday was supposed to be the new Sabbath?? But no, they ask for him to come to them the next 7th Day Sabbath. We then see that nearly the whole city came the next Sabbath, Jews and Gentiles ... Acts 13:44 ...'And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.' ... Now please don't think that this Sabbath day was referring to Sunday. There isn't even a hint anywhere in the Bible that Sunday (first day of the week) was referred to as a Sabbath. There is only one day of the week that was set apart for Holy use and given the name Sabbath, and that day was the seventh day (our Saturday).

Acts 18:4 ...'And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Preaching on SabbathGreeks.' ... We can see that it was Paul's custom to preach in the synagogue every Sabbath Day ... Acts 17:2 ...'As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.' ... Jesus preached in the synagogues every Sabbath Day and this was continued by the disciples after Jesus death and resurrection. You may say that the Jews went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, so Paul had to go there then, but as we can see from the above scripture, the Greeks (Gentiles) were there also. If Sunday was now the new sabbath, then Paul would have preached to the Gentiles on that day, but no, he preached to them also on the 7th Day Sabbath.

Acts 16:13 ...'And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.' ... This is a great verse, which shows the Sabbath Day Commandment was still in effect and that the disciples were keeping it. They wanted to retreat to a quiet place on the Sabbath Day (Saturday) to pray and worship God. When they got there, there were women who also came out to this quiet place for the Sabbath Day.

What day is the Sabbath in the Bible? The Seventh Day.

Acts 23:9 ...'And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man.' ... Have a good think about what the Pharisees are saying here!! If Paul and the disciples were now keeping the first day of the week as the sabbath day, instead of the seventh, then the Pharisees would have caused great uproar about it, but instead they say, as it shows in the above verse .... 'we find no evil in this man.' Paul MUST have been keeping the seventh day Sabbath, as per the Fourth Commandment.

Let's look at some verses that Christians quote to suggest the disciples were now keeping the first day of the week as sabbath:

Acts 20:7-8 ...'And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.' ... Christians forget that days started differently back then. A new day started at evening time the previous day, as God said at creation, 'the evening and the morning are the first day.' A day started with evening. Notice above that they were upon the first day of the week, and it was DARK. This was (as we know it) Saturday evening! And when did Paul finish preaching to go on his journey? ... Acts 20:11 ...'When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.' ... So Paul finished and departed at dawn Sunday morning. So, they met on Saturday evening to break bread and then Paul travelled during Sunday! The whole reason for meeting together with the disciples at this time, was because Paul was going on a journey the next day.

Also, some Christians think that this meeting above was a communion meeting, thus making it the new Sabbath day, because it says that they broke bread. Well, how often did they do this? Acts 2:46 ...'And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.' ... It was a daily thing, that they came together to eat. Look at how Matthew describes Jesus preparing the loaves and fish ... Matthew 15:36 ...'And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.' ... He 'broke' the bread, yet this wasn't communion. The bread was broken to share among those that were there. Do you see what this could mean in Acts 20? That they simply came together to break (share) bread (food) with one another, and the fact that they did it DAILY, proves that we cannot claim the first day as the new sabbath just because they broke bread on that day. They did it EVERY DAY!

See HERE for more information on the Sabbath day in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 16:2 ...'Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.' ... Paul here is basically asking the Corinthian Christians to lay aside what they can give to the other Christians who are in need. Notice Paul doesn't ask them to do it on the Sabbath day, he asks them to do it on the first day. He's asking them to lay aside money, or food or whatever they can give at home, so that he doesn't have to go around gathering when he comes. In no way can we assign Sunday worship to this verse. And don't forget, this letter would have been read out on the Sabbath Day (7th day) asking the church to lay aside provisions at their own homes the next day (1st day).

The above verses show us that there is no evidence that the disciples changed the Sabbath Day to the first day of the week, in honor of Jesus' resurrection. Firstly, Jesus died on Friday and yet this very important act of sacrifice for our sins wasn't celebrated each week. So why would the resurrection be celebrated each week? Secondly, we DO have something that WAS instituted to be a symbol of Jesus' death AND resurrection. The bread and wine; and Baptism!! Jesus did not institute any command saying that the DAY of His resurrection should be honored. BUT, He DID institute a command before His death, for us to honor and remember the ACT of His sacrifice with the bread and wine. Jesus also instituted baptism as a special ceremony to symbolize His death, burial, and resurrection.

Romans 6:3-5 ...'Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.' ... You see, Sunday wasn't instituted anywhere in God's Word to commemorate the resurrection. So what was? BAPTISM! So it is with the communion and baptism that we honor what Jesus did.

So we have only 3 occasions when the first day of the week is mentioned in the New Testament. Christ's resurrection, Paul preaching to the disciples before he left on a journey, and when Paul asked the Christians to lay aside money or food before he returned. That's it!! 3 times!! And yet the seventh Day Sabbath is mentioned on more than 15 occasions!! So how can we get from that, that the Sabbath day has been changed from the 7th day to the 1st?? It's not possible! Are you getting the significance of this? This is amazing Bible truth friend, and we need to start walking in the truth, rather than following the tradition of man.

Click Did Jesus abolish the Sabbath to continue with this study.