THE RESURRECTION

Was It On Sunday?

Many people in this world honor a first-day-of-the-week Sabbath. This practice has its roots in the erroneous teaching of Christianity that our Savior rose from the dead on Sunday morning. Church groups worship on Sunday because they believe it was the day their Savior rose from the dead. Most of the world honors Sunday as a universal rest day. Business and commerce cease their activities on Sunday. Even government offices close on that day, not necessarily for religious reasons, but to conform to a manmade tradition rather than following scriptural guidelines.

     Since it was established as a rest day by Emperor Constantine in 325 C.E., Sunday has been taught as the resurrection day of our Savior. For some 1600 years, the world has accepted this premise, perpetuated by Christianity's teaching that the disciples and the women who went there found the tomb empty on the morning of the first day of the week. Such a claim is no more valid than if we were to come to the empty tomb today—some 1900 years later—and allege that our Savior had risen early this morning.

Sunset Begins the Day

     Matthew 28 is the most clear account of the four evangels relating the discovery of the empty tomb. He mentions the time of day from two different vantage points. "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." First, Matthew says it was the "end of the Sabbath." He then adds, "...as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week." (Day is italicized and not in the original.) By the time the two women came to "see" the sepulchre (not to anoint), it was empty. Our Savior had already risen. But what did Matthew mean when he wrote "end of the Sabbath" and "as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week?"

     If we understand Matthew to mean that the Sabbath ended and the first light of sunrise came, we will discover a 12-hour gap in this first verse as we examine these two reference points.

     In our 20th century calendar, days begin at midnight, but when the Bible speaks of a day ending and another beginning, it is always at sunset. Notice the example in Mark 1:21-29 where, on the Sabbath, our Savior is teaching and casting out unclean spirits in the synagogue. After sunset, verses 31-34, He healed a great many.

     He had waited until the end of the Sabbath before He began healing people. He temporarily avoided censure by not healing on the Sabbath, but later He was condemned by His critics when He did so (Luke 13:14). Sunset is the ending of one day and the beginning of another. This is clearly shown in the following passages:

  •      Leviticus 22:6-7, "The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water. And when the sun is down, he shall be clean..."
  •      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."
  •      Judges 14:18, "And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down..."
  •      Nehemiah 13:19, "And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath: and some of my servants set at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day."
  •      Genesis 1:5, "And the Almighty called the light Day, and the darkness He called, Night. and the evening and the morning were the first day."

     Matthew could only mean by "late on the Sabbath"—the time late on Saturday afternoon—as the sun was about to set. While the sun was still up, it was still the Sabbath, but it was very late on the Sabbath, for when the sun sinks below the horizon, the next day has begun. The sun had not set when the two Marys first came, not to anoint but to view the tomb. It was still the Sabbath, and the Redeemer had already risen. His resurrection took place between three o'clock in the afternoon and before the setting sun on the weekly Sabbath.

     Another problem arises in the Greek word "opse" (No. 3796 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, from No. 3694 meaning "to go back"). It appears in only two other verses. Mark 11:19 is one: "And when even [opse] was come, He went out of the city." Our Savior left at the end of the day after casting out the money changers.

     The other occurrence is in Mark 13:35, describing the hidden time of the Messiah's return. "Watch you therefore: for you know not when the master of the house comes, at even [opse], or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning."

     Opse here is "even" (late in the day) and is used to differentiate between midnight and morning. It does not mean midnight, nor does it mean the next morning at daybreak. It means as the day ends—not in the middle of the night.

     It is easy to see that the word does not mean at the first break of light in the morning sky. Neither does it mean sunrise.

     In fact, the Greek word sabbaton is here in the genitive case, which positively places this occurrence on the Sabbath Day. See Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, page 471, on the word opse. He says, "Opse followed by a genitive seems always partitive, denoting late in the period specified by the genitive (and consequently still belonging to it)." Other translations correctly render this verse as: "Now late on the Sabbath..." ASV; and "late in the week," Rotherham; "In the evening of the Sabbath day," Lamsa; "at the close of the Sabbath," Moffatt; "In the end of the Sabbath," Berry's Interlinear; "at the end of the Sabbath," Green's Interlinear; "Now late on the Sabbath," TSS; "Late on the Sabbath," Riverside Cambridge.

By the Dawn's Early Light?

     What about the words, "as it began to dawn toward"? Surely that means it was getting light...or does it? The Greek word epiphosko needs explanation here. It is Strong's No. 2020 and can mean to begin to grow light. It traces to epiphaino, No. 2014, meaning to shine upon, that is, to become visible or known.

     If the meaning to grow light is understood here, there is an immediate problem. How can it be "dawning" in late afternoon as the sun is setting? The new day began when the sun was setting, as twilight came on. The first day of the week could not be "dawning" in late afternoon as sunset came. But it could be "drawing on" or "approaching" as the Sabbath was ending.

     This would be in line with the following verse describing the time of day that our Savior was placed in the tomb, the only other place where epiphosko appears: "And he took it (the body) down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man before was laid. And that day was a preparation and the Sabbath drew on (epiphosko)," Luke 23:53-54.

Women's Actions Show Two Sabbaths

     Another problem with the traditional view of a Friday burial and a Sunday resurrection is the question of when the women went to buy spices to prepare the embalming process. There is no question that the word "epiphosko" here describes the beginning of the day at sunset, just as in English, "dawn" may mean to draw on, such as the "dawn of a new age." Or, we often speak of an increasing light of understanding as, "it suddenly dawned on him." In this reference, the Sabbath is drawing on as the preparation day is about to end with sunset. Although not a Sabbath-keeper, James Moffatt, in his translation of Matthew 28:1, correctly rendered it, "At the close of the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning..."

     Other translators have confused the time of the resurrection by translating epiphosko as "dawn."

     Dr. Moffatt says these things occurred at the close of the Sabbath—not after the Sabbath.

     Dr. George Ricker Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament reads, "Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week, came Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Both Dr. Moffatt and Dr. Berry correctly translated the word "epiphosko" as the beginning of the next day at dusk, just after sunset.

   Rotherham also agrees, but has a different wording: "And late in the week, when it was on the point of dawning into the first of the week..."

How It All Happened

     Our Savior ate the Passover with His disciples just after sunset, which ended Tuesday and marked the beginning of Wednesday, (Abib 14). He went with the disciples to the garden at Gethsemane where He was taken prisoner and given several trials that night. He was impaled about 9:00 the next morning.

     Darkness was upon the earth from noon until 3 p.m. when He died on Passover afternoon. Pilate was asked that His body might be taken down, that it might not remain on the tree on the High Day Sabbath. The law for this is found in Deuteronomy 21:23, "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of Yahweh) that thy land be not defiled, which the Eternal Yahweh thy Mighty One giveth thee for an inheritance."

     Joseph of Arimathaea removed the body and placed it in his own new tomb after hurriedly wrapping it with bandages, a practice the Israelites had learned from the way the Egyptians mummified their dead.

     Luke says the Sabbath "drew on" (epiphosko), meaning they were in haste as the sun was about to set and the following High Sabbath Day would begin.

     After He was laid in the tomb, Matthew, Mark and Luke related that the two Marys made a special attempt to note where He was to be buried.

     Mark 15:47, "And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Yahshua beheld where He was laid." Matthew 27:61, "And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb...and there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre." Luke 23:54,55, "And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid." Luke goes on to tell that they prepared spices and ointments and rested on the Sabbath (see John 19:31, according to the commandment of Exodus 12:16 (Leviticus 23:7, Numbers 28:18, 25, etc.) as this was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Preparation Day Not Used of Weekly Sabbath

     The word "preparation," referring to the day before the Sabbath, refers to a high holy day. The preparation day popularly used in conjunction with the weekly Sabbath nowhere in the Bible connects with the weekly Sabbath. Friday is never called the Jews' preparation day. And nowhere in the Bible is the weekly Sabbath ever called a high day.

     Preparation (from the Greek paraskeue, Strong's No. 3904) occurs six times in the New Testament. In the following verses, the preparation day precedes the following annual High Sabbath:

  •      Matthew 27:62, "Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate..."
  •      Mark 15:42, "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath..."
  •      Luke 23:54, "And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on."
  •      John 19:32, 42, "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the tree on the Sabbath Day (for that Sabbath Day was a high day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away...There laid they Yahshua therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand."

     It is only in John 19:14 that we see a general preparation for the Passover. But all other verses refer to the preparation for the annual High Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath.

     Luke 23 shows a difference between verse 54, which refers to the High Sabbath, and verse 55, which refers to the weekly Sabbath. This can be seen in verse 54, stating simply, "It was preparation and Sabbath drew on." Verse 55 tells how the women followed, noting the location and how the body was placed in the tomb.

     They brought spices and ointments on the day after the High Sabbath and then rested on the weekly Sabbath, Verse 56. In Verse 56 the definite article "the" describes the weekly Sabbath; but Verse 54 uses no definite article, showing that Luke differentiated between "a" High Sabbath of Verse 54 and "the" weekly Sabbath of Verse 56.

     The day following the Passover is always a High Sabbath or annual Sabbath day, regardless of which day of the week it may fall. Passover comes on the 14th day of the first biblical month. The following day, the 15th, is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and is observed as a High Sabbath.

     Please study this carefully. Leviticus 23:5,6, "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto Yahweh the Eternal: Seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein."

     In 31 C.E., the year our Savior Yahshua was put to death, Passover was on a Wednesday. He was placed in the tomb late that afternoon, just before sunset, for sunset began the high day, the first day of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31).

Friday to Sunday--an Arithmetic Problem

     The popular Friday impalement and Sunday resurrection belief has serious flaws. The Bible said our Savior would be in the tomb three days and three nights, Matthew 12:40. To say that parts of days were counted in the Hebrew idiom for full days leaves us short. Note that Friday night would be one night. If our Savior arose on Sunday morning as it is popularly taught, then Saturday night would be only the second night. But as has been shown, He was already risen on the ending of the Sabbath.

  

Traditional View of Resurrection

 

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 
 

Night

Day

Night

Day

Night

Day

 
 

The
Last
Supper

Savior
is
buried
about
sunset

1st Night

1st Day

2nd Night

2nd Day
Savior
is
believed
to
rise

 
 

   The above chart shows what is traditionally believed by many Christians. Our Savior said the only sign to be given that He was the Messiah was that He would be three days and three nights in the tomb. Can you count three days and three nights between a Friday evening burial and a Sunday morning resurrection? It just can't be done!

 

 

  The three days could not have been accounted for even by counting part of Friday as an entire day, all day Saturday and a part of Sunday. He had already risen by the time the Sabbath came to a close. Sunday can't even count as part of a day.

 

   Another argument advanced to uphold a Friday impalement and Sunday resurrection is that the three nights include Friday night, Saturday night and also the period of darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour (noon until 3 p.m.) as the third night. However, it must be pointed out that this period of darkness occurred when our Savior was still on the tree. He had not yet been placed in the tomb and was, in fact, alive! (Mark 15:33, 34; Matthew 27:45, 46).

   By the time Joseph of Arimathea obtained permission to take the body, the Sabbath was fast approaching. The Jews had prevailed upon Pilate to break the legs of those impaled so that they would die faster to get them down before the High Day Sabbath (John 19:31-33).

   Joseph wrapped the body of our Savior in a linen cloth or bandages and Nicodemus also brought spices of myrrh and aloes, "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first come to Yahshua by night and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight," John 19:39-40. The women went to the tomb to see its location (Mark 15:47, Matthew 27:61, Luke 23:55).

   From Luke's account (23:56) it might appear as if the women bought spices that same day. However, it was the custom of the shopkeepers to close by the ninth hour before the Sabbaths. Also, Mark 16:1 is clear, "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." This would have been possible only if there were more than one Sabbath involved.


 SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IN THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF OUR SAVIOR

Abib 13

Tuesday

Abib 14

Wednesday

Passover

Abib 15

Thursday

1st day ULB

Abib 16

Friday

Abib 17

Sabbath

Abib 18

Sunday

Abib 19

Monday

Abib 20

Tuesday

Abib 21

Wednesday

Last Day ULB

Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day
Upper room reserved Luke 22:8-14

Passover

Luke 22:7-14

Judas betrays our Savior

Luke 22:47, 48

Trial before Pilate. Savior dies 3 p.m. burial before sunset John 19:31-47

Our Savior's first day in tomb (High Sabbath) John 19:31

Watch is set and tomb is sealed Matthew 27:62-66

Women buy and prepare spices for anointing. Mark 16:1

Luke 23:56

Our Savior entombed 2 days and 2 nights.

Weekly Sabbath. Our Savior 3 nights and 3 days in the tomb. Resurrection takes place before sundown. Angels declare resurrection Matthew 28:1-7

Further visits made to tomb at dark and at sunrise Mark 16:1-6

Luke 24:1-6

John 20:1-6

Third day since watch set and tomb sealed

Luke 24:12-21

Fifth day of Feast of Unleavened Bread Exodus 13:6, 7 Sixth day of Feast of Unleavened Bread

Annual High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Deuteronomy 16;8

                         Our Savior in the tomb 3 days 3 nights                   

 

     The above chart shows events which took place from the day before the death of our Savior, and on to the close of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. John 19:14 tells us that the day of our Savior's death was "the preparation of the Passover." The day of His death actually was Passover day, the day on the beginning of which was eaten the Passover lamb. But it was also the day of preparation for the "high day" or High Sabbath, which marked the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

     The references shown on the chart tell f events which happened each day of the week. At the beginning of Wednesday, which we call Tuesday evening, our Savior and the disciples ate the Passover meal and He instituted the emblems of the Last Supper. During the light part of this same day, our Savior was put to death, on the preparation of the Passover. He was placed in the tomb just before sunset as the High Sabbath drew on. He remained in the tomb Thursday night and day (High Sabbath), Friday night and dday, and the weekly Sabbath night and day, arising from the tomb just before sunset. Thus He was in the tomb 72 hours or a full three days and three nights. Therefore, He fulfilled the prophecy which He have as recorded in Matthew 12:40.


 

   It would have been impossible for them to buy the spices after the weekly Sabbath, prepare them and rest the same Sabbath! Clearly this week had a High Sabbath on Thursday (first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread), which immediately follows the Passover. This annual Sabbath was in addition to the weekly Sabbath, the day on which He arose. Obviously, the spices were bought and prepared on Friday between the annual High Sabbath (Thursday) and the weekly Sabbath (Saturday).

   Yahshua the Messiah only gave one sign to the whole world, and that sign was that He would be in the grave three [full] days and three [full] nights (not parts of three days and parts of three nights). Matthew's account says, "...And there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the fish's belly, so shall the son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth," Matthew 12:39-40.

   Other Scriptures read, "And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after [Greek meta] three days rise again," Mark 8:31 and Matthew 16:21. Further, "...and after He is killed, He shall rise the third day," Mark 9:31.

   Also note, "For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again," Luke 18:32-33, 24:7, 46.

   Our Savior told the Jews, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up...He spoke of the Temple of His body," John 2:19, 21.

   It is important to notice that, in all the prophecies of His death and resurrection, Yahshua never said, "in about three days," or "after approximately three days," or "hopefully, as near to three days and nights as possible." He was precise in all of His prophecies.

   The only way we can harmonize His statements of "on the third day" or "in three days" or "after three days" would be if He was resurrected at the end of the last day, which would still be "in" (within), "on," or "after" the third day. A period of 72 hours would answer all criteria for determining the exact time period for this occurrence.

   Note this very important fact: Yahshua was in the tomb precisely as Scripture says—three days and three nights from Wednesday afternoon, before sunset, to Saturday afternoon, before sunset.

Translators Influenced by Preconceived Notions

     Because most Bible translators were unfamiliar with the annual feast days of Leviticus 23, they assumed the Sabbath mentioned in John 19:31 and corresponding verses referred to the weekly Sabbath—or Saturday. The Roman Church has long taught that our Savior was put to death on Friday and arose on Sunday morning. Translators tried to make their own interpretations fit this preconceived idea. It is not unusual, then, to find translations that uphold the error.

     Bible scholars throughout the ages have pointed out that our Savior was born more than likely about 4 B.C.E. (before Common Era). Some have postulated that the exact year of His birth has been clouded. But comparing the time of Passover that year, it could be proved that our Savior did not rise on Sunday. In the year 31 C.E., Passover was on Wednesday, Thursday was a High Sabbath, and Friday was an ordinary weekday that allowed the women to purchase and prepare the burial spices.

Objections Answered

     Mark 16:9, in the King James version, has been used to uphold a Sunday resurrection. "Now when Yahshua was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene...." "Was risen" is past tense (aorist in Greek) and describes the risen state of our Savior.

     The Companion Bible notes are important here. Its editor, Dr. Bullinger, points out that punctuation marks, as we know them, were entirely absent. He says, "None of our modern marks of punctuation are found until the ninth century, and then only in Latin versions and some cursives." Clearly this passage is not describing that our Savior rose early the first day of the week, but that He was already risen and appeared to Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week. Many other commentaries point out that there was more than one visit to the tomb.

     Matthew 28:1, "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to draw toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." The Roman guard was placed at the tomb at the end of the High Sabbath (Matthew 27:62-66). After being on guard by the tomb for the better part of the High Sabbath (Thursday) and Friday, the Roman soldiers left the tomb shortly before sunset following the resurrection on Saturday. Not being able to complete the embalming process on Friday, the day between the Sabbaths, the women decided to come to the tomb as the weekly Sabbath was ending, primarily to take a look at things, a perfectly normal activity, because of Who had died.

     One of the most accurate translations, the American Standard version of 1901, does not once use the word "morning" in describing the time the women came to the empty tomb. The Greek word proi has the meaning of early. Other translations add "in the morning." The time of day must be determined from the context, and all accounts of the resurrection clearly indicate early evening, not morning.

     The two men in Luke 24:13-21 who met our Savior en route to Emmaus, were familiar with Him and had, in fact, been with Him on several occasions, but they were not of the eleven (verse 33). They assumed that Yahshua was one of the pilgrim Jews who had come to keep the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread at Jerusalem. Mark 16:12 says that He appeared in another form, so that they would not know Him.

     Because Cleopas stated that it was three days since these things had occurred, some have wondered whether this did not indeed refer to the time being exactly three days since His death and resurrection.

     Professor A.T. Robertson in his book, Word Pictures in the New Testament, comments on the phrase, "Today is the third day since these things were done" as being a difficult idiom for the English. He translates it as, "One is keeping this a third day. And he is still dead and we are still without hope."

     M.R. Vincent in his book, Word Studies in the New Testament, agrees: "The phrase forms an idiom which cannot be nearly rendered. Literally it is, "He (Messiah) is passing this day as the third." In view of the above comments, as well as other studies of the Greek text, it is forcing an interpretation to say that the meaning is to be understood that this is the third day since He was impaled. It likely means that three days have now passed since His tomb was sealed by the Roman soldiers, which was on a Thursday, the High Sabbath of John 19:31. This would be in keeping with His statement in Mark 8:31 that, after three days, He would rise again. As far as they knew, He was still dead and they were downcast, their hopes dashed.

     An understanding of the importance of three days and three nights, in terms of biblical history and Israelite custom, will explain why the Messiah referred to this span.

  •        Being defiled by a dead body required purification on the third day, Numbers 19:11-12.
  •      After the third day, the flesh was considered unfit for food and was burnt, Leviticus 7:17-18.
  •      Talmudic tradition ended mourning for the dead on the third day because the spirit finally was to have departed then. Works, Vol. 12, pp. 351-353, Pitman Edition.
  •      Herodotus testifies that embalmment did not take place until after three days. Herodotus, 2 86-89.
  •      The Jews did not accept evidence as to the identification of a dead body after three days.

     Three days shows the certainty of death. The Messiah had died, but the two had no proof of His resurrection. The possibility of a trance or suspended animation was non-existent. Mary said Lazarus had been dead "four days already" and "stinketh" (John 11:17, 39), as proof that he was really dead. The inference was that, three days after death had occurred, all life was gone from the body. Luke 24:13 says that the two went the same day to the village of Emmaus about seven or eight miles from Jerusalem. This would be after "Saturday night." Verse 22 shows that the two were aware of the women's visit to the tomb earlier to find it empty.

A Resurrection Day Doesn't Make a Worship Day

     For years, translators have labored under the conviction that the church was right and that Yahshua did rise on Sunday, making their translations accommodate that concept. But even if we should assume that He did rise on a Sunday, how does this change the day of worship that our Heavenly Father gave His people for a sign between Him and them forever? The writings of the "early fathers" indicated a change was made in many of the teachings of our Savior. It is not surprising that, at the beginning of the 4th century, even the Sabbath was changed, and the unbiblical “Sun-day” was made a legal substitute. The followers of the New Testament faith were then told this was done in memorial to Yahshua’s resurrection! The majority of people in those days were illiterate and very few people had access to the sacred writings. It is easy to see how error could creep in and be substituted for "the faith once delivered to the saints."

     The following quotations, from the writings of prominent leaders of the greater denominations of our day, testify to the fact that many leaders still remain "willingly ignorant" of vitally important New Testament teachings:

Church of England, "And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh, for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because of the Bible, but the church has enjoined it." Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism.

Protestant Episcopal, "Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None." Manual of Christian Doctrine.

Presbyterian, "The observance of the seventh-day Sabbath did not cease till it was abolished after the empire became Christian." American Presbyterian Board of Publication, Tract No. 118.

Dwight's Theology states, "The Christian Sabbath (Sunday) is not in the Scripture, and was not by the primitive church called the Sabbath."

Methodist, "It is true, there is no positive command for infant baptism...nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week." M. E. Theological Compend, p. 103.

Congregationalist, "Much has been made of the attitude of our Savior in speech and deed toward the Sabbath. Some have imagined that by the words He uttered and by the deeds He did, He relaxed the binding nature of the old command. This view, however, is to absolutely misunderstand and misinterpret the doing and the teaching of our Savior." The Ten Commandments by G. Campbell Morgan, p. 50.

Baptist, "There was and is a commandment to keep the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, Where can the record of such transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week...Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!" Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual.

"It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath...The Sabbath was founded on a specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday...There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday." The Ten Commandments by R. W. Dale

     Unbiased historical records show the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath for the first hundred years. With more and more pagan converts coming into the church, their Sunday worship gradually became adopted during the second century. Sunday observance became a way to help escape the persecution of the pagan Romans. Both the seventh-day Sabbath and Sunday (now called the "Christian Sabbath") were observed for a time. In 325 C.E., Emperor Constantine presided over the Council of Nicea and pushed for one set of doctrines and a unified religion for his Roman Empire. New Testament converts were warned not to "Judaize" by keeping the biblical Sabbath, or Saturday. They were now to keep the "venerable day of the sun."

Easter Supplants Passover

     Easter became established as a national holiday instead of Passover. (Write for, or view online, our free booklet, What You Should Know About Easter.) Named for Ishtar, the Babylonian fertility deity, Easter was celebrated as the resurrection of our Savior. But Scripture nowhere teaches us to determine or celebrate His resurrection. We are, however, to remember His death.

     We are to keep the Passover each year in memory of Him. (Write for, or view online, our free booklet, Passover--A Day to Remember.) We are nowhere commanded to celebrate Easter. Even Acts 12:4, in the King James version, is a mistranslation. "Easter" should have been correctly Passover, as can be seen by referring to marginal renderings or other translations. The Greek is simply "pascha," or "Passover."

     The Roman Catholic Church freely admits there is no scriptural basis for observing Sunday. But they claim to have authority given them by our Savior Himself to change the day of worship. Protestant churches claim they do not follow the Roman Catholics in keeping the pagan day of the sun, but instead strain to find scriptural evidence for Sunday observance. But nowhere can they show there are three days and three nights from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.

     How does a pagan fertility festival, observed at the wrong time of day (sunrise), and upon the wrong day, memorialize the resurrection of our Redeemer—Who was gone from the tomb Saturday evening at sunset?

     Only our Heavenly Father can make a day holy. It is the day we know as Saturday that He blessed and made holy, Genesis 2:2-3. It is the very day that our Savior kept holy. It is the day that will be kept holy when He returns, Isaiah 66:23. And it is a day that should be kept holy from now until He returns.

HalleluYAH!

 

 

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