Should We Go to Church on Saturday or Sunday?

Bill Brinkworth

The fourth of the ten commandments given to Israel by Moses states, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). When the Sabbath day was observed, one could not leave his home (Ex. 16:29), could not build a fire (Ex. 35:3), and could not work (Deut. 5:14). Anyone breaking the rules on Saturday would be put to death (Ex. 31:15). It was serious not to observe that day properly. Because of this seriousness, it is understood why many today wonder, “Should I worship on Saturday?”

To understand why today’s day of worship should be on Sunday, one should first know why the Sabbath was first instituted. It was started so that Israel would remember that they were slaves in Egypt and God had set them free from their bondage: “But the seventh day [Saturday] is the sabbath … And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day” Deut. 5:14,15.

Modern day Christians are not to remember they were freed from Egypt’s hand. The observance of the Sabbath was for the Old Testament Jew. We are not under Old Testament laws: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith …” Galatians 3:11-12. One trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross is free from the law’s bondage: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” Gal. 5:1. This is why the law of the Sabbath is not mentioned in the New Testament; it is not for those living by faith in the resurrected Christ. Nine of the ten commandments are (Mat. 19:18, Rom. 13:9) in the New Testament, but the one about the Sabbath was not reaffirmed.

The significance of the Sabbath changed when Christ came. Old Testament believers were waiting and looking forward to the Messiah’s coming. Those that still hold to the Old Testament’s keeping of the Sabbath are saying, by their beliefs and practices, that they are still waiting for Him to come. Christ has come. All changed when He came.

Jesus’ resurrection could easily have been on the Sabbath, but it was on Sunday morning as stated in the gospels (Mat. 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1). His resurrection and many other important events happened on the first day of the week. Jesus was declared to be the Son of God on Sunday (Rom. 1:4). Pentecost also occurred on Sunday (Lev. 23:15-16). After Jesus died, there was much emphasis on the first day of the week.

Many teach that Constantine changed the day of worship to Sunday in AD 321, but the early church worshipped on Sunday before the New Testament was even completed. The Bible reveals how worship was often every day (Acts 2:46), but soon the main worship day was the first day of the week (Sunday):
“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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” John 20:19
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7 Notice the Lord’s Supper was also observed on Sunday.

After Paul purposed to minister to the gentiles, the Sabbath was never mentioned. Unless someone was ministering to the Jews directly and met with them in their synagogue (Acts 17:1-2), all meetings of the early church were on Sunday. Even offerings were taken up on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2).

We are not commanded to make one day holier than another: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. …” Rom. 14:5-6. The Sabbath is still on Saturday, but the emphasis, for one trusting on Christ and not keeping the law now is on the first day of week, not the last. There is no direct Scripture saying that Sunday is now the Sabbath either. We are to have the attitude to put a day aside to make God and His Word a priority along with fellowshipping with His people. Sunday is the day we need to put aside for the Lord! 

““What is your priority on Sunday: fishing, soccer matches, the super market, or the one it should be, church?”

 This article was featured in The Bible View #357.

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