Is Sunday the Sabbath?

Q. I have a question about the “Christian Sabbath.” Is Sunday the “Christian Sabbath?”

The Law Given by Moses, known as The Ten Commandments were a central part of the law of Moses (Deut. 5:1-21). The law, including the Ten Commandments, governed every aspect of Hebrew life: religious, social, cultural, political and judicial.

If you pay careful attention to this passage you can see that the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments were given to the Hebrews, and the Hebrews alone, it was never intended as a law to govern Gentile nations.

Deut. 5:1-3
5:1 ¶ Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully.
2 “The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.
3 “The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.

The New Testament makes it clear that we who are Christians are subjects of Christ. He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).

Matt. 28:18
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

He is head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22).

Eph. 1:22
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

He gave us a new covenant that is superior in every way to the old covenant of Moses (Heb.8: 6-9).

Hebrews 8:6-9
6 ¶ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
8 For finding fault with them, He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;
9 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.

Today, followers of Christ are expected to obey him (Heb. 5:9).

Heb. 5:8-9
8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

An illustration of this is found in the New Testament account on the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Jesus. Moses was the great lawgiver of Judaism; Elijah was the greatest of her prophets. Peter would have built tabernacles, or houses of worship dedicated to Christ, Moses and Elijah. But God spoke from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matt. 17:1-5).

When Jesus died on the cross the Law of Moses including the Ten Commandments were canceled.

Colossians 2:13 – 17
13 ¶ When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with christian sabbath, Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
16 ¶ Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–
17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

The Law of Moses was a “mere shadow” of the Covenant of the New Testament. You will notice that no one can judge the Christian regarding the Sabbath because it, along with all the other regulations of the Law of Moses, was blotted out by Christ's death.

That explains why Christ gave us a new day of worship. He was raised on the first day (Sunday) of the week (John 20:1) and the church began on Pentecost which always came of the first day (Acts 2:1-5, 47; Lev. 23:15-21). The early disciples gathered to partake of the Lord’s Supper on the first day (Acts 20:7) and on that day they gave to support the work of the church. (I Cor. 16:1-2).

It is interesting to note that all of the precepts of the Ten Commandments are found incorporated in the teachings of Christ EXCEPT for the Sabbath command. It is nowhere found in the New Testament.

On the first day we assemble and worship, that is our obligation. But we are not bound to observe the restrictions of the Sabbath law. Some mistakenly call Sunday the “Christian Sabbath.” This is not biblical terminology and will lead to confusion.

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