In our last posting we addressed the topic of what day is the Lord’s Day? It is clear in Scripture that Saturday or the Seventh-Day is the Lord’s Day. So if that is the case why do most Christians believe that Sunday or the First Day is the Lord’s Day. Many will say it is because Jesus resurrected on the First Day of the week. However, no where in Scripture is there any verse, passage, or even a hint of this being the case. So how did Sunday become the Lord’s Day?
Who changed the Sabbath/Lord’s Day to First Day of the Week?
In the 4th Century the cult of Mithraism or sun-worship was the official religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine was in power and was a Christian. Sun worship stood as the greatest competitor to the new Christian religion. It had its own organization, temples, priesthood, robes—everything. It also had an official worship day on which special homage was given to the sun. That day was called “the Venerable Day of the Sun.” It was the first day of the week, and from it we get our name Sunday. When Constantine pressed his pagan hordes into the church they were observing the day of the sun for their adoration of the sun god. It was their special holy day. In order to make it more convenient for them to make the change to the new religion, Constantine accepted their day of worship, Sunday, instead of the Christian Sabbath which had been observed by Jesus and His disciples. Constantine issued a civil law to honor the First Day of the week.
The Catholic Church made Sunday the Lord’s Day
Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 153. “The church after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath or seventh-day of the week to the first, made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s day.
Catholic Press newspaper in Sidney, Australia. “Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. From the beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.”
The Catholic Mirror of September 23, 1894, puts it this way: “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.
Statements from from two Catechisms:
First, from the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Reverend Peter Giermann.
“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 in the Council of Laodicea transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”
Second, from Reverend Steven Keenan’s Doctrinal Catechism:
“Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day; a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”
It is obvious that the Catholic Church made the decision for Sunday/First Day to be the Lord’s Day instead of Saturday/Sabbath.
The purpose for this study was not to debate over the Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath, etc. It was only to show when we study the book of Revelation or any other book of the Bible we need to be careful that we do not read into verses what they say based upon the traditions of men. We must let Scripture define Scripture. We must look at Scripture on the basis of context and the history/culture of the time. As we continue through the book of Revelation we will follow these principles.
Richard D. Dover