A Rebuttal to Jacob Michael of
Catholic Apologetics International
on the Sabbath / Sunday Issue


Jacob Michael resigned from Catholic Apologetics International about May 1st, 2003, and the following article by him was subsequently removed from the CAI web site. Here is how the index page at CAI promoted Jacob Michael's article:

When God commanded that the seventh day be honored and hallowed as the Sabbath in the Old Testament, did He ever intend that someday Sunday would be the normal day of Christian worship? The Seventh Day Adventist says no, and it is a mark of the Beast to practice anything but Saturday/Sabbath worship. In this article, Jacob Michael shows how this position is, literally and Scripturally, impossible to defend.

Jacob now has his own web site A Lumen Gentleman, and his article is here. Jacob's article on Sabbath / Sunday appears in its entirety in the colored boxes below, with my rebuttal interspersed between his remarks.

I'll Follow the Son (The Lunacy of Seventh Day Adventistism)

Which day of the week is the proper day for worshiping God? Is it Saturday? Sunday? Does it even matter? The Jews of the Old Testament certainly thought it did, and by Divine Command they honored the Sabbath day on the seventh day of the week (Saturday), keeping it holy by refraining from labor, on pain of death (under the Mosaic Law).

Two different issues are raised here.

1.) Which day, Saturday the 7th day of the week, or Sunday the 1st day of the week, is the correct day to worship God?

Note that it is admitted that God's Commandment to remember the 7th day (Saturday) Sabbath day to keep it holy, is relevant to this issue (Exo. 20:8-11).

2.) Even if we can establish which day is "proper" (i.e., correct), "does it even matter?"  To whom it would matter, in either case, should be addressed.

Saturday: I think it is self evident that since God included the 7th day Sabbath rest in the 10 commandments, written in stone by His own finger on mount Sinai, it is indeed an issue that matters to God at least. Because it clearly mattered to God, it should also matter to those who profess to be His children, whether Jew or Gentile. The keeping of the Commandments of God by the people of God is a theme repeated throughout scripture, Old and New Testament.

So if it can be established that the 7th day Saturday Sabbath, as specified in the 10 Commandments of God, has never been rescinded by God and continues in effect to this day, then it remains for the people of God to remember it and keep it holy, as He commands:

The Sabbath Commandment of God

Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

See The Seal of God in the Old and New Covenants.

Sunday: If on the other hand, it can be proved from scripture that the Saturday Sabbath was replaced by Sunday observance by the Apostles, to honor the resurrection, well then "does it even matter?" Note that if true, this would establish that the Church, based on a presumed authority, could abolish or amend one of the 10 Commandments of God.

The Sunday obligation [of the Roman Catholic Church]

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." ...

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.[119] Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church Online.

That the Roman Catholic Church commands its people to assist at Sunday Mass each and every Sunday, and that to neglect that duty and deliberately absent oneself from Sunday Mass is said to be committing a grave sin, demonstrates the importance it places on the issue. Sunday worship for the Roman Catholic Church is a foundational issue of paramount importance to establishing their identity as Christians, and to establishing their authority as a Church, authority that even extends over one of the precepts of God, which, as we shall see, they boldly admit changing.

Today, in the 21st century, this seventh-day literalism is upheld by a group called the Seventh Day Adventists. Like all other Protestant denominations, they claim that their position is biblical, and that to worship on Sunday is to submit to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. They claim that it is a sign of the antiChrist (whom they associate with the pope) that he will "think to change times and laws" (Dan. 7:25), and that the Catholic Church's transferring of the worship from Saturday to Sunday fulfills this prophecy.

One author claims:

"Plainly the Sabbath day is the Lordís Day. The Bible itself has cited this fact. But a new question arises: Which day is the Sabbath?... God, Himself, designated Saturday, the seventh day of the week, as the Lordís Day... at no time do the Biblical writers refer to the first day of the week as the Lordís Day. Constantly they refer to the Sabbath, never once referring to it as the former Sabbath or in any other way indicating that the seventh day of the week no longer held validity as Godís holy day... If Sabbath observance is the external sign of the seal of the living God, then clearly the adherence to a counterfeit Sabbath, one which God has never blessed or hallowed, is the external sign of the mark of the beast at the close of probationary time." (The Sunday Law, [www.sundaylaw.net/books/other/standish/plasl/pltoc.htm])

The Seventh Day Adventists are not fooling around here! This is quite a bold claim, in fact, to say that worshiping on Sunday, the "counterfeit Sabbath," is the "external sign of the mark of the beast" in Revelation. In other words, if you're not worshiping on Saturday, you bear the mark of the beast, and as anyone who has read about the beast and his mark in Revelation knows, that means you'll be damned with the beast when the Lord returns.

So how accurate is this claim? Is it true that the bible conclusively supports a seventh-day worship? Was this Mosaic Law never abrogated? Is Sunday worship the mark of a beast-follower, one who has submitted to the rule of the antiChrist pope?

It is not hard to refute these claims. In fact, we can soundly reject them on two levels, 1) historical, and 2) Scriptural. Let's deal with the words of Scripture first.

Is Sundaykeeping to honor the Resurrection Scriptural?

"And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him." (Mk. 16:2-6)

Here we see the first and foremost reason why the early Church began to worship on the first day of the week (Sunday), instead of the seventh day (Saturday). It was on Sunday that the Lord rose from the dead, and thus it was honored as "the Lord's Day."

That the resurrection was on a Sunday, I will concede, but no where in the New Testament is any Sunday gathering attributed to honoring the resurrection. Neither does scripture identify the phrase "the Lord's Day" as meaning Sunday, its one and only use being found in Revelation 1:10.

See: Did the Apostles Keep Sunday?

We can see how quickly this [Sunday worship] practice was introduced into the Church:

"And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight." (Acts 20:7)

Does this verse not indicate that Sunday had become the day for regular worship? The Seventh Day Adventist will protest:

"Scripture testifies [Acts 20:11] that Paul "had broken bread" on Monday morning. Yet no Christian uses this fact to support Monday sacredness. The fact that bread was broken also on Monday morning seriously diminishes the use of Acts 20:7 as evidence of Sunday sacredness. But this is not all. What does the term "to break bread" mean? Once more Scripture comes to our aid as its own interpreter:

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart (Acts 2:46).

Notice what this text reveals. Firstly, the early Christians, filled with the power of Pentecost, broke bread daily. So whatever the term "to break bread" meant, it provides absolutely no basis for selecting one of the seven days of the week as the special day of worship, for bread was broken on all days of the week." (The Sunday Law, [www.sundaylaw.net/books/other/standish/plasl/pltoc.htm])

Acts 20:7 may actually indicate that this gathering was on what we would call Saturday night, after sunset, which would by biblical reckoning be the beginning of the first day, Sunday. Paul would then have preached and talked most of the night, departing about sunrise on Sunday morning, rather than Monday morning, not that this has any bearing on the main point being raised, which is that "breaking bread" among the Apostles was clearly not unique to Sunday.

While it is true that the early Christians broke bread together on a daily basis, and in a meal-like manner, it is also true that "to break bread" also has a liturgical meaning. Observe:

"And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers." (Acts 2:42)

Notice how the definite article is used to describe these activities: "the apostles' teaching," "the breaking of bread," and "the prayers." This is certainly an odd way to describe these events, if indeed they were merely every-day communal activities, and not specifically liturgical.

On the contrary, there is no indication at all that "breaking bread" in Acts 2:42 means the new converts were holding a religious service in the sense of a Catholic Mass / Lord's Supper. Rather, having just been baptized (v. 41) they were excited in their newly confessed faith, and continued to gather for agape meals of fellowship, doctrinal/bible study, and prayer on a daily basis (vs. 42, 46).

Perhaps an even stronger link between the term "the breaking of bread" and liturgical worship (the Eucharist) is established in the story of the Emmaus Road:

"And behold, two of them were going that very day [the first day of the week] to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem... And it came about that when He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight... And they began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread." (Luke 24:13, 30-31, 35)

It is here, in the liturgical action of the Eucharist, painted in literary terms by St. Luke through the use of the same verbs found in the Last Supper narrative (took, blessed, broke), that the disciples were able to recognize Jesus. Notice how St. Luke uses that odd term again, "the breaking of the bread," and how this took place on the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection.

It would be well to remember that the meal of 14 Nisan, the meal of unleavened bread and wine on the evening of Passover just before the crucifixion, was not a formal religious worship service. It was certainly not the elaborate, rather prolonged liturgical service found in the Roman Catholic Church. It was a simple meal that the Jews had been having on Passover for hundreds of years, though to be sure, the symbolism of the unleavened Passover meal was indeed important, as it represented the sinless Messiah, the Lamb of God who would be crucified on 14 Nisan.

The breaking of bread at Emmaus simply does not indicate a liturgical worship service involving Communion, though quite clearly, there was something in the manner in which Christ broke the bread that was unique, and which instantly revealed His identity. No doubt having been with Christ so recently when he broke bread for the Passover meal of 14 Nisan (the previous Thursday evening), helped to jog their memory on that Sunday afternoon after the resurrection, but no religious worship service is indicated.

Thus there is good evidence to suggest that when St. Paul met with the believers in Acts 20, "on the first day of the week," to preach to them and "to break bread," it was in the context of a worship service.

Does the text anywhere declare that the reason for the presumed service that Sunday was in order to honor or celebrate the resurrection? No. Also, does that passage (Acts 20:7) anywhere declare that the previous Saturday Sabbath had NOT been observed because Sunday had superceded it? No, in fact the reason is given for the gathering, that being that Paul was departing in the morning at the conclusion of the meeting, so this was the last chance of a meeting. There is simply no evidence in Acts 20 that Sunday had been instituted as the weekly worship day replacing the Saturday Sabbath.

Communion Recalls Christ's Death, not His Resurrection:

Significantly, the apostle Paul in scripture declares that the Lord's Supper (the emblems of Christ's body and blood) is a remembrance of Christ's death, not His resurrection:

1 Cor 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.

So, if it were to be linked with a week day by the disciples, the Lord's supper would have been logically associated with Friday and the crucifixion, not Sunday and the resurrection. (Christ and the apostles participated in the Passover after sundown on what we now call Thursday evening, but according to the Bible the day begins and ends at sundown, so it was actually on Friday.)

Baptism Recalls Christ's Resurrection:

Also, it is worth noting that according to the apostle Paul, the New Testament ordinance that remembers the resurrection is actually baptism, not communion:

Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

This is further established when we read St. Paul's directives on taking up the tithes in the church:

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come." (1 Cor. 16:1-2)

Now, why would St. Paul direct both the Corinthian church and the "churches of Galatia" to collect their tithes "on the first day of every week?" The only plausible reason is that the believers were already congregating together on that day. It would make no sense, if they were in the habit of worshiping together on the seventh day, the Saturday, to wait until the next day to make the collection.

But Paul does NOT direct the churches to collect money on the first day of the week. He says that at the beginning of the week, everyone is to set aside (at home) a portion of their income for the church (saints) at Jerusalem (v. 3). In that way the money will already be set aside and readily available when he arrives. No Sunday church service or gathering is indicated on Sundays in that passage, and it simply does not refer to collecting the tithe or passing the plate in church on Sundays.

But didn't God establish the seventh day as the Sabbath?

Yes. Exo. 20:8-11.

Didn't He command that it be hallowed, on pain of death?

Yes. Num. 15:32-36

And isn't it true that Scripture never revokes this Divine Imperative?

Yes, it is true. Jesus Himself confirms that the 10 Commandments of God remain in effect even until heaven and earth pass away:

Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Those who say the 7th day Saturday Sabbath Commandment (Exo. 20:8-11) has been revoked, rescinded, done away with, or replaced by Sunday, and need no longer be remembered or observed, are in direct contradiction to this passage. Those who say the Sabbath has passed away are teaching men to BREAK a commandment of God, and they will be denounced in heaven.

Actually, no, it's not true. Scripture does teach that the Sabbath was a temporary ordinance, a shadow that only pointed forward to the reality of Christ. Hear St. Paul again, speaking of Old Covenant Judaic laws:

"Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day -- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col. 2:16-17)

The temporal nature of the seventh-day commandment is made clear here, for St. Paul insists that no one could rightly judge the Christian for not observing the Jewish festivals, new moons, or Sabbath days. And why? Because these things are "a mere shadow," the fulfillment of which "belongs to Christ."

The seventh day Saturday Sabbath is specifically said in the Commandment to be a memorial to creation (Exo. 20:11). The ceremonial sabbaths associated with the yearly Sanctuary festivals were, on the other hand, shadows or prophetic in nature, of events in the plan of salvation that had future fulfillments. Passover was a shadow of the crucifixion, Pentecost was prophetic of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early church, etc. The seventh day Saturday Sabbath was first kept at the end of creation week, and was inscribed by the hand of God in the stones of God's Law the 10 Commandments and so is separate and distinct from the yearly festival Sabbaths that began with Israel's release from Egypt on the first Passover, and were a part of the Mosaic ceremonial law.

See The Shadow Sabbaths of Colossians 2:17

This is why Jesus Himself said:

"And it came about that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to Him, "See here, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"... And He was saying to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. "Consequently, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Mark 2:23-24, 27-28)

In this narrative we read of only one of many occasions on which Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath. St. John's gospel, chapters 5, 7, and 9 record more instances where the Jews were violently angry with Our Lord for violating the written code of the Sabbath. Jesus' response to these accusations is authoritative: "The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Jesus could alter the regulations of the written code when He chose to honor the spirit of the Law, and not just the letter. If He could fulfill the Sabbath Law by breaking the commandment against doing work on the Sabbath, then certainly St. Paul is on the right path to say that the very observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is subject to greater fulfillment in Christ. And how is the Sabbath fulfilled in Christ? By worshiping Him on the day on which He won our salvation: "He... was raised for our justification." (Rom. 4:25)

While Jesus was certainly accused of breaking the Sabbath by His enemies, He never did any such thing. Jesus was healing and doing good in the name of the Father, and the spiritually blind Pharisee's accused Him of breaking the Sabbath laws. But Jesus was not breaking His Father's laws, he was breaking the traditions and rules of the Pharisees, rules and traditions which God had never imposed, which made the Sabbath a burden rather than a joy. Anyone who suggests that Jesus went about breaking the Sabbath of God, for any reason at all, does not know God, and places himself in the company of the spiritually blind Pharisees.

The prophets foretold of this day:

"The LORD has caused to be forgotten the appointed feast and sabbath in Zion." (Lam. 2:6)

"I will also put an end to all her gaiety, her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her festal assemblies." (Hos. 2:11)

If these Old Covenant laws were destined to fade away, and if St. Paul himself says that no one can be judged for his failure to keep the Sabbath, by what right do the Seventh Day Adventists go against God and His holy apostles?

Lam 2:6 And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.

Because of Israel's apostasy, Jerusalem was conquered by Babylon, and the temple burned:

Jer 52:12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
Jer 52:13 And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:

Both Lam. 2:6 and Hos. 2:11 are foretelling the punishment of an apostate idolatrous people who no longer worshipped God with a true and obedient heart. That punishment was that their nation would fall, they would be taken in bondage to Babylon, and Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, which happened in 586 B.C.. One of the sins of the Northern kingdom of Israel, interestingly enough, was the establishment of counterfeit rival festivals that imitated God's festivals (see 1 Kings 12:32).

God was surely not intending to totally abolish His sabbaths in those verses, and neither do those verses foretell a fading away of the Old Covenant as claimed, because the second temple was later rebuilt (after 70 years of captivity) by Zerubbabel, and the repentant Jews again celebrated the festivals and the associated sabbaths (see Ezr 3:8 to 4:5; and 4:24; to 6:22) about 515 B.C.. Therefore, Lam. 2:6 and Hos. 2:11 clearly have no application at all to, and do not prophesy, a fading away of the Old Covenant.

Let us turn briefly to the historical problem involved here. Let's say for a moment that the Seventh Day Adventist can sufficiently blind himself against these clear words of Scripture, and still claim that God demands worship on the seventh day alone.

The assertions and interpretations presented to this point in support of Sundaykeeping are anything but clear proof from scripture, and I think this has been amply demonstrated.

The Great Calendar Confusion?

The $64,000 question is this: which day is the seventh day?

One would have to assert that, since it was the seventh day of creation that God "blessed" and "sanctified" (Gen. 2:2-3), that it must be this day which we continue to hallow. It must be the seventh day, counting from the first day of creation. That is, after all, what God demanded in Sacred Scripture.

However, there is a small problem: by the time of the 1st century AD, there were two different calendars in use by the Jews, and a bit of an ongoing argument as to which calendar was the authentic calendar.

Consider these two seemingly contradictory statements:

"And it came about that when Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion."... Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it upon His head as He reclined at the table." (Mt. 26:1-2, 6-7)

"Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary therefore took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume." (John 12:1-3)

How can both of these stories be true? St. Matthew says that Jesus was anointed two days before Passover, while St. John says it was six days before Passover.

Yes, both stories are absolutely true, but there is no discrepancy when properly understood. John clearly states that Jesus entered Bethany six days before Passover, and Matthew 26:6 is indeed referring to the same event on the same day, and that is the meaning of "Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper". You see, Matthew was not giving a narrative in strict chronological sequence. The mistake is in assuming that Matt. 26:6-13 necessarily occurred after Matt. 26:2. It is an unwarranted assumption, and without it the alleged discrepancy in days completely disappears. In other words, read Matt. 26:6 this way: "Now when Jesus was in Bethany (six days before Passover), in the house of Simon the leper," and then Matthew agrees completely with John.

The discrepancy is shown in another place as well:

"Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, `The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."'" And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover." (Mt. 26:17-19)

"Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" They therefore cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified." (John 19:14-16)

St. Matthew has Jesus and His disciples celebrating the Last Supper on the Passover, at least a day (I will argue more than a day) before He was crucified. But St. John says that the priests of the Jerusalem temple were still in preparation for the Passover on the day Our Lord was crucified. Which one is it?

Some fairly recent studies by historians has shed light on the situation. For Jesus and His disciples celebrated Passover in the Upper Room of a house located in territory heavily populated with Essenes. The Essenes were Jewish purists, and they followed the old Solar calendar of the forefathers, which meant that, in that particular year, the Passover fell on a Tuesday. The pharisees in Jerusalem, however, had adopted the "politically correct" Lunar calendar, which placed Passover that year on Friday. Thus, when Jesus was anointed on the Sunday before His death, St. Matthew says it was two days before Passover, while St. John says it was six days before Passover. Why would St. John side with the priests? Scripture gives a hint:

"And Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought in Peter." (John 18:15-16)

Now, we know that the only other disciple at the Crucifixion was St. John, who stood at the foot of the cross. Thus we know that he is the one spoken of in the above passage, which says that he was able to get St. Peter into the courtyard because he "was known to the high priest." Evidently, for some reason, perhaps through family connections, St. John knew the high priest, and was able to get a "back stage pass" to the proceedings. If St. John was more familiar with the ways of the Jerusalem priests, then it makes sense that he would adopt their calendar, and place Passover on a Friday.

This actually explains how it is that Jesus could celebrate Passover in the evening, be out in the Garden in the middle of night praying, be arrested that same night, appear before the high priest for a lengthy trial, appear before Pilate for a trial, appear before Herod for a hearing, return back to Pilate for sentencing, and be crucified around the sixth hour on Friday - which would be nearly impossible if He was celebrating Passover only the night before.

So what does all of that have to do with the Seventh Day Adventist position? Much! Consider this Law of God regarding the Passover:

"In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD'S Passover." (Lev. 23:5)

God attached the observance of the Passover to the "fourteenth day," much like He attached the observance of the Sabbath to the "seventh day." However, as we have just seen in the two gospel accounts, there was a disagreement amongst the Jews as to which day was really the fourteenth day. According to the Solar calendar, the fourteenth day was on Tuesday, but according to the Lunar calendar, the fourteenth day was on Friday. Thus there were two Passover celebrations surrounding Jesus' crucifixion, one in the Essene quarters, and one in the Jerusalem temple. Which one was really the fourteenth day? Who knows? And if the fourteenth day was under dispute in the 1st century AD, then it logically follows that the seventh day was also under dispute. Which group (the Essenes or the Pharisees) were correct?

The above is total and utter nonsense. The timing of Passover has no relevance what-so-ever to any alleged uncertainty regarding the true Sabbath day. God never used a solar calendar to set His festivals, and to suggest that Jesus was influenced by the Essenes to use a solar calendar, and that Passover was on a Tuesday as a result, is nothing but pure nonsense.

God's Lunar Calendar

God had set in the sky the master clock of His calendar (Gen. 1:14). The observance of the New Moon (the first day the crescent is seen after the astronomical new/dark moon) marked the day that began a month [moonth]. This is a lunar calendar, and contrary to the assertion made above, it was not a "politically correct" corruption of the Pharisees, rather the lunar calendar was, and is, in fact, God's biblically correct calendar.

Passover, as cited above, is the fourteenth day of the first month of the year. This would by definition, coincide with the full moon, since the lunar cycle is about 29 days. Because the lunar calendar of 12 months does not match the length of the solar year, a correction of some sort is obviously required to keep festivals in the proper season.

The way God's lunar calendar was corrected to keep in synchronization with the seasons was by using a leap month, which was added, or not added, based on the readiness for harvest of the barley crop in the Spring. When the New Moon was sighted that would begin the first month (Nisan), the barley in the fields was checked for ripeness. If it was determined that the barley would not be ripe for harvest in 16 days (on 16 Nisan - firstfruits, see Lev. 23:10-11), then a leap month (II Adar) was added, delaying Nisan and the new year and its sequence of festivals for one month (Passover is the first festival of the year, and Tabernacles is the last festival of the biblical year).

See: The Biblical Feast Days - God's Calendar.

So the determining factor in God's master lunar calendar was the coincidence of a Spring New Moon and the readiness of the barley crop for harvest (sixteen days later) on 16 Nisan. When that happened, the beginning of a new year and month of Nisan was declared by the priesthood. No alleged solar calendar has any effect of any kind on this calculation, and the whole matter has no bearing at all on determining the true seventh day Sabbath, the keeping of which is completely independent of any yearly or monthly calendar calculations, which should be self-evident in even a superficial review of the facts. But, as we shall see, some Sunday keepers will persist in claiming that the Sabbath has been lost in calendar changes.

As we move further into history, we discover that by the time of Julius Caesar, the Lunar calendar was grossly out of sync with the Solar calendar. Major adjustments and modifications had to be made to keep the two in harmony, because in only a matter of three years, the Lunar and Solar calendars would be more than a month apart. In all of these adjustments, is it possible that the seventh day (the true seventh day, the seventh day from the first day of Creation) was preserved?

The calendar was a tough thing to maintain, let's face it. The heavenly bodies do not complete their rotations in exact units of measurement, like 24 hours, 30 days, 31 days, 365 days, etc. In fact, the Lunar calendar is really only 354 days long, which puts it eleven or so days behind the Solar calendar. And the length of a day is mere minutes short of an exact 24-hour period. By the late 1500s, these fractional differences had added up, and the Julian calendar was off by - get this - twelve days.

It was Pope Gregory XII who commissioned a group of astronomers to help him fix the calendar once and for all. It was developed as a self-correcting calendar, which makes use of this funny little device called a leap year, a once-every-four-years event that sets the calendar back on track, but which actually puts us one day behind the "regular" calendar. That is, on that fourth year, when we observe the 29th of February, it is actually the 1st of March, which makes the 1st of March really the 2nd of March, the 2nd really the 3rd, and so on, until the next leap year, when the 1st of March is actually the 3rd of March, the 2nd the 4th, and so on.

And whatever happened to those 12 lost days from the Julian calendar, when the Gregorian calendar was implemented? Did they disappear? Were they factored in? Did the calendar suddenly skip from September 14th back to September 2nd, or leap forward to September 26th?

The problem should be obvious. The Seventh Day Adventist, who insists that the literal seventh day must be observed as a holy day, has no way of knowing whether or not he is truly hallowing the actual seventh day. In all of that calendar juggling, it could be that the "seventh day" of the Gregorian calendar, on which the Adventist observes the Sabbath, is actually the fourth day according the original Creation calendar.

If we assume for a moment that this reasoning is correct, and Saturday, the 7th day of the week was indeed lost in the Roman Catholic Gregorian calendar change, then have we not by the exact same calendar change also totally and completely lost Sunday, the first day of the week? The Catholics lost Sunday? If true, then why does the Roman Catholic Church insist, on pain of committing a grave sin, that all Catholics assist at the Mass on a particular day of the week that supposedly coincides with the day of the resurrection 2000 years ago? How can Saturday be lost, but Sunday be certain? Either they are both lost, or they are both certain. So which is it? Has the Catholic Church faithfully kept Sundays (the 1st day) since the crucifixion, in the process also never losing the Saturday Sabbath (7th day), or have both days been lost forever? The two positions are obviously mutually exclusive. See: Sunday is NOT the biblical Sabbath day regarding the Gregorian calendar change.

Well briefly, the Roman Catholic Church has NEVER believed or officially taught, for even a moment, that Sunday has been lost in any calendar change. They have, however, taught that the Apostles instituted the change to Sunday and that the Christian Church has kept it faithfully and regularly ever since in honor of the resurrection.

The day of the Resurrection: the new creation

2174 Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week."[104] Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath,[105] it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday: We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.[106]

Sunday- fulfillment of the sabbath

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. ...

2178 This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age. [112]

      112 Cf. Acts 2:42-46; 1 Cor 11:17.

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) Online.

So clearly, the official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that today's Sunday is the same day of the week as 2000 years ago, and by assisting in the Mass on Sunday, the Catholic is honoring the resurrection on the same day on which it occurred. They also, at the same time, freely confess that the 7th day Sabbath has not been lost, since it immediately precedes Sunday.

As a practicing Catholic, Jacob Michael is strictly forbidden, by the councils of Trent and Vatican I, to teach anything contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and Magisterial teaching has never taught that calendar changes have lost either Saturday or Sunday. On the contrary, the Church has consistently taught that Sunday was, and is, the day of the resurrection, and on that basis commands and binds all Catholics to attend and participate in Mass on Sunday.

Now, even Jacob Michael maintained in the beginning of his argument that "breaking bread" in Acts 2:42 had a liturgical significance, and he asserts that Paul was directing a Sunday tithe collection during Sunday services in Corinth, and he even tried to persuade us that as early as the Sunday of the resurrection Jesus had a Eucharistic Mass in Emmaus! So, it should be quite clear that all this calendar confusion nonsense is nothing but smoke and mirrors, and is not representative of either official Catholic teaching, or the facts.

What is stranger, perhaps, is that the Adventist, who accuses Catholics and non-Adventist Protestants of following the "papal Sabbath," is himself following a papal calendar. Unless the Adventist can somehow get back to celebrating the Julian calendar, or the Jewish Solar calendar, he is subject to a calendar designed and instituted by Pope Gregory XIII - the antiChrist?

The only escape for the Adventist at this point is to concede that it is the spirit of the Law that is important here, and not the letter of the Law. In other words, since no one can ever know with certainty which day of the week is the real Seventh Day (counting from the first day of Creation), he must fall back on the old principle, "It's the thought that counts."

And that is exactly my point, as a Roman Catholic who worships the Lord on the "day" of His resurrection. Because it's the spirit of the Law that is important. And on the Lord's Day, Sunday, the Day of the Sun in pagan times, we worship the true Sun: "the Sun of Justice," as Malachi 4:2 puts it. Following St. Paul's advice, we allow no one to judge us by our observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Adventists need no "escape". The Saturday Sabbath was not affected in the slightest by the Gregorian calendar change, and no solar calendar had any effect either. The Jews have kept the Sabbath every Saturday for thousands of years, without regard for secular calendar changes, and the Jew and Adventist alike are quite sure the day has not been lost at any time in history. Again, see: Sunday is NOT the biblical Sabbath day for details regarding the Gregorian calendar change.

Note that the assertion is made above that Sunday is the same day as in pagan times!? I have to laugh that at the same time someone can seriously contend that the Saturday Sabbath has been lost to us in calendar changes:

The calendar trudges on, shifting days and months by fractional margins every single hour, but this is of little consequence to the Christian. For no matter what day the calendar says it is, we continue to follow the Son, the center of the true temporal cycles.

Jacob Michael
Catholic Apologetics International
November 11, 2002

So, to go back to the two questions asked by Jacob Michael in the beginning -

Question: Which day of the week is the proper day for worshiping God? Is it Saturday? Sunday?

Answer: The seventh day Saturday Sabbath was not rescinded in the New Testament by either God or the Apostles, and neither was it replaced by Sunday by a declaration of God, or the Apostles.

Question: Does it even matter?

Answer: To God, yes, it is one of His Ten Commandments, none of which will pass away even until heaven and earth pass away (Matt. 5:18-19). Therefore it should matter to all professing Christians.

So as previously pointed out, Daniel 7:25 predicted that the antichrist little horn power would think to change the times and laws of the most high God, and the Sabbath commandment of Exodus 20:8-11 is the only precept of God's Law, the 10 Commandments, dealing with time. The Roman Catholic Church, fulfilling the prophecy, stands up and officially proclaims they have changed this precept of God, and transferred the Saturday Sabbath to Sunday:

[pg. 383] The Apostles therefore resolved to consecrate the first day of the week to the divine worship, and called it the Lord's day. St. John in the Apocalypse makes mention of the Lord's day; and the Apostle commands collections to be made on the first day of the week, that is, according to the interpretation of St. Chrysostom, on the Lord's day. From all this we learn that even then the Lord's day was kept holy in the Church.

[pg. 387] But the Church of God has in her wisdom ordained that the celebration of the Sabbath should be transferred to "the Lord's day:" as on that day light first shown on the world, so by the resurrection of our Lord on the same day, by whom was thrown open to us the gate to eternal life, we were called out of darkness into light; and hence the Apostle would have it called "the Lord's day." We also learn from the sacred Volume that the first day of the week was held sacred for other reasons: on that day the work of the creation commenced, and on that day the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles [Pentecost].

Source: The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Issued by order of Pope Pius V, first published by W. Folds and Son, Great Strand-Street. Published by Richard Coyne, Capel-street, Dublin; and by Keating and Browne, London, 1829, Copyright 1975 and Reprinted 1985 by The Christian Book Club of America, Hawthorne, California, 90251, The Third Commandment, pages 383, 387.

63. ... Christians, called as they are to proclaim the liberation won by the blood of Christ, felt that they had the authority to transfer the meaning of the Sabbath to the day of the Resurrection.

Source: Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, 31 May, 1998.


See also:

The Biblical Feast Days - God's Calendar.
Did the Apostles Keep Sunday?
Sunday is NOT the biblical Sabbath day.
Rome's Challenge ... Why do Protestants keep Sunday?
What Difference Does The River Make?
The Shadow Sabbaths of Colossians 2:17
The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast.
The Seal of God in the Old and New Covenants
Exactly Which Pope Made The Change From Sabbath To Sunday Rest?



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