I was at the Finance Department giving instructions to a user when I overheard a group behind me discussing about vegetarianism. The topic seems be rooted from a religious observation as believed by some while the others argue that it is just a plain health issue. Having been a vegetarian once (for a year), I jumped into the discussion and defended a lone vegan who happened to be a member of Seventh Day Adventist Church.
In the Philippines, they normally refer to this church as “Sabadista” because they keep the Jewish tradition of going to a worship on Saturday instead of Sunday. One colleague told me that”Sabadistas” could be right in going to the worship or service on “Sabado” or Sabbath. I thought Sabbath means ‘rest’ and not Saturday. It may ‘sounds’ the same in Filipino or Spanish but as far as I know, this 7th day of the week after Friday is named after Saturn by the Romans.
This topic is not about the word Sabado or Saturday but the Christian obligation of going to worship on a ‘rest’ day.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.– Exodus 20:8-11
Obviously the twelve apostles kept this Jewish law by the letters until Jesus Resurrection. They still kept the Sabbath holy but not on Saturday but on the ‘Lord’s Day’ or the ‘8th day’ of the week. We, Christians no longer celebrate the ‘old covenant’ through the Passover sacrifice but commemorate the ‘new covenant’ on the day of our Lords resurrection. Sunday marks the beginning of the ‘new’ creation when Christ conquered sin, darkness and death. We do not break the 4th commandment when we take a ‘rest’ after six days of work and make the Sabbath holy by going to the church.
In the early church, the apostles gather together on the first day of the week to celebrate “the breaking of the bread” (Acts 20:7-8). It seems they also do the offertory collections during this day of the week as written in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Did Christ command the apostles to move the Lords Day from Saturday to Sunday? There is no record. However, it is no wrong for the apostles to do this since they still follow the principle behind the 4th commandment by devoting a day to the Lord after a six long days of work. Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians (2:16-17) is clear: “Therefore no one is toas your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
There are also evidences from the historical writings that the early Christians understood this ‘substance’ or principle behind the Sunday as ‘rest’ day. One of which is the text below:
“Those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death”Letter of Saint Ignatius to the Magnesians 8, 110 AD.
A more earlier record is the letter of Barnabas written in 74 AD which says: “We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead”Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8
Unfortunately, I forgot to mentioned the above references when I explained the reasons to the Finance Department why we worship on Sundays instead of Saturdays. They laughed when I told them that it does not matter to my grandma since she goes to the church everyday.