This is the sabbath, part 4

Weekly Easter celebration.

* The Catholic Church claims that Sunday celebrations began as a weekly Easter celebration, and that the liturgical rhythm of the year as we know it today, with Advent, Christmas, Fasting, Easter, and so on, took centuries to develop. But the very core, the Sunday celebration as a weekly communion celebration with the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, was there from the beginning. That Jesus rose on the first day of the Jewish week, Sunday, is agreed upon by all the evangelists (Matthew 28; Mark 16 Luke 24 and John 20). It was also the day on which he often appeared to the abandoned disciples (Matthew 28,9; Luke 24,13,36; John 20,19) and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2,1-4; John 20,22) and sends them out on mission (John 20,21; and Acts 1,8 read along with 2,4). Thus, Sunday appeared as a day that Jesus Christ Himself had virtually chosen.

This is actually a small sidestep, but necessary to clarify how unreliable statements from the catholic church really are. That the story can be written this way is probably possible, and as the catholic church itself says, the Sunday celebration began as a weekly Easter celebration. That the catholic church claims this is incredible. In the next sentence, the catholic church contradicts itself as they now claim that it was the resurrection of Jesus that was the very core of Sunday celebration, which is now called, a weekly communion celebration. The raisin in the sausage is nevertheless this argument: This is how Sunday appeared as a day that Jesus Christ himself had practically chosen. That the Catholic Church dares the claim that Jesus himself has elected Sunday as the Sabbath day is at their expense. There is not a single place in the Bible that even alludes to the claim that Sunday has become God’s holy day.

* The Catholic Church also says the following: The very first Christians were Jews. And for a time they kept the Sabbath on Saturday – the seventh and last day of the week.

Take time to think about what the Catholic Church is saying. It readily admits that God has not changed the Sabbath, and willingly admits that it is the Catholic Church that has moved God’s holy Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as a result of their own traditions that arose in the first centuries AD. Furthermore, we can read:

* But instead of remembering the pagan sun worship, the name was reinterpreted: The sun is the greatest light, and was allowed to represent Christ, the light of the world (John 8,12; 9,5; 12,46), the light that reveals God to the Gentiles (Luke 2,32), the true light, that which enlightens every human being (John 1,9). That the sun was hailed as life-giving and as invincible (cf. the mid-winter solstices sun feasts) was also something that easily could be transferred to the Lord Jesus.

It is well and good that the Catholic Church claims that they have reinterpreted the pagan rituals and dressed them in a Christian robe, but there is no doubt that it is the sun god who is honoured. One of the pope’s many titles is precisely the pagan title: Pontifex Maximus. Does anyone think this is just coincidence?

One of the many objections I have received is this: A moment! Here you go a little far. It is not the Sun god who is honoured on this day. It is quite possible that someone honoured the sun god and that someone still does. But to say that those who keep Sunday as a day of rest honour another god is an exaggeration. Those who keep Sunday as a day of rest do so for the God of Judaism or Christianity whether it is wrong or not. Such a claim is both a lie and a conspiracy theory.

My response to this objection is as follows: It is to go too far to call a shovel a shovel. Sunday is and will be the venerable day of the sun, even the papacy says this, and that whether we like it or not. I cannot expect that everyone know about this. Neither did I know that the title Pontifex Maximus * refers to sun worship before I read about it. Pontifex Maximus which symbolically means the highest bridge builder was the title of the highest priest in the sun worship, and this title the pope has to this day, in his capacity as both the bishop of Rome and the pope! This is not a conspiracy theory, but a pure factual information taken from serious encyclopaedias and the Catholic Church’s own pages on the internet and which are available to everyone. That secular forces in most countries around the world want to change the Sabbath has been on the agenda since the days of Emperor Constantine in the early 4th century. Most people who keep Sunday as a day of rest do not know better, and they think it should be so, and they could not care less. Already Daniel prophesied this 2600 years ago. Daniel 7,25 says: And he (the papacy) shall speak [great] words against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High and think to change times (the Sabbath) and laws (the Ten Commandments), and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The question that follows then becomes: Does it really matter for an american if we celebrate July 4 on June 12 instead?

* Pontifex Maximus was the High Priest of the Pontifex College during the Roman Empire. This was the most important office in the religion of ancient Rome and was open only to patricians until 254 BC. when a plebeian first received the title. During the republic the office was to a very high degree of a religious nature, but during Augustus and the imperial period the title became at least as important politically. I 376 AD Bishop / Pope Demasus I of Rome allowed himself to be given the title Pontifex Maximus. In other words, from this date on, the bishops of Rome adorned themselves with the title of the high priest for the occult mysteries of Babylon. A title that the popes later took over. The pope is still the bishop of Rome. The official list of titles of the pope given in the Annuario Pontificio includes supreme pontiff as the fourth title, the first being bishop of Rome. (From Wikipedia.)

The following quotes from the history of the church are in this context thought-provoking.

— The Sunday law of Emperor Constantine was given on March 7, 321 AD: On the venerable day of the sun (venerabili die Solis), the officials and the people of the cities should rest, and the workshops should be closed. But in the countryside, the people who farm are allowed to continue the work, (Codex Jusunianus in Schaff, History of the Christian Church).

— I 364 AD came the first ecclesiastical Sunday law, issued by the council of Laodicea, in which the custom of not working on Saturday was condemned.

— I 538 AD The Council of Orleans issued a stricter Sunday law, which, among other things, also stopped work in agriculture.

— The historian Socrates (400s AD) writes in his work Ecclesiastical History this: Almost all churches in the world celebrate the sacraments on the Sabbath every week, but the Christians in Alexandria and Rome have for some tradition stopped doing this.

— Lucius Ferraris, papa Petrus de Ancharano says: The pope can change divine laws, because he does not have his power in from man, but from God, and he acts in God’s place on earth and has unrestricted power to bind and loose his sheep.

— The Manual of the Catholic Religion states: That the church has instituted Sunday as the day of the Lord instead of the Sabbath and set it as a day especially for worship, is a clear proof of its great power which it solemnly received from Christ.

— Cardinal Gibbons’ answer to I. S. Snyder, whether the change of holiday was a sign or mark of the authority of the church. Of course, the Catholic Church claims that change is its own act. It could not be otherwise, as no one in those days would have dreamed of doing anything in spiritual and religious matters without it. And this act is a mark of the clerical power and of its authority in religious matters, (letter dated October 28, 1895).

Cardinal James Gibbon says in the book The Faith of Our fathers the following: One can read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, without finding a single line, which authorizes the observance of Sunday.

From Doctrinal Catechism we can include this:

Question: Can you in any other way prove that the church has the power to institute feast days by law?

Answer: If it did not have such power, it could not have done what all the professors of modern religion agree with it: it could not have introduced Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no authority in scripture.

In The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1977 edition) we find this:

Question: What day is the Sabbath?

Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath.

Question: Why do we keep Sunday holy instead of Saturday?

Answer: We keep Sunday holy instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church has transferred the holy day of Saturday to Sunday.

— The Roman Catholic theologian John A. O’Brian says in The Faith of Millions the following: Since it is Saturday and not Sunday, which is mentioned in the Bible, it is not strange that people who are not Catholics, and who say they have not received their religion from the church, but directly from the Bible, keep Sunday instead of Saturday? Of course, it is inconsistent. Sunday observance is a reminder of the mother church, from which the non-Catholic sects have distinguished themselves.

We keep Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church has transferred Saturday’s holiness to Sunday. Pieter Geiermann, CSSR: A Doctrinal Catechism, 1957 edition, p. 50.

Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its demand for observance can only be defended on Catholic terms. The Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 1900.

It is best to remind Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians that the Bible does not give them any support in their Sunday observance. Sunday is an institution that comes from the Roman Catholic Church, and those who keep this day hold a commandment that belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. Father Brandy in a speech, reproduced in the Elizabeth, N.J. News, March 18, 1903.

Common sense requires that one accept one or the other of these alternatives: Either Protestantism and the observance of Saturday, or Catholicism and the observance of Sunday. A compromise is impossible. The Catholic Mirror, Dec. 23. 1893

And where in Scripture are we told at all that we are to keep the first day? We are commanded to keep the seventh day, but nowhere are we commanded to keep the first day. Isaac Williams, Anglican: Plain Sermons on the Catechism, pp. 334,336.

It is true that there is no specific order for infant baptism. Nor is there such an order to keep the first day of the week holy. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But from his own words we see that he did not come up with such a thing in mind. Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath are based on pure assumption. Amos Binney, Methodist: Theological Compendium, pp. 180-181.

— It was, and still is, a commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy, but this Sabbath is not Sunday. It can be easily said, however, and with a certain overtone of triumph, that the Sabbath, with all its duties, privileges, and sanctions, was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. When I sincerely wanted to get information on this subject I have studied for many years, I ask: Where can one find such a transfer written down? Not in the New Testament, certainly not. There is no biblical evidence that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. E.T. Hiscox, Baptist and author of the Baptist Handbook.

When it comes to the commandments, there are many imaginative explanations. Some even go so far as to say that the fourth commandment, which deals with the Sabbath, applies to the Jews. But, if this fourth commandment should apply only to the Jews and not to the Christians, then why should the other nine commandments apply to both Jews and Christians? It is strange, yes very strange, if all the ten commandments were to apply to the Jews while only nine of the same commandments were to apply to the Christians. This is completely out of the question, and I call such statements cross-out-that-does-not-fit-theology. Those who believe that the fourth commandment no longer applies, or only applies to the Jews, are doing an extensive form of Bible shopping, where you put in the shopping cart what you want. This is a form of populism that does not belong among sincere Christians. That we can be led astray is obvious, but when one refuses to accept help, one must blame oneself. The question of whether one should relate to God’s word as it is written in the Bible is to compare with the choice one has when standing in front of an icy water in early winter or late winter. To illustrate this I will tell a little story.

You are out for a walk one winter day and come to an icy lake. You have been walking around for a few hours and want to take a shortcut to get home a little earlier. Walking around the lake will take an hour, while you can cross the water where it is narrowest in five minutes. As you are about to cross the water, a man, a guard, tells you that the ice is unsafe. What will you then do? Do you take the chance to cross the ice anyway despite being warned, or do you choose the safe path that you know will bring you home safely?

So what does this have to do with the Sabbath commandment, one can easily ask. I will explain that. As Christians, we are on a journey, and the path we take leads us home to God. Now, unfortunately, our enemy has set many traps and snares for us in the form of other paths on this path, and it is easy to choose the wrong path. These traps and snares we can call frozen lakes where the ice is unsafe. It can of course go well if we try to cross a lake with unsafe ice, but the probability that it will go wrong is very much present. Now it happens that there is a guard at every trap, or every lake where the ice is unsafe, and this guard is the word of God, the Bible. One of these lakes is called Thou shalt have no other gods before me. We ask the guard if is all wright to love our money higher than God, in other words; whether the ice is safe. The guard explains this to us and says that If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good, (Joshua 24,20). In other words, the guard says that if we go out on this thin ice, the accident will hit us no matter what we have done earlier in our lives. It will be the same with the lake called the Fourth Commandment. Do we ask the guard if we can cross the ice on this lake, or put it this way; if we can keep another day than the seventh day of the week – Saturday – as a holy Sabbath day, then he will answer that we cannot do that without jeopardies our lives, saying: Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people, Exodus 31,14.

What shall we choose? Do we choose the shortcuts even if they are unlikely to lead us home to God, or will choose keeping God’s word as it is in the Bible?

Because I take this attitude toward God and God’s ten commandments, I am accused of judging those who do not do as I do. To that I must say that I do not judge any people whether they keep Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday as their Sabbath. Each individual must be allowed to do as they please. However, the Bible is clear on what day is the Lord’s Sabbath. Furthermore, the Bible is clear about what awaits of blessings for those who choose to follow the word of God, and it is also very clear about what awaits those who do not keep the Lord’s Sabbath but choose another day. It is not to judge when someone is telling the truth. God himself has chosen the seventh day of the week as his day of rest, and this seventh day the Lord blessed and sanctified. No other day has been the subject of this. God says:

And [even] to [your] old age I [am] he; and [even] to hoar hairs will I carry [you]: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver [you]. Isaiah 46,4

For I [am] the LORD, I change not Malachi 3,6

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Hebrew 13,8

But the word of the Lord endureth forever … … 1 Peter 1,25

One last objection:

It is possible that throughout history there have been groups that have claimed the necessity of celebrating the Sabbath, Saturday, as the right day. But what does that prove? Nothing! The other way, from the time of the apostles, it has been a tradition to gather on Jesus’ day of resurrection, the first day of the week! In the letters of Paul, especially in Romans, Galatians and Colossians, everyone can see that the gospel was completely free from keeping the Sabbath holy! But some Jewish Christians agitated for the Sabbath, circumcision, and the eating regulations of the Law of Moses, which Paul deals with in Colossians 2,16-23. But most of those who call themselves Christians keep Sunday, the first day of the week, as a Sabbath day. It is only a small minority who keep Saturday. Does not this matter at all?

My answer to this objection. The passage in Colossians 2,16-23 is called Regulations and rituals condemned. To use this scripture to explain that God’s Sabbath commandment is no longer valid is to go a little too far. In Jesus’ day, there were still pagan customs that originated in Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. When the Romans took over the hegemony, the pagan festivals did not disappear, they were rather worshiped to an even greater extent and apostasy also spread among the Christians in Paul’s day, something we see that they still do in our days.

When it is emphasized that it has been a tradition from the time of the apostles to gather on Jesus’ resurrection day, I am stunned. When this is claimed, something is read into the text that is not there, and which is nothing but an assumption. It is true that the first day of the week is referred to in eight verses in the New Testament, of which six of these verses are about the resurrection of Jesus, while only two of them can with some benevolence be associated with a worship service. Is it not better then to emphasize that the Sabbath was instituted by God already at creation and has been kept by men since then? The Jewish people lost sight of the Sabbath during their stay in Egypt, but this day was restored by the Lord as soon as they came out into the wilderness. So important was the Sabbath at that time that God did not wait until they came to the Promised Land to restore the sabbath but did so at the first opportunity.

After reading the Bible, and immersing myself in some of the topics there, I have been convinced, not by people, but by the word of God that it is Saturday, the seventh day of the week, which is the Sabbath of the Lord. According to the Bible, it is an eternal feast (Exodus 31,17), instituted by the Lord, and the Sabbath was the first thing the Lord blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2,3). It is a sign of God’s covenant with mankind (Exodus 31,13). That others look at it differently, each individual can do as they please. I choose to see it from what the Bible teaches, others choose to see it from what other men says. Just remember what Daniel said 2600 years ago:

And he shall speak [great] words against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High and think to change times and laws … … Daniel 7,25. There is general agreement on what this means, and most denominations have a common understanding of this verse.

The 4th commandment, the Sabbath commandment, is God’s mark of authority, or sign, and is the only one of the commandments that identifies the legislator, gives his name and domain. Exodus 20,8-11. The Bible also calls the observance of the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, a sign or mark of loyalty to God, Exodus 31,13; Ezekiel 20,12.

As for God’s commandments and God’s law, these are not the subject of a referendum. It probably does not matter how many people think something, as long as this goes against what God himself says.

An illustration: I have a coin in one hand, and ask ten people to guess which hand the coin is in. Nine of them answer the left hand while the tenth answers that it is in the right hand. I have it in the right hand. Who is right? Is the majority right because they are in a large majority, or is it the one who is right, even though he is the only one who chose the right hand? For us Christians, we do believe that God, our Creator, is the true God?

The questions are and will be: How important is this day to you? How important is it for you to keep God’s commandments as they came from His hand?

I will end with a: For thus saith the Lord … …

… … unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, 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: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. Isaiah 56,4-7