An open tomb

Perhaps the most perplexing question regarding the Christian Sabbath is, On what day of the week should it be observed? The Old Testament clearly designated the seventh day, Saturday, as the Sabbath. Indeed, there are some who argue that the Sabbath is still the seventh day of the week. Others say it does not matter what particular day is observed, so long as we give one day each week especially to God. Others like to use this confusion as proof that there is no obligation to observe any day as a holy day under the New Covenant. But the New Testament provides the basis for the Christian church’s unwavering observance of Sunday as the Lord’s Day for nearly two millennia.

When the Apostle John wrote that he had a vision on “the Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10, he was telling us that it was the Christian church’s day of worship, the first day of the week. It is not simply coincidence that the church came out of the first century uniformly celebrating a day called the “Lord’s Day” as a day for corporate worship, and doing that on the first day of each week. And this is not the only mention within the New Testament that the early disciples worshiped on the first day of the week. When Paul stopped in Troas on his way to Jerusalem, he had to wait until Sunday to see all the church, since that was the day they gathered together for worship (Acts 20:6, 7). Paul knew that this was also the practice in Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:2)—in both cases because he himself had taught them!

But on what grounds could the Apostles introduce such a momentous change? Simply this. God finished the First Creation and then rested on the seventh day. Jesus inaugurated the New Creation with His resurrection and rested from His work of redemption on the first day. This helps us to understand why each of the four gospel writers was careful to point out that Jesus rose and appeared to His disciples on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1, 13, 33-36; John 20:1, 19, 26). It is fitting therefore that the New Covenant people of God observe the first day of the week as their special holy day.

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