Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? And when?

Hello T,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

The following are quotes from Catholic literature that will address your question:

“Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Jesus or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given at creation then to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is, the Seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today, all Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman] church outside the Bible.” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947

“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 sanctified.” James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp.72,73

“If protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day, that is Saturday. In keeping Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church.” Albert Smith, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the cardinal in a letter of Feb. 10, 1920.

“Have you not any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?”
“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 3rd ed. p. 174.

How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?
“By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.” Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine (1833 approbation), p.58 (Same statement in Manual of Christian Doctrine, ed. by Daniel Ferris [1916 ed.], p.67).

The Catholic Church,… by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

“Is Saturday the 7th day according to the Bible and the 10 Commandments?”
“I answer yes.”
“Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the 7th day, Saturday, for Sunday, the 1st day?”
“I answer yes.”
“Did Christ change the day?”
“I answer no!” Faithfully yours, “J. Cardinal Gibbons” Gibbons’ autograph letter.

“Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has explicitly substituted Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days.” A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies,1936, John Laux.

Which is the Sabbath day?
Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”
Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1946 ed.), p.50. Geiermann received the “apostolic blessing” of Pope Pius X on his labors, January 25, 1910.

“The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.” – The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14, 1942, page 4.

“The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church.” Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today (1868), p. 213.

Exodus 20: 8-11,
“(8) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (9) Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: (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: (11) For in six days the Lord made the 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.“

Colossians 2:8 warns us to:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

What power has claimed authority to change God’s law?
The Papacy in Rome.
“The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even Divine Laws…The Pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth.” Translated from Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca (Ready Library), “Papa”, art. 2.

What part of the law of God has the papacy thought to change?
The Fourth Commandment.
“Catholics allege the change of the Sabbath into the Lord’s day, contrary, as it seemeth, to the Decalogue; and they have no example more in their mouth than the change of the Sabbath. They will needs have to be very great, because it hath dispensed with a precept of the Decalogue.” The Augsburg Confession (Lutheran), part 2, art. 7, in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (Harper), vol. 3, p. 64.

“It [the Roman Catholic Church] reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God’s word and instituting Sunday as a holiday.” N. Summerbell, History of the Christian Church (1873), p. 415.

Does the papacy acknowledge changing the Sabbath?
It does.
The Catechismus Romanus was commanded by the Council of Trent and published by the Vatican Press, by order of Pope Pius V, in 1566. This catechism for priests says: “It pleased the church of God, that the religious celebration of the Sabbath day should be transferred to ‘the Lord’s day. Sunday.'” Catechism of the Council of Trent (Donovan’s translation, 1867), part 3, chap. 4, p. 345. The same in slightly different wording, is in the McHugh and Callan translation (1937 ed.), p. 402.

Do Catholic authorities acknowledge that there is no command in the bible for sanctification of Sunday?
They do.
“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.” James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72,73.

How did Sunday observance originate?
As a voluntary celebration of the Resurrection, a custom without pretense of Divine authority.

Matthew 28:1 KJV States clearly that Christ Rose on the Sabbath Saturday!! 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 sepulcher. Mat 28:6 He is not here: for he is RISEN, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Who first enjoined Sunday keeping by law?
Constantine the Great.
“The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty 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 (venerabili die solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., art. “Sunday.”

By what church council was the observance of the seventh day forbidden and Sunday observance enjoined?
The Council of Laodicea, in Asia Minor, fourth century.

What kind of worship does the Savior call that which is not according to God’s commandments?
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Disclaimer:

The contents of this article and website are not intended to be against any individual. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their knowledge and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system which has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. This system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that directly go against the Bible.
It is our purpose to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, to decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find anything here contrary to the Bible, do not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality and feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing Truth to you, please make all haste to accept it.

 

 

Sign Up for Our Updates

Get notified of our latest updates. Don't worry, they're occasional :)

You May Also Like