Is Sunday the Biblical Sabbath?


By BibleAsk Team

Pope Francis gave a radio address from the Vatican on Wednesday morning August 12.  He expressed how he feels about Sunday keeping and how it has a major role in his agenda for his September presentation in Philadelphia – USA. This radio talk came on the heels of his encyclical that he gave, in June 2015, on saving the planet where he also said that Sunday keeping is a way to preserve our earth.

On his radio speech, he said, “Sunday keeping is so sacred it is the conduit of every grace of Christ. We begin now a series of catechizes on 3 facets of family life: celebration, work and prayer. Let us turn first to Celebration which as we see from the story of creation are the invention of God, who on the seventh day rested from his work. It is God Himself who teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplating and enjoying the fruits of our labor.”

Here is the Bible reference to what the pope was talking about: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2, 3).

It was strange to me that the pope is referring to the seventh day Sabbath but he was not talking about Saturday he was instead talking about Sunday observance.

But which day is the seventh day according to the Bible–Saturday or Sunday?

“And when the sabbath was past…very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre” (Mark 16:1, 2). The Sabbath is not the first day of the week (Sunday), as many believe, but the seventh day (Saturday). Notice from the above Scripture that the Sabbath is the day that comes just before the first day of the week.

In fact, any dictionary will also confirm that Saturday is the seventh day of the week and Sunday is the first day of the week.

So, if God commanded to keep Saturday Holy, why is the pope saying we should keep Sunday Holy?

The reason is because the Catholic Church has changed the observance of the seventh day to the first day of the week a change that has no biblical authority. Notice the following section from a Catholic catechism:

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.” Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism [FRS No. 7.], (3rd American ed., rev.: New York, Edward Dunigan & Bro., 1876), p. 174.

But it is utterly impossible for any of God’s moral laws ever to change. Jesus says: “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17). God says: “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalms 89:34).

Today, Jesus pleads with us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15) not men’s commandments.

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