555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

382. When and Why Was the Sabbath Changed to the First Day of the Week?

There is no command recorded, and probably none was given to change, but the change was made in celebration of Christ's rising from the dead. At the first great council of the Church, when the question was discussed whether the Gentile converts should be required to obey the Jewish law, it was decided that only four observances should be required of them. (See Acts 15.) The observance of the Jewish Sabbath was not one of the four, and the Gentile Christians do not appear to have ever kept it The Rabbis had made it ridiculous by a host of absurd regulations about what a man might, or might not, do on that day. Christ was frequently accused of breaking the Sabbath. The Jewish observance was most vexatious and onerous, and the Apostles very wisely did not attempt to bring the Gentiles under the bondage. The writings of the early Fathers show that very early in the Christian era, if not in Apostolic times, the first day of the week was uniformly the day of religious meeting and abstinence from secular labor, thus celebrating the new Creation as the Jewish Sabbath celebrated the old. Several incidental allusions in the Acts show that even in Apostolic times, the custom was prevalent. But we do not observe Sunday as the Sabbath. It is seldom a day of rest to the earnest Christian, but of holy activity in his Master's service.