What Is the True Sabbath?

In the Old Testament, the seventh-day Sabbath was primarily a sign of God’s covenant with Israel (see Exodus 20:8; 31:13-17; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Prophetically speaking, it was also a type of Jesus, the coming Messiah and what He would accomplish in His redemptive work (Colossians 2:14-17, Hebrews 4:1-11). In that sense, our relationship with Him is a Sabbath rest that never ends!

That being said, God designed the human body for a cyclical lifestyle in which we work for six days, then rest on the seventh (medical science confirms this). To this end, the Sabbath principle lives on in the New Testament in the form of the “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). Although the point is not in legalistic observance of any particular day (Romans 14:5-6), key biblical passages do indicate that the early church kept the first day of the week, which we know as Sunday (Acts 20:6-12; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). This commermorates the Resurrection of Jesus, which occured on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1-7; Mark 16:1-9; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-16).

The conspiracy theories claiming that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by Emperor Constantine, the Pope or some other culprit are simply not historically accurate. The ten volume Ante-Nicene Fathers collection contains the writing of church fathers leading up to the time of Constantine. Several of them, including such luminaries as Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Ignatius of Antioch (who was actually alive at the time of the Apostles) all verify that the early Christians did assemble for worship on the first day of the week.

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