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There is no scriptural mandate that changes the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is some scripture that the early church met on a Saturday evening or Sunday and that they considered the first day of the week Sunday, the Lord's day. This was probably to commemorate Jesus' resurrection. (A meeting on the first day of the week could also have been a Saturday night gathering since Saturday night was the beginning of the first day of the week).

This practice of meeting on the first day of the week should not necessarily be considered an absolute "replacement" for the Sabbath. The traditional Sabbath day could never be changed because God Himself started that tradition on the seventh day of creation. It was that way before Moses ever received the law, it was reinforced with the law Moses did receive, Jesus went to worship on the seventh day, and Ezekiel teaches us that the Sabbath will be part of the millennial kingdom when Jesus returns (Ezekiel 46: 1-12).

Jesus recognized the Saturday Sabbath and so did the disciples. After Jesus' death, some Christians celebrated both days, the Saturday Sabbath and the Sunday resurrection. Others chose to worship on just one of those two days.  Both days were certainly worthy of special worship. For those who chose to worship only on Sunday, they believed that they were finding their Sabbath rest in Jesus' resurrection and fulfillment of the law.

After Jesus died, the Messianic Jews (Jewish believers who recognized Jesus as Messiah) were considered a sect of Judaism just as the Pharisees and Sadducees were. The rest of the Jewish world worshiped on the traditional Saturday Sabbath and that remained an option for them also. This was the best time to share the gospel message with other Jews because they were gathered together. Many of the Messianic Jews felt since the Lord Jesus worshiped on Saturday, they would also.

As the years went on, there was a separation between Jews who recognized Jesus as Messiah and Jews who didn't. God was bringing more and more Gentiles into the body of Christ whom had no background or desire for a traditional Saturday Sabbath. They did not know the Hebrew liturgy that was being prayed and, since the temple was now destroyed, they became comfortable focusing more on the Sunday resurrection as their day of worship.


 Constantine:

Constantine, the Emperor of Rome, claimed conversion to Christianity and declared Christianity to be the official religion of Rome. Pagan worship already had the established practice of using Sunday as their day of worship to honor their sun god. When Constantine made this declaration, those pagan worshipers could still worship on the same day to which they were accustomed. They simply worshiped a different God, often from inside their old Temples. Around this time in history, other pagan customs were also incorporated into Christianity, and Anti-Semitism had found its foothold even among Christians.

The intentional push to separate Christianity from its Jewish roots was evident. The first Council of Nicea (325 CE) was attended by 318 bishops that are said to have had no Jewish ancestry. These bishops changed the date of the Passover celebration from its true Hebrew calendar date of the 14th of Nissan to a different date (Many years later the church began to call this resurrection holiday by its pagan name of Easter, the name of a pagan goddess, instead of its biblical name of Passover).

As anti-semitism grew inside of "the church," the Council of Antioch (341 CE) prohibited Christians from celebrating Passover with the Jews. A few years later (364 CE), while Constantine was emperor, the Council of Laodicea met. Up until this point, Christians had their choice of how and when to observe the Sabbath and resurrection. Constantine was about to change that. His anti-Semitic viewpoint grew, and he chose to make it impossible for Jews or Gentiles to worship on the Saturday sabbath and still be considered Christians. This more or less forced Messianic Jews who were dedicated to Jesus and their Jewish roots, to choose between the fellowship of the evolving Christian church or the isolation of a Jewish-only environment.

Constantine, as Emperor of Rome, was deeply involved with the Council of Laodicea. His government would be responsible for any enforcement necessary for the rules and regulations created by the council. Constantine was in a position to do something about his views. Even though he claimed to be a Christian, the following declaration was made.

Canon 29: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, that shall be shut out from Christ."

This decision was made by the Council of Laodicea (364 AD).

In other words, the Roman church declared the more a person abandons its Jewish roots, the better Christian they will be.

Please recognize that this declaration is man made and not God made.

Many people believe because the Roman church found it necessary to develop this policy that this is evidence that Christians were observing the Saturday Sabbath at this time.

It is unfortunate that those who wished to follow God's pattern in creation and those who wished to follow the pattern that Jesus Himself set while alive would no longer be considered Christians.


Miscellaneous:

Read more about The Holiday Of The Sabbath.


Acknowledgments:

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