(Bible Texts Related to God's Day of Worship )
Rather than just making a statement as to what is true, let's look at what the Bible itself says.
As you study this topic, ask yourself these questions:
Did God make a specific day special? Why?
What's the difference between "The Lord's Day" and "The Sabbath"?
What day is the "Lord's Day"?
Who was the "Sabbath" created for? (Was it only for the Jews, or for all people?)
What did Jesus do on the Sabbath? (He is our example after all.)
What did His disciples do on the Sabbath after His resurrection?
Can we tell by their habits what day the Disciples believed to be the Sabbath?
Does the Bible show that the Sabbath sacredness was changed from one day to another?
What changes have been made to our current calendar?
The first words searched for is "seventh day". Also, the word "sabbath" is listed below as well because there are numerous times the two words are found in the same passage:
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
16:22 And it came to pass, [that] on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one [man]: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
16:23 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.
16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day [is] a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, [which is] the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
16:27 And it came to pass, [that] there went out [some] of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
The above passage refers to a time before the Children of Israel received the 10 Commandments written by the hand of God at Mt. Sinai, yet they already knew about the Sabbath. (Below is the whole 4th Commandment as found in Exodus 20:8-11. Notice the very first word, "Remember".)
20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
20:10 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:
20:11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it
23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
31:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.
31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant.
31:17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
35:2 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: ...
5:12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
5:13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
5:14 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
(This ends all the "seventh" day texts.)
The next word searched for is the word "sabbath". (The above texts that included the word "Sabbath" were not repeated below.)
56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
56:2 Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
56:3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dry tree.
56:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
56:5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
58:13 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:
58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].
Note: The following text refers to a time when the saints are in heaven, yet it appears that there is still a special, sacred day when the saints will come before the Lord.
66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
66:23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
17:21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring [it] in by the gates of Jerusalem;
17:22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
17:23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.
17:24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;
17:25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.
17:26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.
17:27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
Jesus should be our example and there are many examples of Him observing the Sabbath in the Gospels. Only a few are included here, otherwise this list would be very, very long.
12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
12:2 But when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple.
12:7 But if ye had known what [this] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
12:9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had [his] hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out?
12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
12:13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
In the following text, Jesus is telling His disciples that they should ask that their flight should not fall on the "sabbath day".
24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Note: The following text is included only because it shows exactly which day is which because it speaks of both the Sabbath and the first day of the week. This text shows that the Bible does not call the "first day" of the week the Sabbath.
28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up [herself].
13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called [her to him], and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
13:13 And he laid [his] hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
13:15 The Lord then answered him, and said, [Thou] hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or [his] ass from the stall, and lead [him] away to watering?
13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry [thy] bed.
5:11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
The following texts are included here because they help us to see what the followers of Jesus did after the Resurrection. It is important for us to know this because if the Sabbath was changed it should be apparent in their actions and habits.
13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.
13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, [Ye] men [and] brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
13:16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with [his] hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
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.
13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
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].
17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
In the following text it can be seen that Paul did not want the followers of Jesus to be ashamed of keeping the Sabbath. Some people believe that this verse actually allows a person to choose which day to worship on, yet Jesus says, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9 Unless you want your worship to be "in vain", you must know what the Bible says.
Find out who made the Sabbath and which day of the week it is. Then do not be ashamed to keep God's Sabbath holy.
Many people have said that it doesn't really matter which day you keep as long as you keep one, but if this is true then it would not have mattered which tree Eve ate from in the Garden of Eden. She could have just chosen another tree to refrain from eating. God sets the rules, we do not have the right to add to them nor to subtract from them.
2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:
There were days other than the weekly 7th-day Sabbath that were also called "sabbath" days and this verse may be referring to those sabbaths. Yet, if you feel that this one verse indicates that it doesn't matter which day you worship on then why not worship on the day that the Lord set aside as holy rather than on one that man says is holy?
This ends the list of all the "sabbath" texts.
The next search is for the phrase "first day". (This is a search of only the New Testament, because if the Sabbath was changed to honor the Resurrection of Jesus then it will only show up there. Let's see if we can find out if any change was made.)
26:17 Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
16:2 And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
16:9 Now when [Jesus] was risen early the first [day] of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
24:1 Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them.
20:1 The first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
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.
It can be seen that none of the above texts speak of any change being made. In the following text we have the first assembly of any group on the first day of the week, but we can see that it was not to worship but rather because the disciples were afraid of the Jews. Also, keep in mind that our Saturday evening, for the Jews, was the "first day of the week" because a new day began at sundown. In other words, at sundown on Saturday the first day of the week (Sunday) began.
In the following text we do have an assembly which seems to be a worship service because Paul "preached" to them. The interesting thing is that the Jews, the ones writing the New Testament, would have called Sunday night the "second day" rather than the "first day" because it was after sundown. Because their day began at sundown this meeting actually would have taken place on what we call Saturday night, but to them it was the "first day" of the week.
Even if this can be looked at as being on Sunday there still is no record of a change being established and we need to keep in mind that, to the Jews, the "breaking of bread" was a real meal time not a worship time.
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.
20:18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
Note that in the text below, Paul is definitely talking about an offering or "collection for the saints" but it can be seen from this passage that Paul was not there yet. It can also be seen that he was telling the readers/listeners of his letter that he wanted them to "lay by him in store" so that there would "be no gatherings when I come". It does not say anything about a change being made in the day of worship.
Some have said that this shows that they were worshipping on the "first day", but that is not what it says. Paul actually seems to be asking each reader/listener to take an inventory on the first day of the week of what God had blessed them with and set some money aside so that when he got there there would not have to be a "fund-raiser", everyone could just bring what he had already set aside for this offering. Actually, we have already seen in Acts 17:2 that Paul had a "manner", or habit, of preaching on the Sabbath and nothing is said about him having a habit of preaching on Sunday.
16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
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.
1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
This ends the list of all the "first day" texts.
The next search is for the words "Lord's day". (There was only one hit.)
1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
In the text above it is obvious that there is a day that the Lord calls his own. The question is, "Is this the first day of the week or is it the seventh day?" We must let the Bible give us the answer if we want the truth.
Something Jesus said about Himself in Luke 6:5 gives us the answer. "And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath". This verse tells us that He, Jesus, is the Lord of the Sabbath. Remember, to Jesus the Sabbath was the seventh day of the week. So what day is the "Lord's day"?
It is seen in all of the above texts that there is only one day that God made special, holy and sacred. The 7th day of the week, Saturday. If there was to be a change Jesus would have made it very obvious. (Remember that Jesus rose from the dead on the 1st day of the week, which is Sunday. Sunday is not the 7th day of the week even though some calendars show it that way.) There is no record in the Bible of Jesus, nor any of His Apostles, transferring the sacredness from the seventh-day Sabbath to any other day.
Many people today have been taught that the 7th-day Sabbath was only for the Jews. Does this mean then that the 3rd commandment (forbidding blasphemy) was only for the Jews also? Or does this mean that it is OK for us to kill or steal because the Commandments were only for the Jews? Of course not! God expects ALL of us to honor Him by obedience to all of His Commandments, not just the ones we think are good.
Someone maybe asking, "But wasn't the calendar changed so that now we do not know exactly which day is the original 7th-day of the week?" The answer is, "Yes, the calendar has been changed." and "No, the days of the week were not changed during any of the calendar changes." One website states, "In order to make the calendar adjustment in 1582, ten days were eliminated from October. Thus 4 October 1582 was followed by 15 October 1582." Remember, no week days were lost. Thursday (October 4, 1582) was followed by Friday (October 15, 1582). In other words that week had all seven days like we currently have: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
The current Gregorian Calendar is a 400 year-old modification (made in 1582) of a 2,000 year-old calendar known as the Julian Calendar. The Julian Calendar was created in 45 BC, over 80 years before Jesus became the Messiah. Because we know that the days of the week have not been lost track of since Jesus was here and because we know that Jesus worshiped on the Bible's 7th-day Sabbath and rose on the first day of the week we can be confident that our Sunday is still the first day of the week and that our Saturday is still the seventh day of the week.
For details on this one major change made to our calendar, you can do a search for "Gregorian Calendar", see Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia or just take a look at the following calendar to see the change.
(Thursday, October 4 was followed by Friday, October 15. The days of the week remained the same.)
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men."