A Rebuttal To:
Must Weekly Worship Occur on the Seventh Day?
at Mario Derksen's Catholic Insight
In an effort to attack the Catholic Church and her teachings, Michael Scheifler, a Seventh-Day Adventist apologist, in an essay entitled "Sunday is NOT the Biblical Sabbath Day," writes: "Nowhere in the Bible is Sunday blessed, sanctified or commanded by God as a day of weekly worship."
I still stand by that statement.
Perhaps Mr. Scheifler ought to take another peek at his Bible to review the question as to how God sanctifies or makes holy. God does so by putting His Spirit into the object to be sanctified. Speaking of the wilderness tabernacle, God said, "And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory" (Exodus 29:43). God literally came into the sanctuary tent, revealing His presence through the Shekinah. Something becomes holy because of God's presence. For example, the ground near the burning bush was holy because God was there, literally present (Exodus 3:5).
If we look at the New Testament, Jesus Himself tells us that "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).
Whenever Catholics gather in Christ's name--whether they do so on a Sunday; whether they do so on a Saturday; or whether they do so on any other day of the week--Christ has promised to be there. Since He is there, then by His very Presence He is sanctifying that time.
Seventh-Day Adventists have built a whole house of cards that says holy time--sanctified time--only occurs once a week, but this is not the teaching of Our Lord who promised to be with us whenever we gather in His name--not just on Saturday.
A rather prominent Catholic Cardinal is on record as disagreeing with the above premise:
Cardinal Gibbons on Sunday
"... is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But, you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify."
Source: The Faith of Our Fathers, by James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, 88th edition, page 89. Originally published in 1876, republished and Copyright 1980 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., pages 72-73.
Now if gathering for worship on any day sanctified it, then Cardinal Gibbons would not have said that Catholics never sanctify Saturday. It would seem that Cardinal Gibbons equates a sanctified day with what Catholics call a holy day of obligation, a day commanded to be observed as a holy day by the Catholic Church. Sundays are holy days of obligation for Catholics, Saturdays are not. So Cardinal Gibbons went on record over 125 years ago as saying that the Bible in no way authorizes the sanctification of Sunday. Sunday sacredness is only a tradition of men, not commanded in scripture.
However, I totally agree with Matthew 18:20, that when two or three are gathered in Christ's name, he is truly present:
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
This can obviously occur at any time, and anywhere, with any group of believers. It is worth noting that this means that no Roman Catholic priest is necessary, nor must Mass be celebrated, for Christ to be present in a very real way. But any such gathering does not sanctify the day of the week it occurs on, and does not make that day binding on anyone else as a sabbath day of rest and worship.
To SDAs it is either this day or that day; either Saturday or Sunday; either the seventh day or the first day.
God Himself sanctified only one day in the week, the Saturday Sabbath, it is not an either/or situation:
Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
The above verse is the one and only time in all of scripture that a day of the week is blessed and sanctified by God as a sabbath day, and that day is the seventh day of the week, which we refer to today as Saturday. Sunday, the first day of the week, has no such blessing from God anywhere in scripture.
The house of cards comes crashing down when the Catholic Church worships on more than one day a week. Indeed, the Catholic Church worships daily.
There is no objection from Adventism to worship services held on any day of the week, or every day of the week. However, the one and only day of the week God set aside and commanded as a day of rest and worship for mankind was the seventh-day Saturday sabbath.
Sunday is merely the "formal day of worship," on which everyone must come to God's house and attend the Mass (cf. Hebrews 10:25) in order to fulfill the God's Third Commandment. It is a day set apart from the others. A day that is especially holy.
The Catholic Church declares Sunday a holy day of obligation, that it is a mortal sin to not participate in the Mass on Sunday. This the Catholic Church does only on the basis of the Tradition of men, for there is no such "Thus saith the Lord" declaring the first day of the week to be blessed and sanctified as a day of rest and worship. But there is such a decree from the Lord regarding the seventh day of the week:
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.
Now, it should be evident that there is simply no way to keep the seventh-day Saturday sabbath on the first day of the week, Sunday.
Perhaps Adventists will heed the inspired words of Saint Paul:
One judgeth between day and day: and another judgeth every day. Let every man abound in his own sense. He that regardeth the day regardeth it unto the Lord. And he that eateth eateth to the Lord: for he giveth thanks to God. And he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not and giveth thanks to God. For none of us liveth to himself: and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Seventh-Day Adventists attempt to create a stumbling block to those who worship in honor of the Lord on Sunday, whereas St. Paul clearly shows, per the above quote, that the festival days of the Old Law have been abrogated and are now obsolete.
Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Rom 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
In context, Romans 14 is dealing with fasting or not fasting on certain days. It is not discussing whether or not a believer can dispense with a commandment of God, or choose to observe the sabbath day on another day of one's own choosing. Paul himself was a sabbath keeper who knew nothing of Sunday sacredness.
See Did the Apostles keep Sunday?
Christ Jesus, who is "Lord of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; etc.), has given His Church the authority to decree festival days of the New Law: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven" (Matthew 16:19).
No one has the authority to change the Ten Commandment law of God, but scripture does indicate that someone would indeed attempt such a change:
Dan 7:25 And [the little horn] he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
See The Seal of God and The Mark of the Beast
The Church, indeed the Living Body of Christ, has, for very good reasons, selected Sunday as the "formal day of worship," the day set apart, and this from apostolic times: "On the first day of the week, . . . we were assembled to break bread . . ." (Acts 20:7).
Scripture shows that there was nothing special about the first day of the week in that regard:
Acts 2:46 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,
This seems to indicate "breaking bread" to be nothing more than agape meals of fellowship, not a formal service with communion, so Acts 20:7 does not show that Sunday was anything special as a day of worship to the Apostles.
Thus, Saturday is certainly not enforced as the official day of rest for Christians, as the Sabbath of the New Law. Seventh-Day Adventists, therefore, are wrong in insisting that the principal day of rest for Christians is Saturday. They either admit this and join the Bride of Christ, or they continue their heresies and better start getting ready for Judgment Day.
The seventh day Saturday sabbath is a Commandment of God, which He enjoins us to remember to keep holy in Exodus 20:8. None of the Ten Commandments have been done away with or altered:
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.
The New Testament is quite clear regarding the keeping of the Commandments of God:
Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
However, on the the keeping of Sunday as a holy day to honor the resurrection, the Bible is quite silent.
Sunday is NOT the Sabbath!