Subtle was the transition from Sabbath to Sunday worship. Decree by decree, and canon by canon, God’s commands were substituted with man’s traditions (Matthew 15:1-9). As per Dr. T. H. Morer,
The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the apostles themselves, as appears by scriptures to the purpose (189).
But, the apostle Paul also prophesies that before Christ returns, the church would fall away from the truth, and be led by the man of sin, “whose coming is after the working of Satan” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 9). For instead of receiving the love of the truth, the church would spurn God’s word and be sent, “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). And so it came to pass. As early as A.D. 150 to three centuries thereafter, the leaders of the church in Constantinople, seeking to separate themselves from Jews, starting transferring the solemnities of the Sabbath to Sunday, erroneously called the Lord’s day*. But notice how the deception crept in:
“‘It is certain that the ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed together with the celebration of the Lord’s day by the Christians of the East Church, above three hundred years after our Saviour’s death.’ ‘A Learned Treatise of the Sabbath,’ p. 77)” (Coltheart 7).
Before, the seventh day Sabbath was abandoned by Christians, Sunday sacredness was added to their practices. And the Roman Catholic Church purported this added rest day was in honor of Jesus’s resurrection (Marcussen 35). But if we examine the gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ burial and resurrection, we see that all time references revolve around the Sabbath (Matthew 27:57-28:8; Mark 15:42-16:8; Luke 23:50-24:9; John 19:38-20:10). And there is no verse in scripture, commanding God’s people to honor Sunday in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. The rather, God has given us the ordinance of baptism of which Paul writes:
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). See also Colossians 2:12.
Now, when Constantine I acended to the throne, (A.D. 305), the empire was soon to fall apart. The northern part of Rome was being sacked by the Gothics tribes who were growing in power (White 59). Constantine thus, decided to fuse the two main rival religions: Mithraism and Christianity. The former, “was worship of the Mithra, the Persian Sun god. Its adherents worshipped the sun at sunrise on the first day of the week” (White 56). While Christians, worshipped Christ and honored God as Creator on the seventh day (White 56). In synthesizing the two, the empire would be united under one religion. Note that by the time Constantine I converted to Christianity, Jews were hated by the government and clergy (Seaver 6, 7). And, Christians at Alexandria and Rome were already using Sunday to distinguish themselves from Jews. So in the Edict of March 7, A.D. 321 Constantine I declares:
“Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun. But let those dwelling in the country freely and with liberty attend to the culture of their fields…’Codex Justin,’ lib. iii, tit. xiii, l. 3” (Lewis 19).
This was the first civil legislation of Sunday rest.
By A.D. 336, the church’s odium for Jews was so pronounced that the leaders of the Roman Catholic decreed this canon in the Council of Laodicea:
“CANON XXIX. Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the LORD’S Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be Anathema from CHRIST” (Fulton and Shaff 259).
This Council made official the church’s exaltation of Sunday and disregard of the Sabbath (The Whole Works of Jeremy Taylor, Vol. IX, 416 (R. Herber’s Edition, Vol XII, 416).
Even Socrates remarks:
“For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrated the sacred mysteries (The Lord’s supper) on the Sabbath of every week**, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, refuse to do this” (Socrates 289)
Now, is the Roman Catholic Church conscious of this? Listen to the Papacy’s words.
“Which is the Sabbath day?
“Saturday is the Sabbath day.
“Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday” (Geiermann, 41).
“Q. What warrant have you for keeping the Sunday, preferably to the ancient Sabbath, which was the Saturday?
“A. We have for it the authority of the Catholic Church, and apostolical tradition.
“Q. Does the scripture any where command the Sunday to be kept for the Sabbath?
“A. The scripture commands us to hear the Church, St. v Matt. xviii. 17, St. Luke. x. 16, and to hold fast the traditions of the apostles, 2 Thess. ii. 15; but the scripture does not in particular mention this change of the Sabbath” (Challoner, 202).
Friends, “‘The Catholic Church…by virtue of her divine missions, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.’ –The Catholic Mirror, September 23, 1893, a Baltimore-based Catholic weekly (the official organ for Cardinal Gibbons)” (Ferrell 97).
Thank You Jesus!
*”The Mithraites called Sunday ‘the Lord’s Day,’ in honor of Lord Mithra” (White 59). According to the Bible the seventh day Sabbath is the Lord’s day (Matthew 12:8).
**The footnote for “on the sabbath of every week” reads: “That is, upon Saturday. It should be observed, that Sunday is never called ‘the sabbath’ ([Greek translation]) by the ancient Fathers and historians, but ‘the Lord’s day‘ ([Greek translation])…”
Challoner, Richard. The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments, Sacrifice, Ceremonies, and Observances of the Church. By Way of Question and Answer. Baltimore: J. Murphy, 1878, Internet Archive, archive.org/details/CatholicChristianInstructed/page/n217/mode/2up, Accessed 12 July 2020.
Coltheart, J. F. The Sabbath of God through the Centuries, 1954. Leaves-of-Autumn Books, 1978, archive.org/details/TheSabbathOfGodThroughTheCenturiesByElderJ.F.Coltheart1954/page/n9/mode/2up, Accessed 15 July 2020.
Ferrell, Vance. Sunday Is Not the Bible Sabbath. Harvestime Books, 2011. Accessed 13 July 2020.
Fulton, John, and Philip Schaff. Index Canonum: Containing the Canons Called Apostolical, the Canons of the Undisputed General Councils, and the Canons of the Provincial Councils of Ancyra, Neo-Cæsarea, Gangra, Antioch and Laodicea ; in Greek and English, Together with a Complete Digest of the Whole Code of Canon Law in the Undivided Primitive Church … Pott, Young & Co., 1872, play.google.com/books/reader?id=Q9tIAQAAMAAJ&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA259, Accessed 07 July 2020.
Geiermann, Father Peter. The Convert’s Cathecism of Catholic Doctrine. 1937, Internet Archive, archive.org/details/converts-catechism, Accessed 13 July 2020.
Lewis, Abram Herbert. Critical History of Sunday Legislation from 321 to 1888 A.d. D. Appleton and Company, 1888, play.google.com/books/reader?id=PmAXAAAAYAAJ&pg=GBS.PP4, Accessed 30 June 2020.
Marcussen, A. Jan. National Sunday Law. Amazing Truth Publications (P.O. Box 68), 1963. Accessed 30 June 2020.
Scholasticus, Socrates, et al. The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, Surnamed Scholasticus, or the Advocate: Comprising a History of the Church, in Seven Books, from the Accession of Constantine, A.D. 305, to the 38th Year of Theodosius II., Including a Period of 140 Years. H. Bohn, 1853. HathiTrust, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433068232689&view=1up&seq=319, Accessed 09 July 2020.
Seaver, James Everett. Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-438). University of Kansas Publications, 1952. Google Scholar, scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C33&q=jewish+persecution+by+romans&btnG=, Accessed 07 July 2020.
Taylor, Jeremy, and Reginald Heber. The Whole Works of Jeremy Taylor, with a Life of the Author and a Critical Examination of His Writings by R. Heber. XII, Ogle, Duncan & Co., 1828. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=1fcCAAAAQAAJ&pg=GBS.PA416, Accessed 6 July 2020.