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Sunday: LORD's Day or Day of the Sun--continued

Sunday: LORD's Day or Day of the Sun--continued


(For a complete, in-depth discussion of this issue, please see the Elijah’s Cry Study, “Holy Days or Holidays, Part X: The LORD’s Day”, at the Documents and Papers Downloads page.)

Few Biblical topics can spark an argument faster than the Sabbath. Historically, the Biblical Sabbath spans the period from sundown Friday evening until sundown Saturday evening and is observed by traditional Jews, Messianic New Testament Believers, and a variety of sabbath-keeping Christian denominations (e.g., Seventh Day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists, etc.). Mainstream Christianity, on the other hand, discourages seventh day Sabbath observance, believing rather that Christians should observe Sunday in honor of the resurrection of the Savior.

In this brief examination of the Sabbath, we will resist calling on the opinions of competing scholarly ‘experts’ but instead will abide by the watchword of the reformation, “Sola Scriptura” (only the Scriptures) and base our determination on what the Bible says on the issue.

The Sabbath in the Old Testament
There is little dispute regarding Israelite observance of the Sabbath in the Old Testament. But probably few Christians have examined the extent to which Gentiles – at least those turning away from paganism to the Elohim of the Bible – also were told to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. In the Ten Commandments, for example, the Sabbath commandment – the longest of them all and the only one that begins with the word “Remember” – is designated to also apply to those Gentiles sojourning with the Israelites.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of Yahowah your Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, not thy son, not thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days Yahowah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahowah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-12)

[Note: Moses did not only lead Israelites out of Egypt, but also a “mixed multitude” of other people as well. (Exodus 12:37-38)]
To briefly digress, we should also notice from Exodus 20:10 that the Sabbath is not simply the Sabbath of the Jews or any other religious group, but rather “the sabbath of Yahowah” Himself and the Scriptures demonstrate that He holds it in high regard. See for example, Exodus 16:23-25, Exodus 31:14-17, Exodus 35:1-2, Leviticus 23:3, Deuteronomy 5:12-14, Nehemiah 13:17-18, Jeremiah 17:22-25, Ezekiel 22:26, Ezekiel 44:24.

Now back to Gentiles keeping the Sabbath. If we look to the Book of Isaiah, we see that Gentiles desiring to follow the Creator were still to remember and observe His Sabbath some 700 years of years after the Almighty etched His Ten Commandments in stone:
Thus saith Yahowah, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 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. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to Yahowah, speak, saying, Yahowah hath utterly separated me from his people… Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to Yahowah, to serve him, and to love the name of Yahowah, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer… (Isaiah 56:1-8)
We see here a consistency between what the Most High proclaimed to Moses and what the Almighty proclaimed through Isaiah; both Israelites and non-pagan Gentiles were supposed to observe and reverence His Sabbath.

The Sabbath in the New Testament (“What would Messiah do?”)
If we turn to the New Testament, we will find the same consistency regarding the Sabbath that we saw in the Old Testament, namely that all those following the Most High are expected to reverence His Sabbath – from the Messiah to Paul, to Gentile believers, to the “new heavens and new earth.”

Concerning Messiah, most Christians would agree that we should endeavor to follow His example as we live out or lives. We find this spelled out, for example, in the book of 1 John, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). But just what was the Savior’s example concerning how one should approach the Sabbath? Did he “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy,” as the Most High had commanded Moses and reiterated to Isaiah, or did he change things under the New Covenant? This is clearly spelled out in the book of Luke,
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (Luke 4:16)
We see here that, not only was the Messiah remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy, per the command of the Most High, but that it was “his custom” to do so! If we are to “walk even as he walked,” perhaps we should consider adopting His custom as our own. After all, when we ask the question, “What would Yahoshua do” regarding the Sabbath, we have our answer in black and white!

But, one might argue, “Of course Messiah was keeping the Sabbath; he was after all a Jew and that was before the cross.” Does the Sabbath commandment still apply after the cross?

Was the Sabbath Done Away With by the Cross? (“What would Paul do?”)
One does not have to look very far to find post-cross statements about Sabbath observance. As a matter of fact, we can find a definitive statement from the Book of Acts as relates to the life of Shaul (Paul), “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). Perhaps, therefore, we can take Paul’s example of how to approach the Sabbath,
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures. (Acts 17:1-2)
Oops, there goes the Bible agreeing with itself again! We see here that Paul—even AFTER THE CROSS—was still obeying the Creator of the Universe, as did Moses and the Israelites, Old Testament Gentiles, and the Messiah, Himself. Furthermore, the Bible tells us that it was also his custom, just like the Messiah. Given that most pastors most often look to Paul for guidance how to run the modern church, why don’t they follow his example and lead worship on the Biblical Sabbath?

“What Would the Gentile Followers of Paul Do?”
But were New Testament Gentiles keeping the Biblical Sabbath? And as we might expect—given the consistency of the Scriptures—we indeed find clear examples of Gentile believers observing the Sabbath in the New Testament. In the Book of Acts we find a fairly long, but interesting passage from Acts 13:13-44. Breaking the passage down a bit, it will be easier to see what is going on regarding Gentiles and the Sabbath.
Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the law and prophets,… Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear Elohim, give audience… (Acts 13:15-16)
We should probably take a short pause here to note that this action, by Paul and his company, was in total agreement with the fact that it was his “manner” to observe the Sabbath (Acts 17:2). But his reference to those that “fear Elohim” is the focus of our examination. This designation makes it appear, in addition to the “men of Israel,” that he is speaking to two groups. This distinction becomes even clearer 10 verses later as Paul continues his message to:
Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you that fear Elohim. (Acts 13:26)
The term “Elohim fearers” is “gerim” in Hebrew and is a term of art for non-pagan Gentiles who worship the Most High after the manner of Moses (such as those found in Isaiah 56). And indeed, approximately 16 verses later, the Bible clarifies that Paul was doing just that while referring to a group of people present in the synagogue:
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath day. (Acts 13:42)
Note here that, not only were there Elohim-fearing Gentiles present in the synagogue in Antioch on the Sabbath day, but that these Gentiles beseeched Paul to preach the same message the “next sabbath day.” If Paul believed that these Gentiles should be worshipping on Sunday, he could have taken this opportunity to correct them. However, Paul did not do this, but returned the “next sabbath day,” just as they had requested:
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of Elohim. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy… (Acts 13:44)
We see here that, not only did Paul indeed return on the Sabbath “as his manner was,” but these Gentile believers brought all their Gentile friends to the synagogue in Antioch on this particular Sabbath day, provoking the Jews to jealousy. But Antioch was not an isolated example. Acts 18 indicates that this was a regular occurrence between Paul and other believers also in Corinth, “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks (Acts 18:4).

And of course, Acts 17:2 states that Paul repeated this activity “as his manner was” on at least three occasions in the synagogue in Thessalonica. Incidentally, there is another example of an Elohim fearing, Sabbath observing Gentile, Cornelius the centurion.
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared Elohim with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to Elohim always. (Acts 10:1-2)
Not only did Cornelius fear Elohim and pray to Him always, he also “gave much alms to the people.” Was he giving these alms in pagan temples or was he following the Biblical commandments found in Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Deuteronomy 26:12, etc? He was obviously giving them in the synagogue as we see from the following passage:
And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth Elohim, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from Elohim by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. (Acts 10:22)
He was “of good report” among the Jews because he was fellowshipping with them on the Sabbath, just like the other believing Gentiles in the book of Acts.

To say that the New Testament does not emphasize Sabbath observance can only be made if one is taught to ignore the customs of the Messiah, Paul, and Gentile believers. And unfortunately, mainstream preachers coming out of most seminaries, are taught to do just that—to overlook the clear examples we have just examined right from the pages of Scripture.

But What About Resurrection Sunday? (The Long Count To Three…)
But what about Sunday, wasn’t the Savior raised on Sunday morning and didn’t Christians break bread on the first day of the week? These interpretations are emphasized from the pulpit and by hundreds of radio broadcasts weekly. But again, should we not look to Scripture rather than to doctrinal teaching of denominations?

First, was the Savior really raised on Easter Sunday morning after a Friday crucifixion? His own words seem to indicate this is not the case. [Note: Incidentally, the setting of His statement was the Sabbath day and Messiah had earlier been in the grain fields answering charges that he had violated Pharisaic commandments relating to Sabbath worship (Matthew 12:1-3). Per his custom, he later entered a synagogue and taught on proper Sabbath activities (Matthew 12:9-14).]
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:38-40)
We see here that His sign that he was the Messiah included the fact that he was to be “three days and three nights” in the heart of the earth. The issue of this timing is dealt with in greater detail in the study on the Passover week, but some simple math will suffice for now. If Messiah went into the earth on “Good Friday” afternoon and was raised on “Easter Sunday” at sunrise, as is the prevailing teaching, there is no way that he fulfilled his own prophecy of being in the heart of the earth “three days and three nights.” Friday—Saturday—Sunday might be three days, but only two nights are covered by this period, namely Friday night and Saturday night. So, where is the third night? Of course creative interpretations are often used to try to make the mainstream teaching work, but intellectual honesty cannot support this position. Furthermore, John 20:1 states that the women who came to his tomb Sunday morning got there before sunrise, “when it was yet dark,” and the Messiah was already gone. So it would appear that He even violated the “third day” part of the prophecy by departing prior to sunrise. So, did Messiah get it wrong and violate his own prophecy or is the Good Friday to Easter Sunday a flawed teaching used to cause well-meaning Christians to forsake the Sabbath of the Most High?

While the Passover study addresses these issues more completely, the question we need to ask ourselves for now is, “Should such an ‘iffy’ interpretation of resurrection morning events be used to throw out this longest of the Ten Commandments, especially given the fact that our Heavenly Father has placed such importance on it and we see His Son, Paul, and first century Gentile believers continuing to observe it? On judgment day, “My pastor told me so” might not be a real good excuse.

Acts 20:7—“And upon the first day of the week…”
“But, didn’t the believers break bread on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7, thus proving that they gathered on Sunday to worship?”
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. (Acts 20:7)
At first glance, the passage might indicate that they broke bread on the fist day of the week. It says absolutely nothing about hallowing that day or violating the Almighty’s Sabbath. But it gets more complicated and less convincing if we take a slightly closer look at the passage.

First, if we look at the fifth word, “day,” we find it to be italicized in the text, meaning that it is not actually found in the text, but implied by it, in the opinion of the translator. So, the word “day” is not really found in the passage at all. But can it be implied and should the translators have added it?

The Greek of Acts 20:7, “μια των σαββατων” (pronounced “mee’-ah tone sab-baw-tone ”). The word “μια” (Strong’s key number 3391) means “one” or “first”; the word “των” means “of the.” Therefore, the literal meaning of ““μια των σαββατων” is “the one/first of the sabbatons” or the “first of the sabbatons.” And at this point we encounter a curious coincidence. Namely, there just happens to be a Hebrew word that looks and smells almost identical to the Greek “sab-baw-tone” we just examined—the Hebrew word, “שבתון”(pronounced “shab-baw-tone”), which means “Sabbath.” As a matter of fact, it would appear--and make sense in context--that the Greek “σαββατων” is simply a transliteration of the Hebrew “שבתון”. The Hebrew word “שבתון” is rendered by Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible as,
שבתון shâbbathôwn, shab-baw-thone’; from 7676 [shabbat] a sabbatism or special holiday:—rest, sabbath.
“The first of the shabbatons.”
If we take a quick look into chapter 23 of the book of Leviticus, we will find a detailed explanation of the feast days of the Most High. Just like the Biblical Sabbath, we see in this chapter that these feast days are not “Feasts of the Jews” but rather “Feasts of Yahowah,”
And Yahowah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahowah, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts… These are the feasts of Yahowah, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons… And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of Yahowah. (Leviticus 23:1-2, 4, 44)
Not only is this fact stressed FOUR times in Leviticus 23, but if we take a slightly closer look at the chapter, we will find that the Hebrew word “שבתון” (shabbaton) is used five times in the chapter to delineate five of the Almighty’s Feast Days or His ‘Appointed Times’,
(1) In Leviticus 23:3, the seventh day Sabbath is a “שבת שבתון ;” (shabbat-shabbaton).
(2) In Leviticus 23:24, the Feast of Trumpets is a “שבתון” (shabbaton).
(3) In Leviticus 23:32, the Day of Atonement is a “שבת שבתון ;” (shabbat-shabbaton).
(4) In Leviticus 23:39, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is a “שבתון” (shabbaton).
(5) In Leviticus 23:40, the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles is a “שבתון” (shabbaton).
Notice that the first “shabbaton” listed (Leviticus 23:3)—literally the “first of the shabbatons”—is the seventh-day Sabbath. Either this is an unbelievable coincidence, or Acts 20:7 is simply relating what goes on in every observant Jewish home today—traceable back over 2000 years in Jewish writings—and in the homes of most Sabbath-keeping Christians today: the brethren simply gathered together to “break bread” and have a fellowship meal following the Sabbath service earlier in the day.

“But, What About The Lord’s Day?”
We often hear reference to Sunday being “the Lord’s day;” but is this Scriptural, and just what is “the Lord’s day?” Of course, mainstream Christianity teaches us that it is Sunday, but there is absolutely no Biblical verse stating this. But if we look to the prophet Isaiah, we find a passage referring to the only day that the Most High unequivocally proclaims to be His day:
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 Yahowah, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in Yahowah… (Isaiah 58:13-14)
We also find no less than 15 instances where the Creator refers to the weekly seventh-day Sabbaths as “my sabbaths,”
Exodus 31:13, Leviticus 19:3, Leviticus 19:30, Leviticus 26:2, Isaiah 56:4, Ezekiel 20:12, Ezekiel 20:13, Ezekiel 20:16, Ezekiel 20:20, Ezekiel 20:21, Ezekiel 20:24, Ezekiel 22:8, Ezekiel 22:26, Ezekiel 23:38, Ezekiel 44:24
And, as has already been pointed out, the Creator declares the Sabbath to be the first of His feast days (appointed times) in Leviticus 23:3. With such overwhelming evidence as to the importance of the Almighty’s Sabbath, we should be very slow to follow the mainstream Christian teaching that the seventh-day Sabbath has been abolished. As a matter of fact, we should be so bold as to ask if it will ever be abolished.

The Sabbath Is Everlasting—We Will Observe It In The Kingdom to Come?
We have seen that Sabbath was to be reverenced and observance by both Jews and Elohim-fearing Gentiles in the Old Testament. We have seen in the New Testament that Messiah observed it, and that Paul and believing Gentiles followed His example—after the cross. But even more revealing is that the Sabbath will continue to be important even in the Kingdom to come. Isaiah speaks to this when the Sabbath will continue to be observed after the earth’s judgment—when “the LORD will come with fire” (Isaiah 66:15),
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before saith Yahowah, so shall your seed and your name remain. 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 Yahowah. (Isaiah 66:22-23)
We find that in the Kingdom to come -- after the new heavens and the new earth -- are restored, that ALL flesh will still be observing the Biblical Sabbath. From creation week to re-creation week, the Sabbath of the Most High will still be important and observed.

But What About Colossians 2:16?
But to be really thorough, there is a short Pauline passage, which seems to indicate—at least by the interpretation normally attributed to it—that the Sabbath still might not matter,
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 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: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah. (Colossians 2:14-17)
As the conventional wisdom of many pastors would have us believe, “Paul clearly shows us here that the Old Testament Law was nailed to the cross and we no longer have to worry about the dietary laws, Jewish holidays, or keeping new moons or the Sabbath.” But, given all we have seen thus far, could that really be what Paul meant by these words? Again we must ask if he is really attempting to change “thus saith the LORD” and the teachings of all that went before—to include those of the Messiah and his own example that we have observed from the Scriptures.

For a complete understanding of what Paul meant by the “handwriting of ordinances” and to whom he referred by the terms “principalities and powers,” please refer to “Holy Days or Holidays, Part X: The LORD’s Day.” In a nutshell, Paul is not referring to the commandments of the Most High in this teaching. Unlike most Christian expositors, if we read Paul’s statement in context by reading from Colossians 2:1-22, we find that he is conflict he is dealing with, and his ultimate proclamation pertains only to the “the commandments and doctrines of men;” he is NOT trying to change the commandments of the Most High!
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (Colossians 2:20-22)
When mainstream Christian pastors teach otherwise, they are twisting Paul’s writings per the warning given in 2 Peter 3:15-17.

But What About Acts 15:19?
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Elohim: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)
Again, when taken alone and out of context, many Christian pastors would have us believe that James is telling the Gentiles that they do not have to pay any attention to “thus saith the Yahowah” regarding His Commandments. Let us again probe a bit and consider thing in context.

For an in-depth discussion of the Jerusalem council, please see the Elijah’s Cry study entitled, “The Law and the New Testament Believer.” For now, it will suffice to say that the controversy was initiated by a Pharisee (Acts 15:5) and deals not merely with circumcision, but whether Gentiles must submit to rabbinic authority--signified by the events leading up to a particular circumcision ritual. No, your pastor is not familiar with Pharisaic interpretation/teachings on the Law of the Most High, so encourage him to study the issue before teaching you on the subject. But let us concentrate on James’ final proclamation.
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Elohim: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For [“gar” in Greek meaning “because”] Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)
First, the focus of the discussion is not Jewish Believers, but rather Gentile Believers who are only turning to the Almighty and therefore ‘spiritual babes’. That is why James stresses the need not to make this transition difficult for them. If the focus was the sensitivities of Jewish Believers, then the sentence should have begun by reflecting those difficulties rather than those of the Gentile Believers. The Jewish Believers, who grew up in the Torah, and under Pharisaic influence, would have no transition to worry about.

Second, the question was not whether or not the Gentiles should observe the Law, but whether or not they should observe it per Pharisaic tradition and take upon themselves the Pharisaic ‘yoke’ (verse 10). Let us back up and capture the context of the debate, so that we truly understand the meaning of Peter’s argument (verses 7-11), which won the day at the council. And notice once again that the catalyst for this debate is the Pharisees—only this time these Pharisees are believers in Messiah Yahoshua!

Could it be any clearer? The debate focused on whether or not the Gentiles had to be immediately circumcised and follow the Law per the Pharisaic interpretation and traditions (‘the yoke’) in order to be part of the congregation! After more discussion, James made his statement.
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Elohim: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)
James mandated that the new Gentile believers would have to turn away from paganism by renouncing immediately four pagan customs relating to idol worship: (1) pre-sacrifice consorting with temple prostitutes, (2) strangling of the sacrificial animal, (3) consumption of the animal’s blood, and finally (4) sacrifice of the animal. They were not expected to take on the Pharisaic ‘yoke’ with respect to observance of the Law, but tied his proclamation to the reason, “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.”

The very clear context of these statements was that the Gentiles were to start with the basic four and then, as they heard Moses preached in the synagogues every Sabbath day (just as we have already seen in the book of Acts), they would come to internalize the rest of the written commandments. They could then observe the law as Caleb, Ruth, and Cornelius had done, without being overwhelmed—and potentially ‘scared off’ by the hundreds of additional Pharisaic commandments.

This is the same practice used in synagogues and churches today. Once an ‘unsaved’ soul accepts the importance of the Word of the Most High, he is not expected to give up all his sinful ways right on the spot, but rather invited into fellowship, given a few absolutes, and then lovingly taught the finer ways of a Believer’s life as he continues to hear the Word preached every week. Nothing has changed in this approach toward new congregants. In this way, rather than the Torah commandments of the Father being a burden, they would come to want to follow them. That, after all, is what the New Covenant is all about. Paul describes it as follows:
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. (Hebrews 10:16)
So, How Did Sunday Work Its Way Into Christian Worship?
The war against the Sabbath of the Most High has been long and hard. One need only look at many of the Old Testament passages listed in this study to find that the pagan peoples had drawn many Israelites away from the Sabbath of the Most High, with harsh rebukes from prophets such as Ezekiel. Those closely following the Most High -- both Israelites and righteous Gentiles -- did not succumb to these pressures, as we have consistently seen in the Scriptures.

When Emperor Constantine came into the picture in the fourth century, he tried a different tactic. First, he legalized Christianity and then systematically set about to paganize it. During his reign in the fourth century, he adopted the following creed and forced it -- under pain of persecution and death -- upon the Christian Church.
I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms, unleavened breads and sacrifices of lambs of the Hebrews, and of all the other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspirations, purifications, sanctifications and propitiations, and fasts and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and hymns and chants and observances and synagogues and the food and drink of the Hebrews; in one word I renounce absolutely everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom. I accept all prayers, purifications with water, sanctifications by the Pontificus Maximus (Pope), propitiations, and feasts, and the New Sabbath “Sol dei” (day of the sun), all new chants and observances, and all the foods and drinks of the Romans. In other words, I absolutely accept everything Roman, every new law, rite and custom, of Rome, and the new Roman religion. (Acta Sanctorium Martyrum Orientalium at Occidentalium, Vol. 1 Rome 1748, p. 105.)
Perhaps the good Emperor Constantine should have read his Bible a little more and spent a little less time writing creeds and paganizing the Church. Had he done so, he might have noted that most of the customs, rites, unleavened breads, feasts, fasts, new moons, Sabbath, food and drink, etc. of the Hebrews were commanded by the Most High to Moses. These practices were not “Jewish”, but rather the instructions of the Creator concerning how His people should live their lives. The Roman traditions, with which he filled the Roman church, were not from the Most High, but of pagan origin, complete with an abundance of idols (statutes) and pagan holidays. Why do pastors today insist on continuing these pagan practices?

One Final Point — Sunday is Not the Seventh Day
Because, as we have seen consistently throughout the scriptures, “the seventh day is the sabbath of Yahowah your Elohim” (Exodus 20:10), some Christian expositors try to make a case that Sunday is really the seventh day of the week, and therefore the Sabbath. There is absolutely no historical precedent for this belief, as any amount of independent research will show. By all indications, the division of time into the seven-day week seems to have been a tradition developed in the Bible and made it way into the calendar under the influence of the Israelites. The calendar we have today clearly indicates that “Saturday” is the seventh day of the week, and “Sunday” is the first day of the week.

This calendar—known as the “Gregorian” calendar and developed in 1582 by Ugo Boncompagni, after he had became Pope Gregory XIII ten years earlier -- was a modification of Julius Caesar’s 46 B.C.E. “Julian” calendar. For speakers of Spanish -- a “Romance” language derived from the Latin of the Romans, the reality that Saturday is the seventh day, and therefore the Sabbath, is even more evident. The Spanish word for “Saturday” is “Sabado”, which means “Sabbath.”

To remove all doubt as to which day is the seventh-day Sabbath, we can get our final determination by looking to the example of Messiah. Throughout the New Testament, we see that He was observing the Sabbath on the same day that the Scribes, Pharisees, and other Israelites were observing it. In other words, what we have been taught as the “Jewish” Sabbath is the same Sabbath that was observed by our Savior, Paul, and the Believing Gentiles of the New Testament.

When New Testament Believers state that the Bible does not contradict itself, they are quite correct. The Biblical message is constant, no matter what the topic. In those instances where the Most High does make a course correction, He clearly states what He is doing. In those instances where He has not made a course correction, we should not assume one, especially is such an interpretation goes against the plain teaching of Scripture.

The Biblical Sabbath -- the Sabbath of the Most High -- is just one of those Biblical truths that has not changed and the message of which has remained constant since creation week. The Bible shows that the Creator, Himself, hallowed the day and then taught His people to reverence it. In the New Testament, we see that it was our Savior’s custom to reverence His Father’s Sabbath and to go to the Temple or Synagogue to worship Him on that day. We also find that Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, had the same custom as the Messiah. Likewise, the Gentile Believers observed the seventh-day Sabbath as well and that is where Paul most often encountered them. And finally, we found in Isaiah that the Biblical Sabbath will continue to be observed after the “new heavens” and the “new earth” are reestablished by our Father in Heaven.

Why has this consistent truth been lost? It has been lost because Satan hates the Sabbath. Reread the 4th Commandment: it reminds us that Yahowah is the Creator--by Name--and then commands us to commemorate this fact every Sabbath. Christians who have missed these Scriptural realities have done so because they have been taught not to see many of the words they read in the Bible. As the power of evil continues to increase in the world, it is probably time for Believers to study and pray so that they will be in the Almighty’s will as things get worse. We are told in a latter-day prophecy by Jeremiah,
O Yahowah, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jeremiah 16:19)
We are told that the end-time remnant, will “keep the commandments of Elohim, and have the testimony of Yahoshua the Messiah” (Revelation 12:17). Perhaps as we strive to “keep the commandments” we should look to Messiah’s example concerning His Father’s Sabbath. Will you be part of this end-time solution or part of the problem?