Where did the Sabbath Go?
Many in society today have lost the Sabbath day and celebrate the First day of the week as a holy day of rest and worship. This was not always so! In fact this goes against everything that the Holy Scriptures or “bible” state to be truth. It has been a systematic removal of Sabbath for the solidification of powers, both evangelical and legal, over a long period of time that has gotten the world to where it is. Let’s look at this as it has occurred:
1.) One of the first known to champion the movement of the Sabbath to Sunday (the “L-rds Day”) was the third bishop of Antioch, Ignatius. Ignatius was born in 50 C.E. and served as Bishop of Antioch 96-117 C.E. following the apostle Kepha (Peter) and Evodius. He was executed (martyred as per Catholicism and Christianity) in the Roman Coliseum under order of Caesar Trajan. He wished to solidify his base of power because he lacked the power and effect of the Apostles of Yahushua. He espoused the power of the Bishop, the use of the Eucharist as a “medicine of immortality,” and the movement away from the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian “L-rd’s Day.” In his epistle to the Magnesians he stated: “Be not seduced by strange doctrines nor by antiquated fables, which are profitless… For if even unto this day we live after the manner of Judaism, we avow that we have not received grace… If then those who walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing Sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the L-rd’s day, on which our life also arose through him and through His death which some men deny… how shall we live apart from Him? It is monstrous to talk of J-sus Christ and to practice Judaism. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity.” Ignatius to the Magnesians 8:1, 9:1-2, 10:3.
He accepted the moniker “Christian”, although further research into the Acts of the Apostles(Acts 11:26, 26:28) shows that the name “Christian” was not a name of affection but a name associated with misguided worship and misunderstanding. Also further proof of the Acts of the Apostles originally being written in Hebrew or Aramaic rather than Greek, because the Greek Septuagint and Codices espouses the name “Christos” for “anointed one” rather than Moshiach and uses “messias” (which is the Greek equivalent of Messiah) only once in its version of the B’rit Chadasha or New Testament. It was also an attempt to distance Antioch from the last remaining supporters of Nazarene Judaism – Jews who kept the Torah of Moses and held to the belief in Yahushua (Yeshua in Aramaic) as the Messiah.
2.) In 135 C.E. Emperor Hadrian, following the Bar Kokhba revolt, prohibited the Torah and its practices, prohibited the Hebrew Calendar, executed Judaic scholars, and wiped the name of Judea and/or Ancient Israel off the map and replaced it with “Syria Palaestna” (After the Philistines, the longtime enemy of Israel). The harmful implications to the revolt were even more magnified against the Nazarene Jews or a sect of Jews known as “The Way.” Rabbi Akiva declared Shimon Bar Kokhba (Bar Kokhba in Aramaic means Son of the Star from Numbers/Bemidbar 24:17 prophesy) messiah and military leader of Yisra’el. After being decimated by General Sextus Julius Severus, they retreated to the fortress of Betar. Bar Kokhba, Rabbi Akiva and the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, and his remaining men entreated the Nazarene Jews to join the fight, on the condition that they accept Shimon as Moshiach. They refused and were removed from communion with the rest of Yehudah (the Jews). Consequently the Jews lost resulting in the previously mentioned actions of Hadrian, as well as the torturous death of the 10 Rabbis in the Sanhedrin and the changing of the remembrance of Bar Kokhba’s name to “Ben-Kusiba” – a derogatory name pointing to him being a false messiah.
3.) In 196 C.E., Victor, bishop of Rome, took it upon himself to impose the Roman custom upon all churches: to observe Passover on Sunday (History of Popes, vol. 1, pg.18). Victor then excommunicated all bishops (mostly in Asia Minor – present day Turkey) that did not comply.
4.) In 321 C.E. Emperor Constantine declared the earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a “legal” duty:
“Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun (Venerabili die Soli); but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty, attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by heaven.”- Edict of March 7, 321 A. D., Corpus Juris Civilis Cod., lib. 3, tit. 12, 3.
5.) Nicaea Council 325 C.E.
Part of the Nicaean Council’s job was to solidify the Chief Deity of its religion, one that was meant to “unify” the entirety of Constantine’s Empire under one state commanded religion. There Iesous Christos was deified as the true G-d, co-eternal with the Father and stated as such in the Nicaean Creed. The concept of the Trinity was espoused as professed by Early Church fathers such as Ignatius and Polycarp. Easter was established as the Holiest of Feast. Under the “Zonaras proviso,” Easter was established as the most holy day in Christendom and that it must fall on a Sunday and always FOLLOW Nisan (Aviv) 15th(which is Passover). Following the adjourning of the Council, Emperor Constantine said this: “At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day. For what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, than that this feast from which we have received with the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation using the same order and a clear arrangement? And in the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind. Since we have cast aside their way of calculating the date of this festival, we can ensure that future generations can celebrate this observance at the more accurate time which we have kept form the first day of passion until the present time.” (Emperor Constantine following the Nicaean Council)
6.) In 350 C.E. Cyril of Jerusalem, the bishop of Jerusalem, from his Catechetical Lectures i.v.33-37 said this of the Sabbath and Judaism (especially 37): “Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans, or into Judaism: for J-sus Christ henceforth has ransomed thee. Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths, and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean.” Obviously this is a slight against Acts 10 and the Torah’s dietary requirements Leviticus/Vayyikra 11:3–8 and Deuteronomy/Devarim 14:3–21 and an exemplification of Early Christian Anti-Semitism.
7.) In 363 – 364 C.E., the Council of Laodicea was convened to solidify the hierarchy of the Apostate Catholic Church, and distance itself from its roots in Judaism. It also removed the solemnity of Shabbat (Sabbath) and further more placed Sunday as the standard day of worship and rest in the Empire. Canons of Particular relevance are Canons 29, 36, 37, &38:
Canon XXIX: “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honoring the L-rd’s Day; and if they can, resting then being Christians. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema from Christos.”
– Up unto the release of these Canons, Churches in the East commemorated the Sabbath day as a day of fasting and celebrated the day of worship on Sunday and Churches in the West of the empire celebrated only Sunday because of the heavy “pagan” influence remaining in that part of the empire. Fasting days were officially relegated to Fridays (the practice of Lent derived from the practice of “Weeping for Tammuz” as described in Yechezq’ĕl/Ezekiel 8) and the Sabbath day became a regular day of work.
Canon XXXVI: “The Gospels are to be read on the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday), with other scriptures.”
– No longer would “Torah Portions” only be read on the Sabbath day which became Sunday, but readings from the B’rit Chadasha or New Testament would be read with more emphasis because the Iesous Christos’ power as the Chief Deity resided only in the New Testament.
Canon XXXVII: “It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feast of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them.”
– This was a slap in the face of Judaism and Nazarene Judaism: Judaism would not accept Yahushua as Messiah because the Christians claimed that he freed them from the Torah of Moses/Mosheh, and Nazarene Judaism would not accept mixed worship in “churches” of a “Greek Messiah” or pagan idolatry. Also it inherently goes against the celebration of the majority of Hebrew feast: Matzah, Shavuot, and Sukkot require the faithful to not come empty handed, to give portions of their increase to each other, the poor, the widow, and the orphan. It also goes against all previously established forms of Covenant, which is/was essential to life as a believer in Yahweh.
Canon XXXVIII: “It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.”
– This further removed Christianity from celebrating Pesach/Passover and Matzah/Feast of Unleavened Bread as described in the Scriptures in further elevated the new Holy Day of the empire: “Easter” derived from the worship of Ishtar or Ashtoreth, the Samarian and Babylonian G-ddess of Fertility, and the worship of Mithras/ Nimrod – Sun worship.
So, what is the answer to our Sabbath Problem:
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 16:19-21 –
(19) O Yahweh, my Strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress the gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them.”
(20) Would a man make mighty ones for himself, which are not mighty ones?
(21) “Therefore see, I am causing them to know, this time I cause them to My hand and My might. And they shall know My Name is Yahweh!”
Tehellim (Psalms) 37:34 – Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
– We have inherited the lies of our Fathers, but Yahweh will reveal himself to his people and they will inherit the kingdom through his Son Yahushua Ha’Moshiach. Those who worship the Greek Messiah will be in serious trouble as stated in Mattityahu/Matthew 12:7-8, Marcos/Mark 2:27-28, and Luços/Luke 6:5-6
Marcos (Mark) 2:27-28 –
(27) And he said to them: “The Shabbat was made for man and not man for the Shabbat”
(28) “So the Son of Adam is also the Master of Shabbat.”
– Yahushua, who refers to himself more as the Son of Adam/Man than the Son of Elohim in the B’rit Chadasha, is the Adonai/Master of Shabbat. If you do not celebrate recognize Shabbat, who are you worshipping?
Remember the Sabbath – one of the pinnacle laws set forth by Yahweh from the beginning of Creation:
Genesis (Beresheit) 2:2-3 –
(2) And on 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 made.
(3) And Elohim blessed the seventh day and set it apart(kodesh), because on it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made.
Shemoth (Exodus) 20:8 – “Remember the Shabbat day, to set it apart.”
Shemoth (Exodus) 20:10-11 –
(10) but the seventh day is a Shabbat of Yahweh your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
(11)”For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Shabbat day and set it apart.”
Shemoth (Exodus) 31:12-17 –
(12) And Yahweh spoke to Mosheh, saying,
(13)”And You speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘My Shabbats you are to guard, by all means, for it is a sign between me and you, throughout your generations, to know that I, Yahweh, am setting YOU apart.
(14) ‘And you shall guard the Shabbat, for it is set-apart to you. Everyone who profanes it shall certainly be put to death, for anyone who does work on it, that being shall be cut off from among his people.
(15) ‘Six days work is done, and on the seventh is a Shabbat of rest, set-apart to Yahweh. Everyone doing work on the Shabbat shall certainly be put to death.
(16) ’And the children of Yisra’el shall guard the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant.
(17) ’Between Me and the children of Yisra’el it is a sign Forever. For in six days Yahweh made shamayim and ha’aretz, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”
Also reference Exo 35:2-3; Lev 16:31, Lev 19:3, Lev 19:30, Lev 23:3, Lev 23:11, Lev 23:15, Num 15:32, Deu 5:14-15
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot (Yod the tenth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Beyt) or one tittle(vav/waw, the sixth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Beyt) will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Luços (Luke) 16:17 – “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail”
The evidence speaks for itself in this case, any other words which I have offered do little to change that. You may be thinking – “what does this have to do with me?” Regardless of your denomination of Christianity, or religion in general, there was a day set aside for rest and worship – the seventh day of the week called Shabbat/Sabbath. Our Messiah walked this Earth for approximately 33 years and never once gave a decree or statute to change the day of worship! If it was so important, don’t you think he would have said something? The reason is very simple: If He spoke one word against the Torah, the loving instructions of Our Almighty Father, he would be disqualified as Messiah! I beg you to search out the scriptures and seek the truth out, worship in the manner in which He seeks those to follow him – “in spirit and truth!”
Yochanan (John) 4:23-24: (23) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. (24) Elohim is spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and truth.
I pray that this study was challenging and enriching for you!