The Fourth Commandment – Part 1 – Who Changed It?

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Our Father is a loving Father, and it is His desire to bless us. He is good, and His Word is good. He created the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested. He blessed this day and sanctified it. He made the seventh day; a day set apart from the other, a day of rest and refreshment. The Sabbath commandment

He blessed us by giving us this gift of the Sabbath, a day to spend in His presence, a day to renew our strength physically and spiritually. The sad thing is, His gift was exchanged for another. His instructions were exchanged for man’s. He never commanded the first day of the week as a rest day! There is not a single reference in Scripture to support this change.

I want to urge you to consider this. The Sabbath is not just any day of the week; it is a very special day, a day set apart by the Creator of heaven and earth Himself. Man does not have the authority to change this, and yet he has. However, you are not a follower of man; you would not be studying this topic, if you were. He wants you to know the truth; His truth. Do not delay in learning this, it is very important.

Please consider the following Scriptures:

Matthew 7:21
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

Mark 7:6–8
6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 8 “Neglecting the commandment of Elohim, you hold to the tradition of men.”

Worshiping on the Sunday is neglecting the commandment of YHVH and holding to the tradition of men. It is teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.

Do you have the faith and courage to do what YHVH commands you to do?

In this article, we shall look at the commandment of the Sabbath; we will delve into history to see what we can learn about the change from the seventh- to the first day of the week. We shall also look at some popular reasons given for this change.

We shall, in a follow-up article, focus on the physical and Spiritual significance in honoring the Sabbath. Thereafter, we shall study on how to observe the Sabbath.

What does YHVH teach in His Word?

The first time the Sabbath was observed is recorded in the book of Genesis. YHVH, Himself observed the first Sabbath. He blessed this day and sanctified it. To sanctify something is to set it apart for a special purpose.

Genesis 2:2–3
2 By the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Elohim had created and made.

The next time the Sabbath day is mentioned is after the Israelites left Egypt. This is written in Ex 16:22-30.

At Sinai, the commandment was repeated, together with the other nine of the ten commandments. The Israelites (and us) were commanded to “remember” the sabbath day. It was not a new commandment.

Exodus 20:8–11
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of YHVH your Elohim; 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. 11 “For in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore YHVH blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

To remember the Sabbath is to honor YHVH as the Creator of all, for on this day He rested from all His work. We and our households are to do likewise. To us and our households, it is commanded a day of rest.

Exodus 23:12
12 “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.

The Scripture that follows is most profound! The Sabbath is a sign between us and YHVH throughout our generations, forever! The Sabbath is eternal and the Sabbath as a sign is perpetual, everlasting. It has not been changed and will not be changed, ever!

We shall go into more detail about this sign in Part 2 of this series.

Exodus 31:12–17
12 YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you. 14 ‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to YHVH; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 ‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

Exodus 34:21
21 “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.

Exodus 35:2–3
2 “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to YHVH; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3 “You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”

Leviticus 19:2–3
2 “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I YHVH your Elohim am holy. 3 ‘Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am YHVH your Elohim.

Leviticus 19:30
30 ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am YHVH.

Leviticus 23:2–3

2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘YHVH’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these: 3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to YHVH in all your dwellings.

What have we learned?

  • The sabbath day is the SEVENTH day
  • We are to remember this day and keep it set apart onto Him
  • The day was set apart by YHVH for us
  • It is a day of complete rest, no work is to be done on this day, even in your busiest of times
  • It is a SIGN between us and YHVH
  • It is a PERPETUAL covenant (for more information on covenants you can read our articles on the topic)

Why was the Sabbath changed?

YHVH is in control of the universe, not a single thing happens without it having been ordained by Him. Sin leads to punishment and punishment causes blessing to cease and curses to begin. The Sabbath is a blessing from YHVH, He blessed this day. He has caused the blessing of the Sabbath to cease due to the people’s sin. Similar to the time of the Babylonian exile.

Lamentations 2:6
6 And He has violently treated His tabernacle like a garden booth; He has destroyed His appointed meeting place. YHVH has caused to be forgotten The appointed feast and sabbath in Zion, And He has despised king and priest In the indignation of His anger.

YHVH uses men to accomplish His will. Similarly to the way He used the Babylonians and Assyrians to punish His people.

The good news is that it is being restored in our time, just as it was restored in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah! Repentance brings forth restoration. People from all over the world are “discovering” their Hebrew roots and are returning to His ways.

For more detail on this restoration, you can read our article.

“When shall the restoration of all things be?”

Who changed the Sabbath and when was it changed from the seventh day to the first day?

The first change

” Initially Christianity was viewed as simply a sect of Judaism. However, after Jewish revolts in Judea in A.D. 67-70 and 132-135, Jewish religious practices—many of which continued in the early Church—came to be viewed with hostility throughout the Roman Empire. Many among the Church began to abandon these practices, including observance of the biblical Sabbath and festivals.

No clear references to Sunday as a day of Christian worship are found until the writings of Barnabas and Justin, around A.D. 135 and 150, respectively. Observance of Sunday as the primary day of worship appears to have begun to solidify during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-135), who harshly persecuted Jews throughout the Roman Empire. Hadrian specifically prohibited practices of Judaism, including observance of the seventh-day Sabbath.

These oppressive measures apparently influenced many early Christians in Rome to abandon the seventh day and turn to Sunday, the day for honoring the sun god among the Romans and other peoples of the ancient world.

When Christianity was declared the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the process accelerated.”
http://www.ucg.org/booklet/sunset-sunset-gods-sabbath-rest/sabbath-beginning/which-day-sabbath/

The second change

In the year 321 A.D., Constantine decreed, “On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed” (Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1).

Constantine laid the groundwork for the change with his decree to have people not work on Sunday. He made the “day of the Sun” a “rest” day.

The third change

Later on, the Roman Catholic Church made the change to observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week official. They claim to have the authority to change the law of YHVH.

The Roman Catholic church has recently started with a drive to make working on Sunday illegal. Sunday laws are coming and with it persecution! I can’t help but think of Daniel 7:25….

Here are some documented proof that the day of worship was officially changed by the Roman Catholic church and that the Protestant church knowingly submitted itself under their authority by allowing and partaking in this.

  • Sylvester, Bishop of Rome, 314 A.D. to 337 A.D., officially changed the title of the first day, calling it the Lord’s day.
    Historia Ecclesiastica, by M. Ludovicum Lucium,  cent. 4, cap.10, pages 739, 740, edition Basilea, 1624
On a side note, if you study the term “The Lord’s day” or “day of the Lord” in context, it always refers to judgment day not to the first day of the week.
  • The Council of Laodicea decree in 364 A.D. Canon 29. Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [Sabbath], but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honor.
    A History of the Councils of the Church, Charles Joseph Hefele, Vol. II, page 316
  • · “The Catholic Church,… by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”
    The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
  • “Is Saturday the 7th day according to the Bible and the 10 Commandments?”
    “I answer yes”.
    “Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the 7th day, Saturday, for Sunday, the 1st day?”
    “I answer yes”.
    “Did Christ change the day?”
    “I answer no!”
    Faithfully yours, “J. Cardinal Gibbons” Gibbons’ autograph letter.
  • As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of;…because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.’
    Henry Tuberville, An Abridgement of the Christian Doctrine, p 58.
  • “The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church.” Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today (1868), p. 213
  • · Does the papacy acknowledge changing the Sabbath?
    It does.
    The Catechismus Romanus was commanded by the Council of Trent and published by the Vatican Press, by order of Pope Pius V, in 1566. This catechism for priests says: “It pleased the church of God, that the religious celebration of the Sabbath day should be transferred to ‘the Lord’s day. Sunday.’
    Catechism of the Council of Trent (Donovan’s translation, 1867), part 3, chap. 4, p. 345. The same in slightly different wording, is in the McHugh and Callan translation (1937 ed.), p. 402.

As said before, there is no Scriptural authority in changing the day of worship from the seventh day to the first day. The Roman Catholic church changed YHVH’s law. This is their mark or sign of authority!

Sunday is our mark of authority…the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.
Catholic Record (September 1, 1923)

If you would like to see more historical proof, you can read it here: http://amightywind.com/wolves/sabbathchanged.htm

According to history we see that first Hadrian, then The Roman Empire, Constantine and later on the Roman Catholic church were instrumental in changing the Forth commandment.

Can man change YHVH’s Word? Is this Scriptural? We are taught that we are not to change the Word of YHVH.

Deuteronomy 4:2
2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH your Elohim that I command you.

Joshua 1:7–8
7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Proverbs 30:6
6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

Rev 22:18-19 is another example.

Nowhere in Scripture will you find support of the change of the seventh day to the first day.

Observing this day as a day of worship is honoring the tradition of man above Scripture. Honoring this day is a sign of submission to the authority of man.

We have seen earlier that the Sabbath was given as a sign of YHVH’s authority.

Exodus 31:13
13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you.

Who’s authority are you under? YHVH’s or man’s?

Popular reasons given for worship on the first day

The following part of the article is from:

http://tzion.org/articles/Gentiles_and_the_Sabbath.html

Taking into account that the New Testament writings were done in the first century, we can conclude that the authors of the New Testament had no desire to change the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday or they would have clearly given this commandment.

Here are the main reasons given by the Church for not keeping the Sabbath on the Seventh day of the week.

  1. “Let no man judge you concerning keeping of holy days, Sabbaths, new moons or festivals.”
  2. Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week.
  3. Today, no one knows which day is the true Sabbath.
  4. Early believers met together to break bread on the first day of the week.
  5. “Sunday represents the ‘eighth day’ for Christians.”
  6. We are no longer under the law, for “Christ was the end of the law”.
  7. Y’shua “fulfilled the law”.

1.  “Let no man judge you concerning keeping of holy days, Sabbaths, new moons or festivals.”

Colossians 2:16
16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—

Colossians 2:16 is most often taken out of context and used to prove that the Sabbath has changed and that it doesn’t matter what day you worship on. The fact is that this verse proves that the Colossians were keeping the Sabbath, holy-days, moons and watching their diet, and that there were some Jews accusing them that they were not observing these things properly. Now notice the conclusion to this dialogue.

Colossians 2:20–22
20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?

Verse 22 specifically states that they were being bothered by the doctrines of men. It does not say by the commandments or doctrines of G-d. Men were accusing the Colossians of improperly keeping the Sabbath. Paul said, “Let no man therefore judge you in …” To use this verse as a proof that Christians may keep any day they wish is ludicrous and out of context.  Think about when this book was written. ~80CE. When did the Churches first stop observing the Sabbath on Saturday? After 364CE. Sabbath observance was not being addressed, nor was the Torah being challenged here. The only thing being challenged here are the ordinances and commandments of men.

Only ignorance or blatant rebellious contention for the Torah and G-d’s authority can be blamed for using this verse out of context this way.

2.  Jesus(Y’shua) rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week.

It is easy to prove that Y’shua rose from the dead before sunrise the first day of the week. John’s account of the resurrection is as follows.

John 20:1
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.

Notice the word day is italicized. This means that the translators added the word to the text in attempt to clarify text which may otherwise seem vague. In this case it causes the mistaken understanding that it was daytime. The text however states “… it was yet dark…”. Remember that the day begins at sundown. Therefore “The first … of the week…” comes at sundown, not at sunrise.

An interesting parallel can be found in Matthew’s reference to the same time period.

Matthew 28:1
1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

When did the two Marys come to the sepulcher? At the end of the Sabbath.

3.  Today, no one knows which day is the true Sabbath.

The statement is simply not true. We know that the weekly calendar has not changed in the number of days per week nor in shifting of the days of the week in any way since the time of Y’shua, and He kept the correct one.

The days were renamed from One, Two, Three, … Shabbat, to Sunday, Monday … Saturday, by the Roman Emperors. Sunday replaced day One, etc., and it has been that way ever since. Additionally, Jews everywhere have been keeping the Seventh day Sabbath since they left Egypt.

4.  Early believers met together to break bread on the first day of the week.

This statement is true, however what does it mean to “break bread”? Most misunderstand this to mean observing the “Lord’s Supper” but they do not realize that the “Lord’s Supper” was a Passover Seder and the early church understood this. They always broke bread when they ate. Bread did not come sliced as it does today. Only recently do the majority of people buy bread from the grocery. In Biblical days bread was baked at home and freely shared among friends and relatives.

5.  “Sunday represents the ‘eighth day’ for Christians.”

While this statement could be used to justify worshipping on a new day, doing so is out of context and has no basis in Scripture. We still have to do something with the commandment “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” Nowhere in Scripture is a command given to change the law of the Sabbath.

6.  We are no longer under the law, for “Christ was the end of the law”.

This verse, found in Romans 10:4, is a very bad translation for today’s English. It worked very well in King James’ day but is totally misunderstood in today’s language. The Greek word which was translated “end” is “telos” meaning “the point at which we are aiming”. “Telos” is part of the root from which we derive “telescope” because it allows us to see more clearly the distant point. The Hebrew word “Torah” has the same meaning so we could accurately translate this misunderstood verse, “Messiah was the Torah of the law” meaning that He lived a life without sin and thereby proved that mankind can keep the Torah.

7.  Yeshua “fulfilled the law”.

He did not destroy the Law, He kept it. He was precisely what the law spoke about. The greatest fulfillment was when he made it possible for you and I to keep it more perfectly (John 1:12).

Matthew 5:17–20
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Conclusion:

The first century congregations scattered across Europe and the Middle East, including all of the gentile congregations kept the Sabbath day holy, observed the holy-days, kept the dietary laws and even recognized the festivals of the new moons of Scripture. They did not convert to Judaism and were therefore not required to obey the Oral Traditions of the rabbis which put greater strictness of regulations on the Jewish believers.

The Torah, however, was observed (Isaiah 56) and resisted the powerful forces of change until at least the middle of the sixth century. It is incumbent on us to resume the place of being Torah observant in our gentile congregations that the G-d of creation may be exalted.

Revelation 18:4–5
4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and Elohim has remembered her iniquities.

Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts. Be obedient!

Hebrews 4:7–11
7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of Elohim. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through the same example of disobedience.

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Comments (2)

  • Carlo

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    Don’t you think that set-apart means to be apart from the Pagan Calendar and days? It is a historical fact that the Gregorian Week day was created by man in honor of the idols of each day. As a set-apart people we need to be part of YAHUAH and His Calendar, but apart from the rest. The 1st day of the Gregorian Calendar was called Sunday because it is the day of the sun, Saturday because the deity of the day is Saturn, etc.

    Reply

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