Questions And Answers


The Change Of The Sabbath


Of what is the Sabbath commandment a part?


The Law of God.


Exodus 20:8-12


In His most famous sermon, what did Christ say of the law?


      “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Matthew 5:17


Comment- Christ fulfilled the moral law by obeying, and by bringing out its fullness of meaning, by showing its intense spirituality, and He established it on a surer basis than ever as the eternal law of righteousness.  He fulfilled the ceremonial and typical law, not only by conforming to its requirements, but by realizing its spiritual significance. Jesus was the final sacrifice to be made.


How enduring did He say the law is?


      “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Matthew 5:18


What did He say of those who should break one of the least of God’s commandments, and teach men so to do?


      “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:19



Comment- From this verse it is evident that all the ten commandments are still binding and that Christ had no thought of changing the law.  One of these commands the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath.  But most Christians keep the first day of the week instead of the seventh day.  Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath.  But, from His own words, we see that he came for no such purpose.  The responsibility for this change is somewhere else.


What did God say, through the prophet Daniel, say the power represented by the “little horn” would think to do?


      “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: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

Daniel 7:25


What did the apostle Paul say the man of sin would do?


      “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 

      Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 

2 Thessalonians 2:3,4


Comment- An effective way by which a power could exalt itself above God would be by assuming to change the law of God, and by requiring obedience to its own law instead of God’s law.


What power has claimed authority to change God’s law?


The Papacy.


Comment- “The pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws….The pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth.”  Translated from Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca (Ready Library), “papa,” art. 2


What part of the law of God has the papacy thought to change?


The fourth commandment.


Comment- “They (the Catholics) allege the change of the Sabbath into the Lord’s day, contrary as it seemeth, to the Decalogue; and the have no example more in their mouths than the change of the Sabbath.  They will needs have the church’s power to be very great, because it hath dispensed with a precept of the Decalogue.”  The Augsburg confession (Lutheran), part 2, art.7, in Philip Schaff, The creeds of Christendom (Harper) volume 3, p. 64.

“It [the Roman Catholic Church] reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God’s word and instituting Sunday as a holiday.”—N. Summerbell, History of the Christian Church (1873), p. 415.


Does the papacy acknowledge changing the Sabbath?


It does.


Comment- The Catechismus Romanus was commanded by the council of Trent and published by the Vatican Press, by order of Pope Pius the V, in 1566.  this catechism for priests says: “It pleased the church of God, that the religious celebration of the Sabbath Day should be transferred to the Lord’s day.’” -- Catechism of the Council Of Trent

Donovan’s translation, 1867), part 3, chapter 4, p.345.


“Question,--How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holidays?


“Answer,--By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of: and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.”—Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine.  1833, p.58


“Question,--Which is the Sabbath day?


“Answer,--Saturday is the Sabbath day.


“Question,--Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?


“Answer,--We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”—Peter Getterman, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic doctrine  (1946 ed.), p. 50.


Do Catholic authorities acknowledge that there is no command in the Bible for the sanctification of Sunday?


They do.


Comment- “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday.  The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”

James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith Of Our Father (1917 ed.), p. 72,73.

     “Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday.  The fact is the church was in existence for several centuries before the Bible was given to the world.  The church made the Bible, the Bible did not make the church.

     “Now the church….instituted, by God’s authority, Sunday as the day of worship.  This same church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made.  We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday.”—Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics are asked about. (1927 ed.). p. 136


Do Protestant writers acknowledge the same?


They do.


Comment- “The Lord’s day was merely of ecclesiastical institution.  It was not introduced by virtue of the fourth commandment.”  Jeremy Taylor (Church of England) Ductor Dubitantium, part 1, book 2, chapter 2, rule 6, sec. 51,59 (1850 ed.), vol. 9 pp. 458, 464.

     “The Lord’s day is not sanctified by any specific command or by any inevitable inference.  In all the New Testament there is no hint or suggestion of a legal obligation binding any man, whether saint or sinner to observe the day.  Its sanctity arises only out of what it means to the true believer.”—J.J. Taylor  (Baptist), The Sabbath Question p. 72


How did this change in observance of days come about?


Through a gradual transference.


     “The Christian made no formal, but a gradual and almost unconscious, transference of the one day to the other.”—F.W. Farrar  The Voice From Sinai  p. 167. 

This of itself is evidence that there was no divine command for the change of the Sabbath.


For how long a time was the seventh day Sabbath observed in the Christian church?


For many centuries.  In fact, its observance has never wholly ceased in the Christian church.


Comment- Mr. Morer, a learned clergyman of the church of England, says: “The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons.  And is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles themselves.”—A Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Nation, and Observation of the Lord’s Day. p. 189

     Rome is the leader in the apostasy and change of the Sabbath.


How did Sunday observance originate?


     As a voluntary celebration of the resurrection, a custom without pretense of divine authority.


Comment- “Opposition to Judaism introduced the particular festival of Sunday very early, indeed into the place of the Sabbath…. The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intention of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.  Perhaps at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday as a sin.”

Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and Church (Rose’s translation from the 1st German ed.) p. 186


Who first enjoined Sunday keeping by law?


Constantine the Great.

Comment- The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A. D., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerabili die solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor.”

Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., art. “Sunday.”

     “On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.  In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operation the bounty of heaven should be lost.  (Given the seventh day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time.)” –Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in the History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff (Scribners, 1902 ed.), vol.3 p.380.

     This edict, issued by Constantine, who first opened the way for the union of church and state in the Roman Empire in a manner supplied the lack of a divine command for Sunday observance.  It was one important step in bringing about and establishing the change of the Sabbath.


What testimony does Eusebius bear on this subject?


 “All things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we (the church] have transferred to the Lord’s day.” –Translated from Eusebius, Commentary on the Psalms, Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol 23, cols, 1171,1172.


Comment- The change of the Sabbath was the result of the combined efforts of the church and state, and it took centuries to accomplish it.  Eusebius of Caesarea (270-338) was a noted bishop of the church, biographer and flatterer of Constantine, and the reputed father of ecclesiastical history.


By what church council was the observance of the seventh day forbidden and Sunday observance enjoined?


     The Council of Laodicea, in Asia Minor, fourth century.


Comment- Canon 29 reads: “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [Sabbato, the Sabbath], but shall work on that day; 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, they shall be shut out [anathema] from Christ.” – Charles Joseph Hefele, A History of the Council of the church, vol. 2 (1896 English ed.), p. 316

     What was done at the council of Laodicea was but one of the steps by which the change of the Sabbath was effected.  It was looked back upon as the first church council to forbid Sabbath observance and enjoin Sunday rest as far as possible, but it was not so strict as latter decrees.  (Hefele vol.2 p. 298,)


What do Catholics say of Protestant Sundaykeepers?


They are obeying the authority of the Catholic Church.


“For ages all Christian nations looked to the Catholic Church, and, as we have seen, the various states enforced by law her ordinance as to worship and cessation of labor on Sunday.  Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the church, has no good reason for Sunday theory, and ought logically, to keep Saturday as the Sabbath.” 

     “The state, in passing laws for the due sanctification of Sunday, is unwittingly acknowledging the authority of the Catholic church and carrying out more or less faithfully its prescriptions.

     “The Sunday, as a day of the week set apart for the obligatory public worship of Almighty God, to be sanctified by a suspension of all servile labor, labor, and worldly avocations and by exercises of devotion, is purely a creation of the Catholic Church.”  The American Catholic Quarterly Review, January, 1883, pp. 152, 139.


What determines whose servants we are?


      “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Romans 6:16


When asked to bow to Satan how did Christ reply?


      “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Matthew 4:10


What kind of worship does the Saviour call that which is not according to God’s commandments?


      “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 

       And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand.”

Matthew 15:9,10


What appeal did Elijah make to apostate Israel?


      “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

1 Kings 18:21


Comment- In times of ignorance God winks at that which otherwise would be sin; but when light comes He commands men everywhere to repent.


Ref.  Acts 17:30

         Daniel 7:25

         Revelation 14:6-12