The 7th Day Sabbath Or Sunday?
Over the years, many people have asked Pastor Matthew Miller if any of his video teachings were available in a written format. Until now, Matthew’s answer has always been “no”, but that has changed. Pastor Matthew and I have been working on a project that eventually will transform many of his teaching videos into a written format. Matthew has chosen “The 7th Day Sabbath Or Sunday?”, a video from his series on You Tube titled “History of the Church” to start with, and here it is…
The 7th Day Sabbath Or Sunday?
In the United States of America, we’ve been taught Church history that’s not true. So today, we’re going to examine true versus revised Church history, including some documents I recently discovered. Our goal is to determine if the 7th Day Sabbath or Sunday, the Church’s primary day of worship, is the Lord’s Day.
In this study we’ll look at Creation week and examine some apostolic traditions from Adam to Yeshua, including those of the Nazarenes, and of those who kept the Odessa Minh. To find out if Scripture supports the Council of Laodicea’s substitution of the 7th Day Sabbath for Sunday, we will dig into Scripture. We’ll examine the Millennium and what I call the Sunday Resurrection Myth. In this teaching, I will expose the false teaching interwoven and connected to Sunday-Sabbath theology, which claims that Yeshua (Jesus) died on a Friday and rose on a Sunday. Then we will look at the Sabbath as the Creator’s seal.
This is a quote from the Catholic Sentinel’s Pastor’s page in St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, dated May 21st, 1995. “Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever made happened in the 1st Century. The holy day– the Sabbath–was changed from Saturday to Sunday, the Day of the Lord, and it was not chosen from any direction noted in the Scriptures but from the Church’s sense of its own power.”
After the Church split over Passover, it continued to split. The next big doctrinal shift changed the 7th Day Sabbath to Sunday. The Church went from Passover to Easter, then from the biblical Sabbath to Sunday. Instituting these changes imbued the Church’s leaders with a sense of false power, false power they still wield to this day. Since the resurrection and Pentecost, they reasoned, happened on Sunday, they thought Sunday should be the Church’s new Sabbath. But let’s read another quote from the Catholic Sentinel, which went on to say this:
“People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority should logically become Seventh Day Sabbath keepers and keep Saturday holy. It’s scriptural. It’s just logic.”
Listen, when I found out that the biblical Sabbath was on Saturday, and I found out how and why it got changed to Sunday, I no longer felt comfortable in Sunday church. The whole foundation was built on lies and false teaching. Now God loves Sunday church people. So, if you go to church on Sunday, I’m not going to beat you up. You just have the wrong day. But once you know the truth, at some point you will have to make a change. There’s a grace period. God gave me a couple of years. It was both Saturday and Sunday for a while. Then He made me chose.
The apostles never changed the Sabbath to Sunday. The Catholics teach that the apostles and their successors transferred the obligations attached to the Sabbath to Sunday. This Saturday to Sunday change happened gradually. It didn’t become universal until the 2nd Century of the Christian era. Thomas Aquinas taught that in the new law Sunday observance succeeded the old law’s Sabbath, not by virtue or divine precept, but from the Church’s authority and Christian customs. Nevertheless, throughout the early centuries many Christians continued to celebrate the Sabbath as well as Sunday.
In vein, Church Bishops tried to suppress the 7th Day Sabbath celebration. Finally, in 364, the Council of Laodicea issued a decree ordering Christians to work on the Sabbath. The 4th Commandments tells us not to work on the 7th day, but Church leaders ordered Christians to work on that day. Today most Christians work on the Sabbath and take Sunday off because they don’t know the history of how this change came about. But God is doing something big among Christians today. He is waking Christians up all over the planet to the fact that Saturday is the Sabbath. This was the catalyst that got me to where I am.
Daniel, chapter seven, says the Antichrist will seek to change times, seasons, and laws. This has already been done in the past, and it will be done again in the future. The Aramaic word for season is mo’ed. It’s the Hebrew equivalent of mo’ed’im. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And in Chapter 2:2 it says, “And on the seventh day God completed His work which He had made. And He rested on the seventh day from all His work….” And verse 3 says, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because He rested from all His work.…”
When we keep the 7th Day Sabbath set apart—holy—by ceasing from our work and gathering for worship, we proclaim that God is the Creator. Keeping the Sabbath denies atheism! Adam kept Sabbath and taught his descendants to do likewise. There was no Sunday worship. People can and should worship God every day, but there is only one holy day. Christian teaching that claims all days are holy defies logic. If every day is holy, then no day is holy. Holy, by definition, means set apart (for God). Every day that God created was declare “good.” But only one day—the 7th Day—was declared holy.
Joseph was a Sabbath keeper, but when he was sold into slavery, he could no longer keep the Sabbath. A few centuries later, after a new Pharaoh who “knew not Joseph” was raised up, he enslaved all of Joseph’s descendants. So, for 230 years, there was no Sabbath keeping. That’s why, when they stood at the base of Mount Sinai, they declared they would “remember” the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (Christians should declare this also, for they, too, have forgotten.) Since Moses, all of Israel up through the Apostolic age kept the 7th Day Sabbath. Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish theologians attest to this fact.
The debate over the Sabbath began during the second century when Gentiles began to debate what Yeshua had taught the Apostles. Catholic theology claims that the Apostles approved of changing the Sabbath to Sunday. But two historians, Ignatius and Clements, both wrote about this dispute. Both maintained that there were many believers who continued to assemble on Saturday to worship the Lord, the most notable being the Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp, who was taught by Yeshua’s disciple, John. These 7th day Sabbath keepers understood that Yeshua was Lord of the Sabbath, so they should keep the Sabbath. They didn’t believe what many Protestant theologians teach, that since Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, He can change it. The reality is this: He’s the Lord of the Sabbath so we keep it!
Everyone knew that Polycarp had been discipled by Yeshua’s disciple, John, and John taught Polycarp that the 7th day of the week was the Sabbath and the 14th day of Nissan was Passover. This was orthodoxy! Protestant theology concerning this church history is a little skewed. Now there are a great number of our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are saved and will be with us in the Millennium, but they have been taught a tradition that was not handed down from the Apostles but from early Church Fathers in Rome who became the Roman Catholic Church. Nevertheless, from the days of Yeshua and the Apostles, all the way up until 364 C.E. —more than 300 years after Yeshua returned to heaven—history records that believers kept the 7th day Sabbath. So when did this belief that Yeshua changed the Sabbath to Sunday after he rose from the dead begin? Yeshua never taught that to John, and John never taught that to Polycarp, and Polycarp never taught that to his disciples. We have documented history to prove it. Even decades after Polycarp, Polycrates continued to teach a 7th day Sabbath.
The Bible states that knowledge would increase in the last days. Now, through the internet, we can access ancient documents that prove Christians were keeping the 7th day Sabbath right up to 365 C.E.
Eyes are being opened and TRUTH exposed. God is calling believers to return to Scripture, Scripture only. This includes the gifts of the Holy Spirit, prophecy, tongues and interpretations, eating clean, dancing and flag waving. We have Pentecostal brothers who run over isles, speaking in tongues, who don’t keep the Feast of Pentecost or even know what it is. And we have Hebrew roots people so wrapped up in Torah they won’t allow God’s Spirit to move in a service. We need both, the Torah and the Spirit!
I’ve been reading a book titled Nazarene Jewish Christianity by Dr. Ray A. Pritz. He notes that in the second century there were two groups of Jewish Christians. One group was the Ebonites, who denied the deity of Yeshua and were in line with Sunday and Easter. But as Dr. Pritz writes in the introduction to his book, “Ebionism was not the direct heir of the Jewish Apostolic Church.” The group known as the Nazarenes were.
The Nazarenes kept the 7th day Sabbath, ate clean, practiced circumcision, and kept Lord YHVH’s Feast Days, and it eventually got them kicked out of the Christian Church. A popular Christian acronym WWJD asks a very important question—what would Jesus do? Well, the answer should be clear. He would do what He did: He kept the 7th day Sabbath!
God created the 7th day Sabbath. He set it apart, keeping it holy. God’s people kept it from Adam to Yeshua. His Covenant people, which included biological descendants and sojourners, all kept the Sabbath on Saturday. And they all kept the Feast Days. The change began in the third century and was legally codified through the decree of a Roman Emperor during the fourth, a decree, I might add, that would not have been necessary if all Christians had been observing the Sabbath on Sunday.
If this were happening today, it would go something like this. A special meeting would be called, and someone would say, “Look, we’re going to make changes around here, and those who want to continue to keep the Sabbath on Saturday can no longer worship with us. You’re kicked out.” And that is just what happened. They kicked 7th day Sabbath keepers out of the Christian church, a fulfillment of Yeshua’s prophecy that after He was gone wolves would come in, and His followers would be killed by those thinking they were doing God a favor.
There are ancient documents which show that as early as 60 to 70 C.E. some people began suggesting the Sabbath be changed to the “Venerable Day of the Sun.” That’s what Sunday was called by those who worshiped the sun. By this time, the number of Gentiles believers had grown exponentially, many of whom had been–and still were–involved in various forms of pagan worship. For them, changing the Sabbath to Sunday was a natural transition. They could continue to worship on the Venerable Day of the Sun by putting a “Jesus” stamp on it. That’s how we got Sunday, and that’s how we got Easter.
But know this! Righteous men of God lived in that generation, and they have lived in every generation since. There has always been a remnant, and there will always be a remnant. That’s why it’s so important that those of us, who know the truth, contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Protestant Christianity is a hybrid religion. It’s a mixture. For the most part Christianity gets the gospel right. People get saved. But the Bible never supported changing the Sabbath to Sunday. It says in Deuteronomy 4:1-2 “And now, Israel, listen to the statutes and to the judgments which I am teaching you to do, so that you may live and go in, and possess the land which Jehovah, the God of your fathers, is giving to you. (2) You shall not add to the Word which I command you, nor take from it…”
God tells us exactly when to worship. It’s found in Leviticus, chapter 23. The problem is that Protestants have unknowingly, for the most part, accepted a doctrine taught by a man named Marcion of Sinope. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Marcion was born in 110 C.E., and was the son of the Bishop of Sinope. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Maricon founded “a heretical sect in Rome” in 144 C.E., which continued in the West for 300 years and even longer in the East, especially outside the Byzantine Empire.
A quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia says this, “They (the Maricon heretical sect) rejected the writings of the Old Testament and taught that Christ was not the Son of the God of the Jews, but the Son of the good God, who was different from the God of the Ancient Covenant…. As they arose in the very infancy of Christianity and adopted from the beginning a strong ecclesiastical organization, parallel to that of the Catholic Church, they were perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known.”
Marcion was the one who coined the terms Old Testament and New Testament, and now we have New Testament only Bibles. Marcion taught that Jesus did away with the Old Testament. That’s why so often when you talk to a friend or relative in Protestant Christianity about the Sabbath or any of God’s laws, they immediately say, “Oh, that’s Old Testament. That’s the Old Covenant. We’re in the New Covenant!” Christians who say these things are professing, without knowing it, an ancient heresy.
It’s said that once, when Polycarp was walking along the road, he passed Marcion, and he didn’t speak. Full of pride and insulted, Marcion asked him, “Do you not know who I am? Why won’t you greet me on the street?” It’s reported that Polycarp replied, “Yes, I know who you are. You’re a son of Satan and a heretic! I don’t want to speak to you.” Marcion then turned and walked away. But today, we have men who have never heard that story, who are teaching Marcion’s heretical theology.
What did Yeshua say in Matthew chapter 5? “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets!” If you haven’t memorized this next part, you should. “I did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill. Truly I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches men to do so will be least in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever does and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, unless your righteous exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
Yeshua makes it clear. God does not allow anyone to change His Commandments. That includes His Sabbath and Feast Days. Yet, there are thousands of Christians who work on Saturday and go to church on Sunday thinking it’s the Sabbath because the Shepherds of God’s people aren’t teaching the whole truth. They aren’t teaching real church history. They’re teaching “revisionist” history.
A man that I know met with his pastor once and questioned him about this history. His pastor answered, “Yes, I know. But I can’t tell it to my people, or I’ll lose half my church.”
That’s the problem, folks! It’s about money. It’s about fame and recognition.
In 325 C.E. the Council of Nicaea in Bithynia, which is in present day Turkey, was the first of seven Ecumenical Church Councils that spanned 400 years. The Bishops came together to deal with many issues including the Arian controversy, which denied the deity of Yeshua. Of the estimated 250-318 attendees, all but two voted that Yeshua was indeed divine. But at that same Council, these men voted to replace the biblical Passover for Easter. Then in 364, at another church council, known as the Council of Laodicea, the biblical 7th day Sabbath was replaced by Sunday. At this Council, they decreed, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing (keeping the biblical Sabbath), they shall be shut out from Christ” (Strand, op. cit., citing Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, 2 [Edinburgh, 1876] 316).
But today, sadly, most Protestant Christians do not know this history. They don’t know what happened at the Council of Laodicea, that these church fathers violated Scripture. From Moses to Yeshua, the 7th day Sabbath was passed on. Then Yeshua taught it to John, John to Polycarp, and Polycarp to Polycrates. It was the Apostolic Tradition.
It takes Holy Spirit boldness to take a stand against this Protestant Sunday theology that violates God’s word. The Lord dealt with me from the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s to get me to leave the Sunday church system. It was hard. Very hard! We had no internet back then, no cell phones. In 2001, the power of the Sunday church system was very manipulative through the twisting of Scripture. Satan’s demons tried their best to keep me and Jessica planted right where we were. Any of you who have gone through this know what I’m talking about. Try to pull away, and you’ll encounter the real force of the Sunday Church System. It’s powerful! Now the Church’s power can be used for good, but it’s not when it’s used it to conceal doctrinal error.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 3, Section 2, Chapter One, Article 3, “The Third Commandment”, it says: Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God, in it you shall not do any work.” But then a little further down the catechism states this: “Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Because it is the first day, the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians Sunday has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day.”
Sadly, if you go to your pastor to discuss the Sabbath, he’ll tell you the same thing: for Christians the Sabbath is Sunday. You must decide for yourself. Do you obey God, obey the Bible, or do you continue to follow manmade Church traditions? Study the early church history of the Quartodeciman Controversy. Watch my video about it. History clearly establishes that the 7th day Sabbath and the Feast Days are not just for Jews. They’re for all who worship Yeshua as Messiah.
Catholic theology teaches that only Catholics are saved. The only saving grace for Protestants is if they keep the Catholic Church’s Sunday Sabbath–not through faith in Jesus Christ. Catholic doctrine teaches that salvation comes only through the Catholic Church and its sacraments. Catholics call Protestants rebellious Catholics.
Here is another quote from Catholic Catechism regarding the Sabbath. “Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath, which it follows chronologically every week. For Christians Sunday’s ceremonial observance replaces the Sabbath.”
I don’t believe for one minute that Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Sabbath, which is eternal rest in God. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Yeshua told us what leaven is. It’s false teaching. And today the church is filled with leaven. Many are blinded by tradition. Others don’t want to know the truth. Christians are caught in cognitive dissonance, which is defined as “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially relating to behavioral decisions and change.”
During the Reformation Catholic leaders would often challenge Protestants, saying things like, “You don’t really believe your motto, Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone). If you did, you would keep Saturday holy, not Sunday.”
Here is another question and answer quoted from Catholic Catechism. “Why does the Church command us to keep Sunday as the Lord’s day?” Answer: “The Church commands us to keep Sunday as the Lord’s day because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. For these reasons the Church changed the Lord’s day from Saturday to Sunday.”
Catholics and Protestants alike call Sunday the Lord’s Day. But listen to what the LORD says.
Isaiah 58:13 “If you turn your foot away from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My Holy Day…” Who’s speaking? The LORD is. He’s calling the Sabbath His Holy Day! So what day is the LORD’s Day? The LORD’s Day is the 7th day Sabbath not Sunday! Amos 3:7 declares, “Surely Sovereign YHVH does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” And there is not even one mention in Scripture about the Sabbath being changed to Sunday.
The Sunday Resurrection Myth
The facts are these: Yeshua was put into the grave on the third day of the week, on a Wednesday just before sunset. He rose three 24-hour-days later, on Saturday, the Sabbath. This Friday death, Sunday resurrection never happened. Yet Catholics and Protestants alike base changing the Sabbath to Sunday on this myth. But what does the Bible Say? “As the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me,” says YHVH, “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, all flesh shall come to worship before me,” says YHVH. (Isaiah 66:22-23)
Then there is this biblical passage taken from Exodus 31: 16-17. Its Hebrew transliteration is: V’Shamroo V’nay Yirael. “The children of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, observing it throughout their generation as an everlasting covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Shabbat to another, ALL flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.
Please understand that during the Millennium—that thousand-year period immediately following Yeshua’s return, when He rules and reigns from Jerusalem on this earth—from one New Moon (the beginning of a new month on our Creator’s calendar) to another, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, Scripture says ALL flesh–not just the Jews–will worship before the LORD.
Every month, here at the Vineyard, we hold a New Moon service. Why? Because it’s biblically commanded. Adam, Moses, Ezekiel, Jerimiah, Haggai, Malachi, Josiah, Jehoshaphat, David, Danie, they all celebrated the New Moon. And if you haven’t been doing it, you will when Yeshua returns. So why not start now?
The bottom line is this, Biblical Christianity celebrates different days than Protestant Christianity. We have New Moons. They have Sunday cookouts. We have Passover. They have Easter. We have Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22). They have Christmas. We have Purim. They have Halloween. We have Sukkot. They have nothing, nothing that compares to Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Bible speaks of what will happen during the millennium to those who fail to keep Sukkot. Zechariah 14: 16-18. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. If any of the nations on earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Adonai-Tzva’ot, they will have no rain. If the Egyptians do not go up and celebrate, they will have no rain. Instead, there will be the plague that Adonai will inflict on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”
From Adam to Yeshua, and from Yeshua to the Apostles, all believers, not just Jews, kept the Sabbath. They kept the Feast Days. They ate clean. They ate only that which God called food.
Then there was a gap of almost 2000 years, in which a majority of believers (God’s always had a remnant) did not keep the Sabbath, did not keep the Feast Days, and did not restrict their diet to what God declared to be food. But that’s okay because, guess what, when Yeshua returns the whole earth is going to be keeping the Sabbath, keeping the Feast Days, and celebrating each new moon. Today we are preparing for that time, for His wedding day. The whole Bible is about that wedding day. Why? Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. This is a great story, the greatest love story ever told. And it’s a wedding story.
Sabbath As A Seal
I will close with this: The Sabbath is our Creator’s Seal. A seal represents dominion. It represents authority. In ancient times, Kings ratified decrees with a royal seal. Without the King’s seal no law could be validated. A royal seal had the lawgiver’s name, the lawgiver’s title, and the lawgiver’s jurisdiction. And all three of these legal requirements, just like in a Hittite decree, are found in Exodus 20:8-11. These three elements are contained nowhere else in God’s commandments.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHVH your God (this is his name). In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD created (this establishes his title, Creator) the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them (this establishes God’s Jurisdiction) and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
I first learned these amazing facts from a good friend who is a 7th Day Adventists. Now, I am not a 7th Day Adventists. I don’t support all their doctrines. Some are wrong, some are right, and they are right about the Sabbath being the Creator’s Seal.
The Bible also calls the Sabbath a SIGN. In Hebrew, it’s the word “oat”. It means a visible, outward sign of God’s authority. Exodus 31:13 says: And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Scripture tells us that God never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If He didn’t want us working on the Sabbath then, He doesn’t now. Not even our sons and daughters, the Bible says, nor our male and female servants, or the stranger who lives among us, is to work on the Sabbath, not even animals. As I close think about this: The Roman Catholic Church refers to Sunday as its seal of authority. Why? We just read it in Exodus 31:13. The Creator declared that the 7th Day Sabbath would be the SIGN between Him and His people forever.