Christian Church of God - Grand Junction, Colorado

We Believe that the Sabbath is the seventh day, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, appointed by God as a day of rest; and that the original apostles and the New Testament Church kept the seventh day Sabbath.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the Sabbath Day in the time of Christ and in the early New Testament Church was the seventh day of each week, the Christian religion is firmly set on a different observance. Few non-Sabbatarian worshippers can or would care to elaborate on the process which eventually transferred their day of worship from the seventh day of the week over to the first day of the week.

The Sabbath was Created:  We should begin with the question, Where did the Sabbath originate? Long before any Covenant was made, long before any man did any work, the Sabbath was made for man. In fact, at the conclusion of “Creation Week”, the only one who had done any work was the Creator. Genesis chapter 2 offers an explanation of what the Creator had done and was thinking at the time. “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.” So the very first thing that Adam did in his first full day of life was to enjoy God's Sabbath day!

The Sabbath was Observed Prior to the Giving of the Law: From the earliest days of human existence, there has always been a seventh day Sabbath. It was created just as Creation week was being concluded. In fact, no work was done on that seventh day, as God Himself chose to rest in commemoration of His wonderful restoration of the Earth’s environment, from its previous condition, that of chaos and destruction. The Patriarchs living before the Exodus had to have known of the Sabbath. Abram is commended for his careful obedience to all of God’s commandments, statutes and other laws. (Gen. 26:5) Moses, in requesting of Pharaoh one day in seven as a ‘rest’ for the children of Israel, (Ex. 5:4) brought greater oppressions upon them. In the wilderness trek, upon leaving Egypt, the children of Israel were re-familiarized with the Sabbath in their encampments, which corresponded to the Sabbath Days, and in the miracle of manna, even BEFORE they came to Mount Sinai.

It’s the Fourth Commandment: And, being made a commandment, its great permanence is established for all time. The Ten Commandments are divided roughly into three sections. The first three describe how we are to respect and love our Creator. The last six explain practical ways we are to love our neighbor. But the fourth Commandment, the Sabbath Commandment, by itself, comprises the middle third, and is roughly equal in the amount of words that comprise each of the other two sections. The devotion of this lengthy a narrative to one commandment speaks to the central significance of the seventh day Sabbath.

Sabbath-keeping Remained:  Touching briefly on some of the most obvious practices of the early Church, we see consistent Sabbath keeping. In the first twenty years prior to the beginning of the ministry of the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles, the Church consisted nearly entirely of ethnic Jews and Jewish proselytes. For there to have been any suggestion of a change in something as fundamental as Sabbath-keeping, it would have provoked an even greater reaction than we find to the first suggestion of dispensing with the practice of circumcision. Absence of any mention of even the slightest suggestion of such a controversy over changing the Sabbath Day strongly suggests there was no such idea introduced in those intervening two to three decades between the cross and the beginning of the writing of the New Testament. (Paul’s first Epistles were written after 52 AD with the Gospels written even later.) In books of the Canon, as late as the mid-90’s AD, no such evidence surfaces.

In one significant passage where the matter is mentioned, it pointedly affirms an ongoing practice of keeping the Sabbath as regarding the peoples of God. (Hebrews 4) In the early fourth century, at the Council of Nicaea, the matter is addressed again, but by that time under opposition. It reveals that Sabbath-keeping remained an ongoing practice in some Christian congregations, into the fourth century, and under sufficiently strong persuasion to warrant official repression, along with other “Jewish observances” such as the keeping of the fourteenth Passover.

Even the suggestion among evangelicals that the Sabbath was later changed to Sunday is a tacit acknowledgement that its observance was retained originally. What we need to demand is authoritative scriptural proof that such change was Biblically sanctioned; otherwise we must admit that it was unauthorized! Of course, in all these centuries, no such proof has emerged!

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