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Could you tell me why the Sunday-Law of Constantine is ignored as if Sunday is mentioned in the Greek Scriptures. Is this not a turning point of the history of the apostasy of the church as prophesied in 2nd Thessalonians 2?

February 2010

I assume that you are referring to the law Constantine passed in 321 AD that closed all courts of law on Sunday and placed restrictions on the use of slave labor except for certain farming activities. He also changed the market day for farmers to Sunday, encouraging Romans not to work everyday of the week. These two changes pushed the culture into observing some kind of "sabbath" day of rest. This was not an enforced law, but a way to encourage Sunday as a day for worship. When he passed these laws he recognized them as "the day of the sun," and was not forcing anyone to attend Christian church. It could be that Constantine recognized the sun to keep from putting pressure on Romans to embrace Christianity. Like his father, Constantine exhibited moderation with respect to Christianity. [Kind of like having a Christian President who does not want to force Christianity on all Americans - and most Christians would NOT want this either.]

Christians started worshipping on Sunday to observe "The Lord's Day" early in the first century. Jewish Christians celebrated the Sabbath day of rest AND met for Christian worship on Sunday mornings. Gentile believers worshipped only on Sunday unless they happened to be in a mainly Jewish church - but this was not easy since Gentiles were not openly welcomed in the Temple or synagogues. Gentiles were more welcome IF they were converting to Judaism, but as Christians this would NOT be a viable option (Paul's letter to the Galatians makes this quite clear).

Early in the second century (after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD when Jewish worship was greatly affected) the mainly Gentile church began to show anti-Jewish sentiments. Many believed that the destruction of the Temple was God's judgement against Israel and you can read an anger towards Jews (read comments on Barnabas; Marcion also reflects this attitude).

Worship on Sunday, the Eighth Day

I realize that many will contest what I have just written, but there are numerous examples from church fathers in the first and second centuries which make it clear that Gentile Christians met on the eighth day to commemorate the resurrection day of Jesus. There was a clear anti-Jewish strain in the early Gentile church - I am not saying this is good, but it is historically true.

Finally He says to them; "Your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot endure." You can perceive His meaning: it is not your present Sabbaths that are acceptable, but the Sabbath which I have made...when I have set all things at rest, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world. Therefore, we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in which Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens. Moreover I will tell you likewise concerning the temple, how these wretched men, being led astray, set their hope on the building, and not on their God that made them, as being a house of God.    - Barnabas 15:8-16:1

You can see the promotion of Sunday AND the anti-Jewish sentiment in this text.
The Didache also speaks of worship on the Lord's day, a reference to Sunday (Didache 14:1). Ignatius of Antioch (cir 112-120 AD) also speaks of worship on Sunday AND reveals this anti-Jewish sentiment:

If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death - whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith....Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness...Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity. For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven....It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity...  Ignatius - To the Magnesians 9-10
Sent by a reader, June 14, 2013
I'd like to add what Justin Martyr said in his 1st Apology:

CHAPTER LXVII -- WEEKLY WORSHIP OF THE CHRISTIANS
And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

Greetings ! Thank you for your kind reply and I need to listen to you fully when you can fully explain Scripturally, in due course. Thanking you, Yours in His service,
M.P.S.Raju


As you well know, there is no clear evidence from the scriptures for worship on Sunday just as there is no clear evidence that Christians met in church buildings, no clear evidence in the NT for tithing, no clear evidence for musical instruments being used in worship, Yet there IS evidence for women wearing a head covering, being silent in church, baptism for the dead, consumption of alcoholic beverages, and possibly even polygamy...

The point is that the New Testament does not contain ALL information about everything. No matter what tradition you are in I can find something that you believe that is NOT clearly established in the New Testament. And this is the danger of trying to hold to a literalist position with the biblical text. Many of the church fathers struggled with this - it is nothing new. The biblical text is not meant to be held together without tension. This explains why the Church has always had men who have disagreed in their interpretations on the text. Those who demand a literal reading of everything must strain in the their interpretations (and logic) in order to try to present a position without conflicting data.

Jesus was a Jew, living under the Law and His audience in the first instance was Jews living under the Law. Yes, Jesus did speak positively about the Law and Jesus did keep the Sabbath (although not like the Pharisees demanded). But the resurrection was the beginning of the "New" covenant - see the text quoted from Hebrews below. I realize that you may strongly disagree with me here, but that is my opinion and my position. Happy to hear yours.


10-23-2010
From: Paul

The early church met on Sundays. This can be traced as far back as the Day of Pentecost: every time Christ appeared to the 11 it was on the first day of the week which is Sunday. The apostle paul spoke about sabbaths and new moons. He said do not hold it against any christian for observing or not observing any day. He even spoke on eating certain food or eating foods sacrificed to idols saying "let no man judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a holy day or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days".
So it is clear to me that these things do not affect a believer's salvation. See Colossians 2:13-16

I get many comments regarding this issue from both sides, arguing whether keeping the Sabbath is a New Testament requirement or not. I have noticed those who write me in favor of keeping the Sabbath are very dogmatic. It reminds me of the Judaizers in their opposition to the Apostle Paul and his outreach to Gentiles - they demanded that the Gentile believers be circumcised and obey the Laws of Moses. Paul would not "give in to them for a moment" (Gal 2:5).

This is THE topic of Paul's letter to the Galatians. Paul was not opposed to Jewish believers keeping the Law - he just did not want that demand on the Gentiles. I do not care if a Christian wants to worship on Saturday, the Sabbath. Worship on ANY day is good. My problem (and I think Paul agrees) is do not make this demand on others.

2013-06-14
Amazingly, I am now getting e-mail from those who do not think Paul was a legitimate apostle. Douglas Del Tondo and I have exchanged several e-mails on this topic: Was Paul a Heretic?.

For Those Who Send Me E-mail Arguing that Gentiles Must Observe the Sabbath
Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem was all about what was to be demanded of Gentiles coming to Christ. In the end they agreed that Gentiles would only be required to abstain from meat offered to idols, meat strangled, blood and sexual immorality.

Paul later writes in Romans 14:
v2 One personís faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. v3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

v5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. v6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

v14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

v17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit

It is quite clear that Paul does not even agree with the food regulation set out in Acts 15, but more importantly in Acts 15 although they did set down a few food laws they said NOTHING about the Sabbath.

If YOU want to live the Old Covenant you can. I think God's grace is abundant for you. But the NT is quite clear that Gentiles are NOT required to follow the Old Covenant. Paul actually says that to do so causes the grace of God to have NO effect:

Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Gal 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Then the writer to Hebrews
8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. v8 But God found fault with the people and said:
The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant.
v13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Note from Reader (12-31-2012)
As far as the Jerusalem council in Acts 15,yes, they did give four gentile requirements, but too many people "stop" reading there. James is speaking and he goes on to say in v21, "for Moses has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogue every sabbath day." This infers: Let's require the gentiles to these four, BUT they will continue to learn about the Torah, and God of Israel (whom they are now worshipping) as they attend synagogue on the sabbath. A specific "sunday worship" would not be anything special because in Acts 2 we read that their routine was to meet daily in the temple, and break bread from house to house (while most certainly recognizing a saturday sabbath, but NOW realizing Jesus is the true fulfillment of that rest, our Prince of peace.)

This argument completely fails.
1. The Council in Acts 15 was not being held to discuss how to deal with Gentiles following the Law. It was called to discuss "how much" of the Law MUST the Gentiles follow.
2. In v19 James says, "...we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. v20 Instead we should write to them, telling them..." Then he lists the four things they should observe.
In v28, Luke records in the letter sent: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:" Then he lists the four things they should observe.
3. This reader misrepresents v21
The text reads in the aorist tense, past tense. James is saying that Moses has been preached and read everywhere, thus IF a Gentile wanted to follow the Law they can attend a synagogue. THIS meeting was NOT about Gentiles wanting to follow the Law.

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