How was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week?


By BibleAsk Team

The Sabbath in the Bible

Jesus, all the prophets and the disciples kept the seventh day Sabbath. The apostle Paul, who addressed lesser issues of Jewish and Gentile conflicts like circumcision, foods offered to idols, and other Jewish customs had nothing to say about the major issue of changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

So, if the change did not take place in the Scriptures, when and how did it take place? Paul had prophesied that a falling away from the truth would occur after his death (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). And that’s exactly what happened. There were efforts to unite Christianity with Paganism and at the same time an anti-Jewish sentiment spread in that part of the world.

Constantine Enacted Sunday Observance

At the time of Constantine the emperor of Rome in the early fourth century, there was a division in the church. So, to unify the church, the Emperor accepted Christianity as a religion. Sun-worship became the official religion of the Roman Empire. And Sunday was the official worship day, “The Venerable Day of the Sun.” And to make it easier for the people to convert to the new religion, Constantine adopted Sunday observance, instead of the seventh day Sabbath of the Bible (Exodus 20:8-11).

“The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday.”

Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. XXIII, p. 654

The Catholic Church Admits to Changing the Sabbath

“After Constantine made the legal decree about the change of the Sabbath, the Catholic Church confirmed his act in one church council after another. “The church after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath or seventh-day of the week to the first, made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s day.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 153.

“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 Catholic Mirror of September 23, 1894.

The Catechism

“Question: Which is the Sabbath day?

Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” 

The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Reverend Peter Giermann.

“Question: Have you any other way of proving that 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 first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day; a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.” 

Reverend Steven Keenan’s Doctrinal Catechism.

Quotes From Catholic Literature

“If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing Saturday with the Jew. Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Catholic Church?” 

Cardinal Gibbons’ book, The Question Box, p.179.

“Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. From the beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” 

Catholic Press newspaper in Sidney, Australia.

“But since Saturday, not Sunday, is specified in the Bible, isn’t it curious that non-Catholics who profess to take their religion directly from the Bible and not from the Church, observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Yes, of course, it is inconsistency but this change was made about fifteen centuries before Protestantism was born, and by that time the custom was universally observed. They have continued the custom even though it rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon an explicit text from the Bible. That observance remains as a reminder of the Mother Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away like a boy running away from home but still carrying in his pocket a picture of his mother or a lock of her hair.” 

The Faith of Millions, p. 473.

Thus, Catholicism takes full responsibility for the change of the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week.

For more on the Sabbath, please check (Lessons 91-102) of our Bible Lessons.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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