Many have said that they believe that we should be keeping the Sabbath on the first day of the week (Sunday). Others say that we should keep every day as a Sabbath. What does the word of Yahweh have to say about these things?
Lets examine the first statement concerning the first day of the week being the Sabbath.
The first day of the week is the day commonly known as “Sunday” Look at any calendar and you will see that at the far left, the first day is Sunday. This seven day cycle has never been broken. Yahushua the Messiah knew exactly which day was the Sabbath. Even though our calendar has changed (from Julian to Gregorian in 1582 and in England in 1752) it was only the monthly date that was changed, not the sequence of the days of the week. Also, Jewish historians are very exact in their chronology. The weekly cycle has never been broken. The Jews never forgot or confused the proper Sabbath sequence through history. Their calendar shows the same seventh day as ours.
There are only eight passages in scripture that speak of the first day of the week. They are often used to “prove” a change of the Sabbath to Sunday so lets look at all eight to see whether any of them prescribes, allows or supports changing the Sabbath to the first day of the week.
Matt 28:1- Now after the Sabbath, as the first [day] of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
The two Mary’s waited until the ending of the Sabbath–as the first day of the week began to dawn–before they went to Yahushua’s sepulchre. Being Sabbath observers, it is reasonable that they would wait until the ending of the Sabbath and the beginning of the first day of the week before venturing out. This scripture says nothing of changing the Sabbath.
Mark 16:1- Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary [the] [mother] of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first [day] of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
As Matthew 28:1 shows, the two women observed the Sabbath before venturing out on their mission to anoint the body of our Savior. They had the spices already purchased before the Sabbath. Now was a regular work day for them and not a new day of worship, as some claim.
Mark 16:9- Now when [Yahushua] was risen early the first [day] of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Just because Yahushua appeared to Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week, it does not mean that He changed the Sabbath to Sunday. There is no statement here even hinting that.
Luke 24:1- Now on the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain [other] [women] with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Master Yahushua.
Clearly, Yahushua was already risen and gone before sunrise, which raises the question as to why there are Easter sunrise services? But again, nothing is said about resting or changing the Sabbath to Sunday.
John 20:1- Now on the first [day] of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw [that] the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
John’s account coincides with the others and still there is no mention of changing the Sabbath to a different day.
John 20:19- Then, the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Yahushua came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace [be] with you.”
Some claim that this was a ‘secret’ meeting to change the Sabbath to Sunday. But the passage says Yahushua came and stood among them. He had died, was buried and had risen. The disciples, now locked in a room, were hiding from the Jews now that the Messiah had died. Suddenly, Yahushua stood in their midst. This would have been the perfect time to set them straight and now tell them that their had been a change in the Sabbath to the first day of the week. But their is no mention of anything of this sort.
A week later, when Thomas had doubts about Yahushua, the Savior returned, but said nothing about worshipping on the first day of the week.
Acts 20:7- Now on the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
This is probably the scripture most quoted by those who believe that the Sabbath day was changed.
Following Sabbath services, they had gathered in the evening (Saturday night). Paul was an esteemed visitor. Undoubtedly everyone wanted to talk with him after the Sabbath. They probably had many questions to ask him.
This was not a Sunday worship service, but an after dinner talk lasting until midnight. Again, there is no mention of a change in the Sabbath.
1 Cor 16:1- Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
We find in Acts 11:28-30 and Romans 15:26 that the people in Jerusalem were having a great famine. The brethren were in dire need of food and help. Paul wants the brethren to prepare a collection of food and clothing on the first day of the week and keep it at home.
He would come by and pick up the collections, bringing them to the needy in Jerusalem. This had nothing to do with bringing an offering to any meeting or worship service. It was a time consuming gathering of foodstuffs and clothing for the needy which the Corinthians were to do for transporting to Jerusalem.
Now notice: Paul is not telling the people to “rest and worship—but to WORK by preparing the collections.
The word day in the King James is in italics. This means that it is not in the ancient manuscripts. “Day” has been added because the translators assumed that Paul meant Sunday. Rather than reading “the first day of the week” we should be reading “the first of the week.” It could have been Sunday, Monday or even Tuesday and still have been the first part of the week.
For more on Paul’s teachings, see the section on Is the Sabbath for today?