Yes very long. And may require a great deal of editing. But too late to do so.
While I may not be fully persuaded in my own mind whether the 4th commandment is in force today for those who are ‘under’ (have entered into) the new covenant; and that I [we] are 'required' to "keep" it as was required under the previous covenant Israel entered into with the LORD God at Mt. Sinai (as ridiculous as that may sound to some).
Yet, I suffer from no doubt whatsoever that the sabbath is no other day of the week than the 7th day. Neither the 2nd day of the week, nor the 3rd day of the week, nor the 4th, nor the 5th, or 6th, nor the 1st day of the week is ever or anywhere in scripture called or referred to as “the sabbath of the Lord” (the day that God rested upon), nor called God’s “holy sabbath (“thy [God’s] holy sabbath)...his “holy day”...”the rest of thy [God’s] holy sabbath”.
As it is written:
“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [exd.20.10; see also: lev.23.3; deu.5.14]
“And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” [exd.16.23; see also: neh.9.14]
“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.” [exd.35.2; see also: neh.10.31; isa.58.13]
Now, there are passages where the first day and the eight day are designated as “holy convocations” at certain times of the year in Israel. Where it is required to rest therein.
But those holy convocations are NOT referring to the seventh (7th) day weekly sabbath, which weekly sabbath’s rest commences after sunset of the sixth day (loosely speaking, our Friday evening).
As for “the Lord’s Day” in Revelations 1:10. While it is commonly held (deeply ingrained in many Westernized religious minds) that this is referring to the first day – or Sunday. Where in the holy scriptures can anyone produce even one passage that definitively (in plain language) declares this to be the case? No where. I know this to be so.
But I am certainly willing to hear anyone out who may think otherwise. You'll just have to be ready and able to "produce your cause" from plain and clear passages. Which naturally excludes attempts to 'spiritualize' less clear (more ambiguous) passages. Reading into passages that speak of the ‘first day’ or ‘eight day’ as ‘holy convocations’ and/or rest (sabbath days) will not do.
No matter how strongly held and ubiquitous this notion is among so very many. Nevertheless, claiming that the first day of the week is “the Lord’s Day” and by implication, the alleged ‘New Testament Christian Sabbath’ must be substantiated. If one cannot definitively prove such claims. Then all such claims rise no higher than a mere opinion or ‘tradition’.
And no matter how ancient a cult may be, it is still a cult. And no cult or alleged ‘Mother Church’ as ancient as it may be, has been granted by God the right or authority to ‘transfer’ “the solemnity” of the true (7th day) Sabbath, “from Saturday to Sunday” despite many (even ancient) claims to the contrary.
So lacking any solid basis in (scriptural) fact, I’ve long since discarded this idea that I was taught regarding the first day. Just as I have had to amputate from my belief system other misconceptions and unsound doctrines I had been taught were ‘biblical’ when I was a young believer (“simple”, “a babe”, “yet carnal”, “unskillful in the word of righteousness”).
I have (somewhere) a book called:
‘From Sabbath to Sunday: A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity’ by Samuele Bacchiocche.
In it S. Bacchiocche lays out a very thorough examination on the subject of the sabbath day and powerful refutations regarding the claims made by Catholic’s and Protestant’s alike that the 1st Day (Sunday; the ‘Day of the Sun’) is ‘now’ the ‘new Christian sabbath’; and/or ‘rest day’; and/or day ‘established in the New Testament’ to assemble and worship together (the alleged fulfillment of the psalmist: “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” – the so-called ‘Lord’s Day’).
Here are a few quotes I found on a website that highlights the fact that the RCC considers ("thinks") itself to possess authority to "change times and laws" [dan.7.25].
Cardinal James Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (Ayers Publishing, 1978): 108:
“But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”
The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957): 50:
Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why Do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.
Chancellor Albert Smith for Cardinal of Baltimore Archdiocese, letter dated February 10, 1920:
“If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath day by God is Saturday. In keeping the Sunday, they are following a law of the Catholic Church.”
Stephen Keenan, Catholic—Doctrinal Catechism 3rd Edition: 174:
“Question: Have you any other way of proving the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the 1st day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the 7th day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”
Our Sunday Visitor (February 5, 1950):
“Practically everything Protestants regard as essential or important they have received from the Catholic Church... The Protestant mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible and observing the Sunday, in keeping Christmas and Easter, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope.”
Louis Gaston Segur, Plain Talk about the Protestantism of To-Day (London: Thomas Richardson and Son, 1874): 213:
“Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is a homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) Church.”
The catholic Mirror (September 23, 1893):
“The Catholic Church, for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday...”
“The Adventists are the only body of Christians with the Bible as their teacher, who can find no warrant in its pages for the change of day from the seventh to the first. Hence their appellation, ‘Seventh-day Adventists."
Catholic Priest T. Enright, CSSR, Kansas City, MO:
“It was the holy Catholic Church that changed the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, the 1st day of the week. And it not only compelled all to keep Sunday, but at the Council of Laodicea, AD 364, anathematized those who kept the Sabbath and urged all persons to labor on the 7th day under penalty of anathema.”
Catholic Priest T. Enright, CSSR, lecture at Hartford, KS, Feb 18, 1884:
“I have repeatedly offered $1000 to any one who can furnish any proof from the Bible that Sunday is the day we are bound to keep...The Bible says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” but the Catholic Church says, “No, keep the first day of the week,” and the whole world bows in obedience.”
Cardinal John Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (London: Basil Montague Pickering, 1878): 373:
“The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons…are all of pagan origin and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.”
Catholic Record (September 1, 1923):
“The [catholic] Church is above the Bible, and this transference of the Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.”
American Catholic Quarterly Review (January 1883):
“Sunday...is purely a creation of the Catholic Church.”
These quotes need to be considered in a serious way as I see it. By those who hold to the notion that their belief regarding "the first day of the week" is the 'new Christian sabbath' or that the meaning of "the Lord's Day" is one that is actually taught in scripture. Neither is taught in scripture.
Now to address the most well-worn section of the New testament cited as proof-positive that the "first day of the week is" a holy day...the day to gather together ('go to Church', as so many refer to it)
Act 20:6 "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days."
Act 20:7 "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."
The "first day of the week” – commencing just after the seventh day has ended at the setting of the sun, as the sun sets below the horizon.
Say, just for ease sake, lets say that the sun sets right at 6:00pm, so that at 6:00:01pm the next day commences and does not finish until 6:00:00pm the following evening.
So the disciples decided to assemble together - as it says - to “break bread”.
Question: Are you prone to assume automatically (having been so taught) that this was a habitual common occurrence, that these believers gathered together “upon” EACH and EVERY “first day of the week out of observance of some command to do so on the first day (as opposed to the seventh day)?
Or could it be - is it possible that they had a particularly special, practical and good reason to gather together on this particular first day?
Well, the text certainly does not elaborate, let alone make any declarative statements that states or even suggests that this was an ongoing regular (habitual) occurrence. It merely states that “the disciples came together to break bread” “upon the first day of the week”. So for me, I have to examine the contextual setting that is laid out here in this narrative account. In order to determine what is and also what is not being communicated in this portion of Luke’s treatise.
One thing it DOES NOT say is this: “As was the custom of the disciples...”, or “As it were their custom, the disciples gathered together…”; or “As it was the custom or tradition of the Apostles…; or “According to the commandment of the Lord and his apostles, upon the first day of the week the disciples gathered together to break bread...”
Apart from being able to actually produce scriptural evidence that leaves no room for doubt, but unequivocally proves and affirms the claims of those who insist that:
(1) the command to “keep” “the seventh day of the week” (Friday night thru Saturday) has been done away with; and
(2) “the first day of the week” (Saturday night thru Sunday...or just the day time period of Sunday) has how been designated by the Lord to be observed as a holy day, God’s ‘new’ holy day, the ‘New Sabbath’ and “the Lord’s Day”.
I have no other reasonable or wise choice than to reject the claims of those that teach ‘Sunday’ is the day the Lord NOW requires to be worshiped on and his people are to gather together on. I have to judge these unsubstantiated claims to be little more than the traditions of men and not that of the Apostles or God - not sound doctrine.
Act 20:8 "And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together."
Makes sense to me. When it gets dark, it is advisable to illuminate whatever areas or room(s) is (are) being employed to meet together in – if being able to see is something of interest or importance to you that is.
This point is of no small consequence: “there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.”
Why? Because they were meeting together during what they knew to be the beginning portion of the first day - the dark portion of the first day - at NIGHT, what we call ‘Saturday night. That’s how all days begin when you begin the days at sunset of each day.
Two things: The Sabbath had ended, and now the 1st day has begun.
In my way of thinking. If I am a Jewish believer and I am gathering together with other believers that are either gentile proselytes to Judaism or gentiles converted to this ‘new’ Jewish sect of Judaism out of some pagan religion. I am pretty sure that I have just finished ‘keeping’ the Sabbath – my rest day. And if I am correct here, I would say that all these other converts to Judaism, and now converted but again, but now to this new sect of Judaism: the Way (or Christianity); that we ONE and ALL were resting and worshiping together earlier during the Sabbath (from sunset of the previous day, up and until sunset of the just moments before perhaps).
But NOW, having a very special visitor – Paul the apostle himself. Who after having visited for seven days with the disciples here in, is now prepared to continue on his journey. So, wouldn’t you want to make the most of his presence and glean as much insights from him as you could? Certainly. So how so?
Simple, you extend your 'gathering together' with Paul, before he has to leave?
This takes you then from the day portion of the 7th day (when you gathered together with Paul and his companions during the Sabbath) and extends it into the next day – the dark portion of what now is the 1st day of the week (not the Sabbath, but the first day of the six day work week).
I see that their actual ‘custom’ was to ‘keep the (7th day) sabbath’ as it definitely was still being observed (and was so for a great many years afterwards). And if there were any special situations ,as was the case here with Paul’s presence. Then they naturally would have extended the assembling of themselves together into the first day (the night portion of course, as it occurred first).
There is no injunction, or command given or alluded to herein to ‘keep holy’ the first (1st) day of the week. But come to this passage with a predetermined presumption of that notion. Well, you can hardly avoid reading into this text what you want it to say (this is so regarding the other alleged ‘proof-text’ passages that adherents to this error routinely “wrest” to fit their deeply ingrained erroneous notions about the first day.
Act 20:9 "And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead."
So, Paul had been preaching already from sunset or thereabouts “unto midnight”. Too much for this young man to take in. So he falls out the window and dies.
Act 20:10 "And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him."
Act 20:12 "And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
But Paul, still endowed with special healing powers, brings Eutychus back to life."
Act 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."
After reviving the young man. Paul pauses his speech to “break bread” (midnight meal), then resumes his discourse and continues to preach “even till the break of day”. I have NEVER attended ANY meeting where this ever occurred.
So to those who are determined in insisting that this portion of scripture is the blueprint as to the DAY and MANNER in which the ‘Church’ is to conduct itself in our gathering together. Then hear and take heed to what this scripture says. But I am not aware of any group that esteems itself to be a ‘biblical Church’ that follows the pattern that is presented in Acts 20:7-14.
If Acts 20:7-14 is the pattern, then why do we not see any so-called ‘biblical Churches’ holding their ‘Church services’ on Saturday night, rather than Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings? And not just from one to three or so hours of a ‘service’ (the typical time frame of 9:30am to 12:45pm). But rather for six to twelve hours of ‘service’ – and that from sunset of the evening before, straight through to sunrise (from say, 6:01pm Saturday -to- around 6:00am Sunday morning)?
You don’t see this because no one is going to do this. Even if they would still insist that Acts 20 is the blueprint the ‘Church’ is to follow.
But not to worry. Acts 20:7-14 is not any alleged blueprint assemblies are to follow. Just as meeting from sunset to sunrise (rather than during the day portion of the day) is not a requirement of the Lord; nor is “breaking bread” at midnight (or close thereof); nor is the use of primitive lamps required; nor buildings that contain upper rooms. Neither is gathering on the first day of the week a requirement, a command, an ordinance or “decrees for to keep” [Acts 16:4].
Act 20:13 "And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot."
Act 20:14 "And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene."
Now notice that Paul after he had preached “until the break of day”, he “departed”.
Apply this to today:
By the time you wake up, cleaned yourself, dressed, ate breakfast gathered your things together, hopped into the car, drove to ‘church’, entered the hall and sat down waiting for the ‘service to start. Paul had already completed a 12 hour marathon of preaching, had left the building before the Sun’s first rays shone on the pathway before him. And after a four or five hour walk, he most likely already reached his destination – on foot – some twelve to fifteen miles away. All before your typical Sunday School has finished.
In that case. Paul was a very bad example to follow as a faithful ‘Sunday Church goer’. Not only has he failed to show up for Church. He’s joined up with his companions for a ‘cruise’.
Whether the 7th day Sabbath is enjoined upon the believer to ‘keep’ under the new covenant or not, I am not fully persuaded. But I know that the 7th day IS THE SABBATH. That it has NOT been obliterated; let alone changed or transferred to the 1st day.
I also know given the absence of any direct, plain and/or clear language in scripture that says otherwise; it is evident that neither the Apostles, nor the Lord himself has given any instructions, commandments, injunctions, or requirements to ‘keep’ the 1st day of the week holy as so many claim they have.
The 1st day of the week is NOT, was NOT ordained by God to ‘gather together’ on it. Neither am I aware of any actual proof that the 1st day of the week is as many emphatically claim: The Lord’s Day. John in the Revelation does not define what he meant by the Lord’s Day, when he said: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet…”
As far as I can tell, the only Day that can even closely be construed to be the Lord’s Day, IS the 7th day Sabbath day: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:” [isa.58.13]
But by the same token, to date, I see nothing forbidding meeting together on the 1st day either.
I see that the early Hebrew ‘Ekklesia’ did not forsake their keeping or resting on the Sabbath as they previously had done as well as their forefather’s had done in times past. And as Acts 20 indicates, who knows, perhaps on special occasions meetings ran long. So, people continued to gather together AFTER the Sabbath had ended and the 1st day began. Makes sense to me.
It is clear that Paul (Apollus and others) as was their custom, met together with others in this or that city on the Sabbath day, in the Synagogues. I do not ascribe to the notion that Paul ONLY did so in his efforts to win some to Christ among the Jews. That he ONLY went to the synagogues on the Sabbath day, to engage with his fellow countrymen and nation (because that was both the place and the time that he would have opportunity to engage with the people of his nation).
That is somewhat I see in all this discussion about seventh day (the sabbath) vs the first day.