Gospel Order

The First Day Of The Week

The term “first day of the week” is found eight times in the Bible. The word “Sunday” is used by other version like the Today's English Version.

As we examine these texts we will come to realize that they do not attach any sacredness or holiness to Sunday or indicates Sunday worship.

The first six texts all refer to the fact of Christ's resurrection as follows:

One] Matthew 28:1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

Two] Mark 16:1-2. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Three] Mark 16:9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Four] Luke 24:1. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Five] John 20:1. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

John 20:1 TEV. Early on the Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb….

Six] 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 , came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

John 20:19 TEV. Late that Sunday evening, when the disciples were together behind locked doors, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you!' he said.

Note that the disciples assemble on the first day of the week not to worship, but because they are afraid of Jews. Then Jesus came and stood among them.

In what symbol represents the resurrection of Christ?

Romans 6:3-5. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection:

Note that baptism by immersion is the symbol of resurrection and not the observing of the first day of the week or Sunday worship.

Seven] Acts 20:7. 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 TEV. On the Saturday night, in our assembly for the breaking of bread, Paul who was to leave next day, addressed them, and went on speaking until midnight.

Note that in the Saturday night meeting held by Paul at Troas occurring on the dark part of the first day of the week, he preaches until midnight. The next day, Sunday, he travels by foot to Assos, and then takes a boat to Mitylene. Certainly, Paul did not sanctify Sunday since he spent the entire day traveling and not worshipping. The Bible tells us that Paul was a Sabbath keeper (see Acts 13:42-44; 17:2; 16:12-13; 18:4).

When does the Sabbath begin and close?

Leviticus 23:32. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Mark 1:32. And at even, when the sun did set , they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

Note that the Sabbath was observed from Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset.

Eight] 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Note that this refers to a collection for the poor saints “by him in store” which implies “by himself at home”. It does not indicate any public worship on the first day of the week or Sunday.

"On the Sabbath we have thought upon His goodness. We have beheld His work in creation as an evidence of His power in redemption. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness for His great love. And now, before the toil of a week begins, we return to Him His own, and with it an offering to testify our gratitude. Thus our practice will be a weekly sermon, declaring that God is the possessor of all our property, and that He has made us stewards to use it to His glory." CS 80.

Many real Christians believe that Sunday is the day which God has set apart to keep it holy according to the best light they have. But God will cause rays of light to penetrate the dense darkness that surrounds them and they will discern the truth.

The truth is, the Roman Catholic church admitted that Sunday worship come only from the tradition of the church.

“Nothing is said in the Bible about the change of the Lord's day from Saturday to Sunday. We know of the change only from the tradition of the Church--a fact handed down to us from earliest times by the living voice of the Church. That is why we find so illogical the attitude of many non-Catholics, who say that they yet will believe nothing unless they can find it in the Bible and yet will continue to keep Sunday as the Lord's day on the say-so of the Catholic Church." The Faith Explained, by Leo J. Trese, page 246. Nihil Obstat by Louis J. Putz, C.S.C., Univ. of Notre Dame. Imprimatur by Leo A. Pursley, D.D. Bishop of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

How does God regard Sunday worship which is base on tradition?

Matthew 15:3. Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Matthew 15:9. But in vain they do worship me , teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Which day of the week is blessed and sanctified by God?

Genesis 2:1-3. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it : because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

The Sabbath is a perpetual sign between God and His people.

Exodus 31:17-18. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever : for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

The Sabbath is a sign of sanctification.

Ezekiel 20:12. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.

The Sabbath symbolizes our rest in Jesus trusting Him for our salvation.

Hebrews 4:4-6. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Hebrews 4:9. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

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