“Changing the Sabbath”

jesus-christ-pics-1110

This is the 6th post in a series, for the previous post please click HERE.

One of the things that SDA teach is that all early Christians kept the Sabbath.  I was taught that the Seventh-Day Sabbath was kept by all Christians until the Pope made Constantine officially change the Sabbath.  Ellen White even plainly asserts that it was the Pope who “changed the the sabbath”.

“But the Pope had changed it [Sabbath] from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws.” – Ellen White, 1847, A Word to the Little Flock

The arguments that SDA offer to back this up are the following:

  • SDA assert that all early Christians kept the Sabbath.
  • SDA will quote the Sunday law that Constantine made shortly after the council of Nicea.
  • SDA will usually show you a letter that the Roman Catholic church put out owning up to being the ones who changed the Sabbath.
  • SDA will teach you about the Waldenses who kept the Sabbath well into the reformation when they were all wiped out by the Pope.

The last point there always convicted me more than the others.  The reason that the Waldenses mattered to me so much for my beliefs on the historic Sabbath truth was a point of logic.  Since I learned from the “Keepers of the Flame” series growing up that they were an untouched remnant of the early Christian faith, then the fact that they were also Sabbath keepers must mean that we all should be.

After learning what the Bible really said as demonstrated in my previous posts, I still wanted to conduct some more research.  Because if the above bullets are actually true as the SDA teach then that would have seemed conflicting to me, so I had to explore it.

Did early Christians really keep the Sabbath?

The answer to this one is yes and no.  There were early Church Fathers who did keep the Saturday Sabbath.  They were however in the minority, and historians report that Sabbath keeping among Christians died out completely as early as 70 – 120 AD.  For those who don’t know, Constantine’s law and the council of Nicea didn’t happen until after 325 AD.  That means that one cannot assert that Constantine “changed the Sabbath” as his laws post date the end of Sabbath keeping altogether.

Below are some Quotes from Early Church fathers to help establish my above points, there are many more such references in our history if you want to find them:

The Epistle of Barnabas, 70-120 AD: Wherefore we Christians keep the eighth day for joy, on which also Jesus arose from the dead and when he appeared ascended into heaven. – The Epistle of Barnabas, section 15, 100 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, pg. 147

Justin Martyr, 150 AD: But Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day of the week and Jesus our saviour on the same day rose from the dead. – First apology of Justin, Ch 68

Ignatius of Antioch, 107 AD: let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days of the week. – Epistle to the Magnesians, chp 9. Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, pg. 62-63.

which of course proves that John was not referring to Saturday when he said the following:

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” Rev 1:10 ESV

Did the Waldenses keep the Sabbath?

The answer to this one is a flat out no.  The assertion that they did is simply a lie, and I don’t have a problem saying that as it turns out that SDA’s have been corrected on this many times but don’t seem to care.

The truth of the Waldenses is actually better than fiction and I recommend anyone to look into it.  Yes they were persecuted for their faith.  They were not however wiped out and you can even visit them today if you want to.

For a website dedicated to their history please click HERE.

For a letter written by an actual living Waldensian stating that they never kept the “Sabbath truth” please click HERE.

Did the Pope Change the Sabbath?

Based simply on the fact that the supremacy of Rome, and the office of the Pope did not come about until many years after Constantine was dead should put this one to rest.  However, the SDA do have that letter from the Roman Catholics confidently asserting that they did in fact change the Sabbath and that they have the authority to do things like this as often as they like.

Please don’t forget though that Roman Catholics also teach that Peter was the first Pope, so anything he did they actually claim credit for.  The Roman Catholic doctrine of apostolic succession is a key component to their belief that they changed the Sabbath because anything the apostles did, the Roman Catholic church did.  It is not intellectually honest for SDA to deny apostolic succession and then by the same token embrace the teachings that follow from it to bolster an unrelated point.

If you want more reading on this I recommend:

The Lord’s Day From Neither Catholics nor Pagans an Answer to Seventh-Day Adventism by D.M. Canright

He was an early SDA preacher who actually knew EGW personally. His book is only a buck on kindle and well worth the read.

To be clear, I don’t believe that anyone changed the Sabbath.  It was simply fulfilled on the cross, a careful exegesis of Hebrews chapters 1-4 teaches that Jesus Christ is our Sabbath rest now.

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Leaving Adventism, New Covenant and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to “Changing the Sabbath”

  1. Paul Fireblack says:

    U HAVE SAID SUNDAY IS THE LORD’S DAY, BUT NO SCRIPTURE TO SUPPORT THAT, THEY SUPPORT SATURDAY.

    let’s compare these scriptures

    Saturday “13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on MY HOLY DAY; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: ” Isa.58

    In addition to that, John stated:
    “10 I was in the Spirit on the LORD’S DAY, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,” Rev.1

    IT CAN’T BE SUNDAY, THAT’S A LIE.

    Even Paul kept the true Sabbath of the 4 commandment. “2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,” Acts.17

    And He reminded us to keep the Sabbath Holy (Heb.4:1-11)

    Like

    • nursingninja says:

      I addressed your comment about the Lord’s day in my blog. Perhaps you would like more context?

      The Epistle of Barnabas, 70-120 AD: Wherefore we Christians keep the eighth day for joy, on which also Jesus arose from the dead and when he appeared ascended into heaven. – The Epistle of Barnabas, section 15, 100 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, pg. 147

      Justin Martyr, 150 AD: But Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day of the week and Jesus our saviour on the same day rose from the dead. – First apology of Justin, Ch 68

      Ignatius of Antioch, 107 AD: let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days of the week. – Epistle to the Magnesians, chp 9. Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, pg. 62-63.

      Please notice the dates on those quotes, early Christians referred to Sunday as the Lords day. Sabbatarianism died out completely between 70 AD and 120 AD. I am sure that you know that Revelation was written by John in 90 AD. So it is completely reasonable to assert that John was talking about Sunday in Revelation 1.

      Furthermore, you quoted Isaiah. I used to know this quote myself, but please notice that Isaiah lived in the time of the Old Covenant. He is referring to the whole Torah, which was types and shadows of Christ. Hebrews says that the Old Covenant is now obsolete, but it was not in the time of Isaiah. Please see the following blogs for more details and feel free to comment whatever you like.

      1. HERE
      2. HERE
      3. and HERE

      You mentioned that Paul kept the Sabbath. Well it would be more accurate to state that he Preached in the synagogue, remember this is the Apostle who wrote Galatians. I recommend you read that all the way through its only 6 chapters. I saw we let Paul speak for himself:

      “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” http://bible.com/111/1co.9.20-23.niv

      It should be noted that every observance of Sabbath in the New Testament is connected with Jewish usage. With that in mind I believe Paul has spoken for himself just fine.

      I address other SDA prooftexts here, I think you will notice that once they are adopted into sound hermenuetics they are no longer SDA prooftexts though:

      1. HERE

      At the very least you should see that I am coming by my doctrine honestly. I am certainly not lying. I think it is important that the scripture speak for itself without our helping it along. However when you do that you need to take a wider view and keep everything in context.

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      • James Waterhouse says:

        How can you use extra-biblical texts to prove something contrary to what God clearly says in the Bible? He said Sabbath is my day and you say “But man said Sunday is his day!” God is alive. Barnabas, Justin Martyr, and Ignatius of Antioch are all dead! There are withered grass and you have built your house on their straw. Sounds like a lot of assumptions to me. Were they holy men? Did they speak for the majority of believers? Are the text uncorrupted? Do you have answers for all of these questions? Did not John say is his epistles that the spirit of antichrist had all ready risen? Are they speaking with the voice of antichrist? To base your religion on the traditions and histories of men and not solely on the word of God (mixing the two is unacceptable also) is to court eternal disaster.

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      • Armchair Theologian says:

        You are arguing the straw man. I didn’t say that the sabbath is obsolete because of the Church fathers. I said it is obsolete because the Bible says so. That is my primary argument.

        Secondary is a refutation of the argument SDA put forward. They say all early Christians kept the sabbath and that it was first changed to Sunday by Constantine and the Pope in the fourth century.

        Obviously that is rendered false if early Christians were in consensus on Sunday in the first century.

        Also I would argue that this helps argue for my interpretive principles. If I coming to the same conclusions on the Biblical texts that those who knew and spoke to the Apostles did I think I’m in good company.

        You would have to be arguing that the Church Christ said he’ll itself cannot overcome went full blown apostate in the first century.

        I would instead offer that the non-biblical teachings didn’t take root until the later have of the first millennium AD. That is when you see prayers to saints, maryiology, transubstantiation, etc. Which fortunately the reformation corrected.

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      • James Waterhouse says:

        Quoting you, “It should be noted that every observance of Sabbath in the New Testament is connected with Jewish usage.”
        So you have found a way to make void the evidence of God’s word for the Sabbath by the use of your traditions and reasoning? Your then, like the Catholic church, Babylon, must stand on tradition. God gave you his clear word and you chose the traditions of man over that.

        By the way, just for your knowledge… the Adventist church in prophecy is just an angel, a messenger, and is not the woman, the church, because the church is in Babylon. The Adventist church is supposed to call God’s people out…

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      • Armchair Theologian says:

        That’s not my opinion that is fact. Paul even says so in 1 Cor 9:20-23. Look it up.

        Also plain reason would show that they evangelised in the Jewish synagogue, which services were of course held on Saturday.

        But when we see Christians breaking bread together its on Sunday. (Acts 20:7)

        Also see Col 2:16-17 and Rom 14:5

        I found that SDA tend to abuse those verses and twist them to their theology. I just read them plainly and believe what the say at face value. The Bible is not a code.

        I’m understanding to the teaching SDA are burdeoned under though. Which is why my blog focuses on the verses that led me out.

        Like

      • Armchair Theologian says:

        As I said before thanks for reading and commenting.

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  2. Warrior says:

    All your comments are not Biblically supported so I don’t see any truth in them

    Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      With respect, you obviously have not yet read “all” my comments. This post isn’t seeking to make a Biblical argument, it is making a historical one. SDA make historical claims related to the Sabbath and I am demonstrating from History that said claims are false. If you want a Biblical argument I recommend you look at the others in the New Covenant series. Click HERE to be directed to a page detailing each of them.

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      • Kaliye Palata says:

        My brother is an Adventist and I’m getting concerned because he now believes we have to keep a bunch of laws in the old covenant not just the Sabbath.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        Yeah that’s very common. It’s hard with family too! I will pray for you.

        If you ever want me to I would be willing to email him a link to the blog. That way it’s not coming from you.

        actheologian@outlook.com

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  3. The problem with the Adventists is not that they believe that the 7th day is the Sabbath. The problem is, they believe in a God that would doom everyone who doesn’t keep the 7th day Sabbath to everlasting hellfire or to eternal annihilation. This is cult-like behavior- you have to do xyz or you will be doomed, sentenced, rejected, judged, etc. What kind of God dooms someone for keeping a particular day of the week holy? Especially when He Himself says that Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. This is exactly the behavior of the pharisees who killed Jesus because he didn’t keep their “law”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Calvin says:

    I like your posts because they are educative …
    .I hope to learn more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ngans says:

    Before there was a Jew,adventist ,Baptist,Constantine etc God said this ……..Genesis
    2 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
    Adventist and Jews do not own Sabbath ….there were NOT THERE when the seven days of the week were instituted at creation…..THE WORDS BLESSED AND SANCTIFIED are PIVOTAL…..this happens before SIN enters the human race at all…..The same way Marriage is HOLY because of the One who instituted it,its not for any group of people,or church
    Sabbath keeping study by any armchair student should not be motivated by anti Jewish or anti adventism ,that is a wrong motivation,nor should it be feasting on errors and miss the big picture…………WHEN CHRIST IS THOROUGHLY SOUGHT EVERY READER WILL COME TO KNOW THAT THE SABBATH WAS THERE AT CREATION JUST LIKE MARRIAGE ….WE HAVE NO BUSINESS DEBATING ADVENTIST OR JEWS….LOOK AT THE TEXT IN GENESIS 2.There are many God loving people who have discovered the sabbath truths who are not jEWS AND ARE NOT ADVENTIST……mark 2:27 they simply realised its made for man….which includes every one…..Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
    it is a fatal mistake to focus on a subject with a particular group in mind and miss THAT they are thousands who love the Lord who have arrived at the Sabbath truth with just one verse
    GENESIS 2:1-3.
    THAT WAS GOD S PATTERN FROM THE START……6 DAYS WORK AND THEN REST……ITS TIME TO READ WITH A FOCUS ON God and not on Jews or adventists…..People arrive at these truths thru the help of God
    Best wishes!

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