555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

194. What Is the Distinction between Sabbath, Sunday, and Lord's Day?




The word "Sabbath" is derived from the Hebrew "Shabua," meaning "seven," or a heptad of seven days. It was employed to designate the seventh day of the Jewish week (from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday). Under the Christian dispensation the day of rest is changed from the seventh to the first day of the week, in memory of Christ's resurrection, and its true designation therefore is neither Sabbath (which is the ancient Jewish term) nor Sunday (which is the heathen appellation, i. e., "the day of the sun"), but "the Lord's day." It is not with us, as with the Jews, a day of rest and absolute abstention from all employment, but a day of spiritual recuperation and religious activities in a thousand different directions, and a period of withdrawal from secular pursuits. Under the Mosaic law, one might not walk beyond a certain distance, nor light a fire, nor even carry a handkerchief. With us it is rather a day of celebration and glad Christian work, wholly unham pered by the ancient restrictions and obligations which were designed to apply to a different age and dispensation. The use of any one of the three terms— Sunday, Sabbath or Lord's Day—is, however, with most people, rather a matter of habit than of principle, as the historical facts are thoroughly well established.