Ch. XXI Which is Sabbath Day! p 206-224

CHAPTER XXI

WHICH DAY IS THE SABBATH DAY!

“Remember to Keep Holy The Sabbath Day.” - The Third Commandment of God.

 

“Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works.

But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:

thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son,

 nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant,

nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast,

nor the stranger that is within thy gates.

For in six days the Lord made Heaven and earth,

and the sea, and all things that are in them,

and rested on the seventh day:

therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.”

Exodus 20:9-11

                                                                   

 

Most of this Chapter, comes from a paper I wrote on this subject on November 20, 1984.  We are grateful to Father Goettler and Father Delaplace for many of the references cited.

 

THE SABBATH CONTROVERSY:

 

One of the Ten Commandments given to Moses, explicitly commands us to “keep holy the Sabbath Day”.  It states that “the Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; thou shalt do no work on it”.

1.  Most people calling themselves “Christian” observe Sunday as the Sabbath Day.

2.  Some claim that going to Mass on Saturday evening is the same as Sunday.

3. Some say that Saturday and not Sunday is the Sabbath Day, citing Exodus 20:9-11 (above).

 

WHICH DAY IS THE SABBATH DAY?:

 

This question is not as trivial, or as easy, as some on all sides of the issue might think.  We are Commanded by God to keep Holy The Sabbath Day and not a substitute of our own choosing for It.  Failure to obey this Commandment, like all the Commandments of God, will result in eternal torment in Hell, unless we are truly invincibly ignorant or our sins are forgiven before we die.  The question at hand then, is very serious and grave.  Many souls are indeed at stake.  The question can be broken down into the following questions:

 

1. Just what does “Sabbath” mean?

2. Can the Sabbath Day (or Days) be changed?

3. Who has the Authority to change It?

4. Why would God want It changed?

5. Was It changed?  When?

     a. Is there any Biblical evidence?

     b. Is there any other Historical evidence?

 

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6. Why was not such an important change indicated more clearly in Holy Scripture?

7. What about attending Sunday Mass on Saturday?

 

A SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST REFERENCE:

 

A major reference used in this Chapter, in support of a Saturday Sabbath, is “From Sabbath to Sunday” by Samuele Bacchiocchi.  This book was published by “The Pontifical Gregorian University Press”, in Rome in 1977!!!  It even has an Imprimatur by R.P. Herve’ Carrier, S.I., Rector of the University (dated 1975)!!!  Dr. Samuel Bacchiocchi was the first non-Catholic to graduate from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.  He received a gold medal from Pope Paul VI for graduating with the academic distinction of summa cum laude.  Dr. Bacchiocchi teaches “theology” and church history at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

 

I am grateful to our Seventh Day Adventist friends for lending me this book.  It provided the motivation to include this Subject in these “Notes” so that it’s many errors could be corrected! 

 

1. Just What does “Sabbath” Mean?:

 

Often, the root cause of disputes among men, is a difference in the definition on the words being used.  Let us then, consider the word “Sabbath”.

 

Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary:

1. The seventh day of the week, appointed in The Decalog as a day of rest to be observed by the Jews; now, Saturday.

2. The first day of the week as observed by Christians; Sunday

3. The institution or observance of a Day of rest; a time of rest, peace or quiet.

 

The Catechism of The Council of Trent:

“Sabbath is a Hebrew word which signifies cessation.  To keep the Sabbath therefore, means to cease from labor and to rest.”

 

The Holy Bible, Leviticus 23:39:

“So from the fifteenth day of the seventh month (July 15th), when you shall have gathered in all the fruits of your land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord seven days: On the first day (Sunday) and the eighth (Sunday) shall be a Sabbath, that is a day of rest.”

 

COMMENT:

 

It is clear then, that the word “Sabbath” means a period of time to be kept Holy by cessation from labor.  Holy Scripture tells us of other “Sabbaths” besides Saturday, that Almighty God Commanded the Jews to observe.  For example:

 

“...The seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall keep a Sabbath,...” Lev.23:24

 

“Upon the tenth day of this seventh month....and shall offer a holocaust to the Lord...You shall do no servile work...It is a Sabbath of rest...” Lev. 23:27-32.

 

Almighty God Commanded the Jews to keep Holy the Sabbaths in other ways besides just resting. For example:

 

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 They were to offer Sacrifices (Lv.23:27).

 

 Exodus 35:3 Commands: “You shall kindle no fire in any of your habitations on the Sabbath day.”.

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi spends a significant portion of his book “From Saturday to Sunday”, showing that Saturday was a Sabbath Day for the Jews and for Christ and the Apostles, prior to the Resurrection - a point not under dispute.  This however brings us to the next question:

 

2. Can the Sabbath Days be Changed?:

 

Those who say the Sabbaths are set for all time, citing the Old Testament Commands of God to the Jews, must by the same logic, obey all the Sabbaths and Commands that Almighty God gave the Jews.  Such as all the various Sabbaths in Leviticus 23, and kindling no fire in their homes on Saturday (Ex. 35:3), etc.

 

It is however, a common rule of Law, that a Law can be changed, modified, abrogated, etc. by the one who made the Law in the first place, or by His successor or authorized representative or by a higher authority.  Therefore all laws can be changed by the proper authority.

 

3. Who Has the Authority to Change or Modify the Laws of God?:

 

We would all likely agree that God could change His own Laws if he wished.  He is after all the ultimate Lawgiver.  Almighty God could also if He wished (He has the Power to), establish a Representative, and give His appointed Delegate the Authority to carry out His Wishes and even to modify His Laws. “ The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”  Matt.12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5.

 

Now we must not confuse Laws with Truths.  Truths cannot change.  Even an Authorized Representative cannot change a Truth - a Doctrine.  Laws however, are rules (guidelines) by which we live.  Some of these, particularly those associated with ceremony - for example the times and the ways that we are to give Honor and Glory to God.  Guidelines such as these could certainly be changed if God wished it.

 

Did Almighty God establish such a duly Authorized Representative through which He wished to work?

 

Christ did establish a Church (not churches): “...thou art Peter; and upon this Rock I will build My Church,....”  Matt. 16:18. 

 

Christ even established a Hierarchy of Bishops, Pastors, and Priests to rule within His Church:

 

 “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you Bishops, to rule The Church of God, which He hath purchased with His Own Blood.”. Acts 20:28.

 

“For this cause I (Paul) left thee in Crete, that thou (the Bishops) shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest Ordain Priests in every city, as I also appointed thee.” Titus 1:5

 

“Let the Priests that rule well, be esteemed.....”  1 Tim. 5:17.

 

“And He (Christ) gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and others Pastors and Doctors, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, and for edifying the Body of Christ (The Holy Eucharist).”   Eph. 4:11-12

 

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Christ’s Priests are His duly Authorized Representatives:

 

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and have appointed you, that you should go and should bring forth fruit....” John 15:16.

 

“He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. ....as the Father hath sent Me, I also send you.”  John 20:21

 

“Going therefore, teach ye all nations;...” Matt. 28:19

 

Not only did Christ establish a Church, with a Hierarchy of Bishops, Priests, Pastors to rule, but also gave them Powers: to cast out Devils (Mark 3:15), to Baptize (Matt. 28:19), to forgive sins (John 20:23), to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood (Matt. 26:26-29), to Ordain Priests (Acts 14:22), to anoint the sick (James 5:14-15).

 

Christ in fact, gave His Church complete Authority to Represent Him:

 

“And I will give to thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  And What-so-ever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be

bound also in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven.”  Matt. 16:19

 

The Church therefore has the Divine Authority to establish the rules of Worshiping.  For example, the days to be treated or not treated as Sabbath Days.  She of course cannot change Truths but only those Laws, that for the good of the Church, may need modification, provided this can be done without contradicting Doctrine or previous Infallible Papal statements.


“He that heareth you hearth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and the that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me.” Luke 10:16.   To hear The Church then, is to hear God!

 

 The Church and the Priests that Christ established on earth, and their successors, who have received from them the Powers and Authority that they received from Christ Himself, are the only duly Authorized Representatives of Christ on earth.   He appointed no others.  Christ promised to be with this visible, Hierarchal, Authoritive, Holy Church, All Days, from Its founding in 33 AD till the end of time: 

 

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.  Matt. 28:20

 

Christ also promised that His Church this Guide for mankind to Him, that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against Her.  Matt. 16:18.

 

Oh, how awesome!  How reassuring! Oh how necessary for fickle man to have such an Infallible Guide.

 

The only Church calling itself “Christian” in the world today, that has a continuous existence from 33 AD to the present is the Catholic Church and no other.  A continuous line of Popes from St. Peter to John-Paul II.  See Chapter VI: “Which Is The Church Established by Christ?” for a more detailed proof of this fact.  The Catholic Church today exists where It has always existed - With those who hold fast to Her Traditions (particularly the Traditional Mass).

 

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We must keep Holy the “Sabbath Day”.  There were other “Days” established as “Sabbath Days” besides Saturday, in the Old Testament.  God has the Power to change the Days designated as Sabbath Days, if He wishes.  He also has the Power to give this Authority to His Church, through which He wishes to work - and He did, according to Holy Scripture.  He wants Her to be our Teacher and Guide to Him.  The next question that comes to mind is:

 

4. Why Would God Want to Change The Days Assigned as “Sabbath Days?”

    Why Change “The Sabbath Day” from Saturday to Sunday?

 

We of course have no right to demand “reasons” for the Wishes and Commands of God.  Our duty is to do His Will (or else!).  Never-the-less, there are compelling reasons why this change had to be made.

 

To celebrate an Event Greater than the Creation.  Which was why Saturday was a Main Sabbath Day in the Old Testament.

 

The Saturday Sabbath commemorated the Creation of Heaven and earth and mankind by God.  This was the Greatest event until the Crucified Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, thereby proving that The Gates of Heaven had again been opened for mankind.  The Redemption of Mankind is a Greater Event than the Creation of Heaven and earth and mankind!!!  It is therefore fitting, that this be symbolized and acknowledged, by a change in The Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday. 

 

The Apostles wanted to break clearly with the synagogue, to show that the “figure” was replaced by the Reality.  The Real Thing is always more important than its shadow.  The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass is more important than the Old Testament bloody sacrifices.  Christ is more important than St. John the Baptist (who prefigured Him).  The Redemption of mankind is more important than the Creation of mankind.   For these reasons, the Sunday Sabbath is more important than the Saturday Sabbath was.

 

The Saturday Sabbath became a symbol of a rejection of Christ as our Redeemer and thereby a Great Evil!

 

Often in his history, man turns something that is good, or at least neutral, into something evil.  Often, what was once associated with good, becomes linked with evil, and thereafter a symbol of the evil.  For example: The swastika, an Indian symbol, was adopted by the Nazis, and is now linked to this evil.  The word “gay”, once a pleasant word, is now linked to the evil of homosexuality.

 

Christians the world over, very early in their history, acknowledged Christ as The Promised Redeemer, by honoring God with The Sunday Sabbath, as Commanded by Him through His Church.

 

The Jews who rejected their Messiah, and thereby their Heritage, their Scriptures and their Religion, symbolized this rejection, by stubbornly holding to a Saturday Sabbath.  They say that the Creation was still the Greatest Event because they denied Christ!  The Saturday Sabbath, which was once Holy and Good, has now been linked by the Jews, to a rejection of Christ.  The Saturday Sabbath, has now been linked with the Greatest Evil ever - the rejection of Christ and the rejection of His Helps and Aids - His Church.  May God have Mercy on them!

 

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Other “reasons” why the change had to be made, could be given but these two reasons are really two more than are necessary.

 

5. Was The Sabbath Day Actually Changed from Saturday to Sunday?  When?

 

The Catholic Church answers this question for us in The Catechism of The Council of Trent:

 

“The observance of the (Saturday) Sabbath was to be abrogated at the same time as the other Hebrew rites and ceremonies, that is, at the death of Christ.  Having been, as it were, images which foreshadowed the Light and the Truth, these ceremonies were to disappear at the coming of that Light and Truth, which is Jesus Christ.”

 

“The Jewish Sabbath changed to Sunday by the Apostles .... and called It ‘The Lords Day’.”

 

Non-Catholic Objections to the Change:

 

“The Church of Rome” made the change in the 2nd Century.

 

Bacchiocchi, in his book, “From Sabbath to Sunday”, attempts to show that this change was not made by the Apostles, but by “the Church of Rome”, in the second Century.  He claims the change was made out of hatred for the Jews, and out of fear of the Romans who were persecuting the Jews at that time. 

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

Christ established His Church, and gave Her the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” and the Power to bound and to loose “whatsoever”.  The Church has the Power to change the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday.  It make no difference whether this change was made in Apostolic Times, or in the 2nd Century, or in the 15th Century for that matter.  The Church has this Authority, and can exercise It when She sees the need.  God works through Her.  To hear The Church is to hear God. Luke 10:16.  Bacchiocchi’s attempts to “prove” the change was made in the 2nd Century is a useless exercise, since even if he had been successful, the change is still “bound in Heaven” as well as on earth.  Matt. 16:19.

 

Throughout his book, and indeed even its title, “From Sabbath To Sunday”, Bacchiocchi shows a deep confusion over the precise meaning of the word “Sabbath”.  His usage of this word, indicates that he views “Sabbath” and “Saturday” as synonyms.  Even in the Old Testament, there were other “Sabbath Days” besides Saturday.   He fails completely to even consider the fact that The Sabbath Day to “be kept Holy” has been changed from Saturday to Sunday, by God through His Church.

 

To add to his confusion, The Church, when speaking to Her children, who it was correctly assumed, did not have this Bacchiocchian mental block, used phraseology which may confuse those outside The Church.  For example, when speaking of the “Jewish Sabbath” or the old “Saturday Sabbath”, they often just used “Sabbath”, knowing that those to whom they spoke knew what was meant.  Likewise, when referring to the new “Sabbath” - Sunday, they sometimes called It “The Lord’s Day”.

 

To Bacchiocchian ears, however, these comments sounded like abandonment of The Sabbath Day and thereby the Third Commandment of God, and the substitution of another day - The Lord’s Day.  This is a spiritually fatal error.  Often gleefully embraced by enemies of The Church, who teach it to their unsuspecting victims.  The Church has not abandoned the Third Commandment of God.  She teaches Her children that they must keep Holy The Sabbath Day (which is now Sunday), by participating in The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.

 

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Had he understood this important point, Bacchiocchi’s book would probably have been titled, “From The Saturday Sabbath to The Sunday Sabbath”.

 

The Last Supper did not commemorate Christ’s Resurrection but His Sacrifice:

 

Bacchiocchi shows his confusion over what a Mass is, by referring to 1 Cor. 11:23-36 (The Last Supper), and stating: “It is then not Christ’s Resurrection but rather His Sacrifice and parousia which the Lord’s Supper is explicitly designed to commemorate”. 

 

 CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

In reality, The Last Supper was The First Mass, during which bread and wine is turned into The Body and Blood of Christ.  Every Mass is a Sacrifice - Christ is The Victim.   Every Mass is The Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.  In The Old Testament, the Jews offered bloody sacrifices to God.  These sacrifices prefigured The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.  We Honor God with Sacrifices.  We now Honor God with a Perfect Sacrifice - His only Son - God, in the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.  We honor God thusly, everyday - particularly on The Sabbath Day - Sunday, to commemorate His Resurrection and our Redemption.  Bacchiocchi’s confusion on this point is no proof against it.

 

Bacchiocchi’s approach is to present interesting Biblical and other historical facts and then to modulate them with imaginative speculation, in the direction desired.  Those facts which oppose his thesis, are simple explained away by speculation.  Those facts which do not go far enough to prove his thesis, are simply extrapolated by speculation.  These “speculations” are then raised by him to the status of “Truth”.  He then concludes he has proven his point.  What he has proven however, is the Truth of Holy Scripture, when It says that “private interpretation leads to destruction” and “is forbidden”.  See 2 Peter 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20.

 

All of which, reminds us of the logic of St. Augustine: “If every science, however unimportant and easy, demands a teacher and master if it is to be learnt, what can be more full of arrogant pride than to refuse to learn the books of the Divine Mysteries from their interpreters!”[113]

 

5a. Where in The Bible are References indicating The Sabbath changes?

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

Christ started these Sabbath changes even before He died on the Cross and the Jews complained often about it.

 

Mark 7:5  “And the Pharisees and Scribes asked Him (Christ): Why do not Thy Disciples walk according to the traditions of the Ancients”?

 

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Matt. 12:1-2; Mark 2:23 Jesus went through the corn field on the Sabbath.

 

Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38 -39 Christ cures Simon’s mother-in-law on the Sabbath.

 

Mark 3:1-6 Christ heals the withered hand on the Sabbath.

 

Luke 4:31-35; Mark 1:21-28 Christ cast out Devils on the Sabbath.

 

Luke 13:10-17 Christ cured the crippled woman on the Sabbath.

 

Luke 14:1-4 Christ cured the man with dropsy on the Sabbath.

 

John 5:5-18 Christ cured the invalid on the Sabbath.

 

John 7:23 Christ heals on the Sabbath.

 

John 9:1-41 Christ cures the blind man on the Sabbath.

 

Where in the Bible does it suggest a change of the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday?

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

That the change of the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday, was made (as The Church teaches) during Apostolic times is certainly indicated in Holy Scripture.

 

 Acts 6:14

 

“For we have heard him (Stephen) say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us.”

 

Note, the “ancient traditions” are to be changed (the ceremonial laws), not Doctrine.  For example, we still must keep Holy the Sabbath Day - a Day to pray and honor God, and refrain from unnecessary servile work.  This Sabbath Day however was changed from the ancient “traditional” Saturday to a new “Tradition” Sunday, because Christ’s Resurrection and our Redemption is a greater event than our Creation.  The Ancient Traditions replaced by new Traditions which are to be kept.

 

2 Thess. 2:14

 

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the Traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”

 

 2 Thess. 3:6

 

“And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the (new) Tradition which they have received of us.”

 

 

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Acts 21:21

 

“Now they have heard of thee (Paul) that thou teachest those Jews, who are among the Gentiles, to depart from Moses: saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, nor walk according to the Custom (i.e. Saturday Sabbath).”

 

Bacchiocchi suggests that these are only accusations made by the Jews against the Apostles, and not proof of rejecting the Saturday Sabbath.  Never the less, the Apostles when so accused, did not deny it.  Stephen even being stoned to death.

 

 Acts 20:7

 

“And on the first day of the week (Sunday), when we were assembled to break bread (say Mass), Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow: and he continued his speech until midnight.”

 

The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass is referred to in both the Old and New Testament as “the Daily Sacrifice”; “to Break Bread”; “The Lord’s Supper”, etc.  This passage refers to the early Christians gathering for Sunday Mass.  Of course, Mass was offered on other days of the week, but Christians are particularly required to keep Holy the Sabbath Day by attending Mass on Sunday.  Hence the reference to “the first day of the week”.

 

Bacchiocchi attempts (unsuccessfully) (in seven pages!) to convince us that “the breaking of Bread” occurred after midnight (p101 -107) and therefore this is no proof of Sunday Sabbath.  His speculation that Mass was on Monday and not Sunday is not indicated in this passage.  The most likely interpretation, and therefore the best interpretation, is just what the passage says - they “assembled” on “the first day of the week” to “break bread” (offer Mass).  This apparently was their custom even then.  To attempt any other interpretation, than the obvious one is to distort Scripture.

 

Colossians 2:16-17

 

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of a festival day, or of the new moon, or of The Sabbath.  Which are a shadow of the things to come, but the Body is of Christ.”

 

As Christ was judged by the Jews for violations of The Sabbath, as the Apostles were judged for no longer keeping The Saturday Sabbath, Paul here tells the Colossians that they should take no heed of it, since The Body (The Church) is of Christ.  He also predicts this is a shadow of the criticisms in the future.

 

Bacchiocchi comments on Col. 2:16-17 in a pathetic attempt to speculate alternate meanings of common words.  As always, the most obvious meaning is the more correct meaning.

 

It is important to remember that those who criticized The Apostles for not observing the Saturday Sabbath, were also the same ones that rejected Christ as The Redeemer.  They also rejected His Church.  Their counterparts are still with us, with the same “Judgments”.

 

1 Corinthians 16:1-2

 

 “Now concerning the collections that are made for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so do ye also.  On the first day of the week (Sunday) let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what is shall well please him; that when I come, the collections be not then to be made”

 

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The collections were made on Sunday, because that is when the early Church gathered for The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.  It shows that by this time Sunday had already replaced Saturday as The Sabbath Day.

 

Bacchiocchi however, speculates that in this passage, Paul is directing the Faithful to lay aside this donation in their homes (page 94)!  There is no mention of  “home” in this passage.  Read it again for yourself.  There really is no mention of laying aside these offerings in one’s private home.  Yet Bacchiocchi then raises his speculation to the status of a fact and asks: “If the Christian community was worshiping together on Sunday, it appears paradoxical that Paul should recommend laying aside at home one’s gift.”!!  Bacchiocchi does not appear to be seeking Truth, since he rejects the most likely meaning of this passage.  He instead uses tortured “logic” to distort this passage, so that it can be interpreted in a way more suited to his preconceived ideas.

 

Paul, in this passage does state that the purpose of the Sunday Collection, was to avoid taking up a collection when he came.  It truly does make no sense if Paul meant the offering to be privately in one’s home, for this would require a later collection of the money and this is precisely what Paul wanted to avoid.  

 

Not only does this passage show that The Sabbath Day was now Sunday, but also it shows that The Sabbath Day was not Saturday.  If they gathered together on Saturday, then the collection could be made then.  If they met on Saturday, it would make more sense to take up collections when met than at one’s private home.  The fact that Paul did not recommend this, shows that the Bacchiocchian Speculation is a fantasy.

 

Bacchiocchi proceeds to make a lot of other points which add little to the discussion, but fills a lot of pages.  He tells us that Pacifico Massi (whoever he is?) Prefers to interpret this passage another way (page 91).  It really makes little difference to us what Mr. Massi prefers.

 

Bacchiocchi tells us that some of the Jews would not take up “Collections” on The Sabbath.  He concludes therefore that Sunday could not be The Sabbath since Christians took up collections on Sunday. 

 

Nice try, but doesn’t prove anything.  Many Jewish customs and rules were rejected by Christ and His Christians, as Paul indicated in many passages.

 

Paul even complains of those Jews who hearing of Christ, still keep the Jewish Sabbaths: “You observe days, and months, and times, and years.  I am afraid of you, least perhaps I have labored in vain among you.”  Gal. 4:10-11

 

Bacchiocchi gets into a long discussion (page 95-97) on whether the early Christians met for The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (The Lord’s Supper), in the morning or in the evening.(?)  This is all quite interesting, but beside the point.  Sunday was the new Sabbath Day regardless of the time of day for Mass.

 

On page 100, Bacchiocchi spends a lot of effort to show that: “The Plan then is proposed not to enhance Sunday Worship by offering of gifts (as we are supposedly claiming), but to ensure a substantial and efficient collection upon his arrival.” 

 

His implication of course being that we are trying to make the contrary position - which we are not.   We don’t claim that taking up a collection during Mass “enhances” the Worship!

 

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Bacchiocchi often likes to create such “straw men” and then proceed to destroy them.  The point we make is not that collections were made to enhance Sunday Worship, but that the collections were made on Sunday because the Faithful were already gathering together on that day since it was now The Sabbath Day for Christians.  It only makes sense that collections be made when the people are together, and not on some other day, when they are not.  Since collections were made on Sunday, this proves the people gathered together on that day. Therefore it shows that Sunday and not Saturday was now the Sabbath Day.

 

To his credit, Bacchiocchi makes two important concessions:

 

1. On page 99 he admits: “We shall notice that a few decades later (150AD) Justin Martyr explicitly and emphatically informs the Emperor that Christians gathered on ‘the day of the Sun’.” 

2. On page 101 he admits “the fact that Sunday was then known as the first day of the Sabbath” (during Paul’s time).

 

Apocalypse (Revelations) 1:10

 

“I was in the spirit on The Lord’s Day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”

 

The term “The Lord’s Day” usually refers to Sunday - the new Sabbath Day.  Bacchiocchi admits this (page 17): “The expression ‘Lord’s Day’ which first appears as an undisputed Christian designation for Sunday near the end part of the second Century, denotes a day which belongs exclusively to the Lord.”

 

Here is an example, in the New Testament, of this term being used by St. John.  A further indication of Sunday Sabbath in Apostolic times for those that will see.

 

Of course one can speculate on other meanings of this phrase, as Bacchiocchi does for 20 pages!  Such speculations are not facts however, and when used to cast doubt on the obvious or most likely meaning of Scripture - they are a distortion of Scripture and “lead to destruction”.

 

Bacchiocchi suggests it might mean “Easter Sunday” but has only speculation for this opinion.  Then he suggests it might mean “the day of the Lord”, which is a term used to refer to the Second Coming and final Judgment of Mankind.  This is not what John was referring to since It hasn’t happened yet.

 

Bacchiocchi points out (page 17) that: “The sayings of Christ found in the Gospels do not contain the expression Lord’s Day.”

 

This is not unexpected since the reason for the term “Lord’s Day” did not occur till Christ’s death and Resurrection of Easter Sunday.  As we can see in Apoc. 1:10 - John did use this term.

 

5b. Historical Evidence of the Change of the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday:

 

The Nazarene Heresy:

 

Bacchiocchi (page 156-157) commenting on the Nazarene Heresy:  “The fact that they retained Sabbath - keeping as one of their distinguishing marks shows persuasively that this was the original day of worship of the Jerusalem Church and that no change from Sabbath to Sunday occurred among Palestinian Jewish Christians after the destruction of the city.”

 

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COMMENT:

 

Well “Sabbath - keeping” has always been a distinguishing mark of a Christian and still is.  I assume by this statement, Bacchiocchi means the Nazarenes held Saturday to be The Sabbath Day like the Jews that rejected Christ.  The fact that the Nazarenes were considered Heretics, does not prove that this change in Sabbath Day did not occur.  On the contrary, they were considered Heretics because they refused to follow the Christian Norm and retained their Jewish Saturday customs.

The Nazarene event shows that the change of The Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday did indeed occur - otherwise they would not have been considered Heretics!

 

Conflict between Pagan Rome, the Jews and the Christians:

 

Bacchiocchi (Chapter VI - page 165), takes literally pages to develop the conflict between Pagan Rome and the Jews - suggesting that the (Gentile) Christians at the time changed the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday in order to please the Pagans in Rome, and show them that they were not Jews. 

 

COMMENT:

 

Well, convincing a Pagan that one was a Christian, and not a Jew, was certainly no protection from persecution!  Many, many Christians were fed to the Lions for their Faith.  To suggest that Christians were motivated to change the Sabbath Day, out of fear that the Pagans would think them Jews, is ridiculous!

 

Christians Accused of Sun-Worship:

 

In his search for some reason (other than the Resurrection of Christ) for the primitive Church changing the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday, Bacchiocchi himself, gives us another proof that this was done!  His Chapter VII on Sun Worship, points out that Pagans were known to worship the Sun on Sunday.  He shows us that the early Christians were accused of being Sun Worshipers by their enemies because of the change of the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday:  “Christians resented and denied the accusation of being Sun-Worshipers” (page 252).  Indeed, many suffered horrible Martyrdoms rather than offer a pinch of incense on the Imperial altars.  Bacchiocchi gives examples of this Christian denial (Tertullian - “Apology To The Pagans”; 197AD).

 

Bacchiocchi accuses The Church of the change form Saturday to Sunday to be motivated by hatred of Jews and to please the Pagans and their practice of Sun worship.  Yet he himself gives many references showing the early Fathers denying this charge, and teaching through the Centuries that the change was made to honor The Resurrection.

 

Pliny The Younger (AD 62? - 113):

 

“Pliny was an orator and a statesman.  He was Consul (AD 100).  His fame rests on his letters, written probably for publication.  They are an excellent mirror of Roman life, composed in good taste and in good Latin.”  The Columbia Encyclopedia.

 

Pliny wrote about 111 AD to emperor Trojan that the Christians are used to gather “on Sunday before dawn singing hymns to Christ like to a god”.  Kirch 28-31.  This Roman governor was then in Asia and not in Italy (Rome).  Proving that the Sabbath change was throughout the Christian world and not just in “the Church of Rome”.

 

Page 217

 

Fortescue:

 

One of the most renowned Authors on the Liturgy is Adrian Fortescue.  Many of the following references come from his “The Mass - A Study of The Roman Liturgy”, Second Edition 1937.

 

Fortescue, summing up Chapter 2, “The Liturgy in The Apostolic Fathers”, page 15:

 

“We have then from Apostolic Fathers the fact that there was at any rate a certain amount of uniformity in the Liturgy of the first Century, a few allusions that seem to be liturgical, such as The Sanctus* and Our Father*, references to Sunday as supplanting the (Saturday) Sabbath ....”.

* These Prayers are still in The Mass today.

 

Didache:

 

“Didache is an early Christian work written in Greek, called also The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.  Dates for its composition suggested by scholars have ranged from AD 50 to AD 150.  Not discovered until 1875, it is an invaluable primary source for the primitive Church.”  The Columbia Encyclopedia.

 

Chapter 14,1: “Every Sunday of the Lord, having assembled together (for Mass), break bread and give thanks, having confessed your sins, that your Sacrifice (The Mass) be pure.”  Forescue page 8.

 

Saint Barnabas:

 

“St. Barnabas: Apostle, missionary companion of Paul and of Mark, his relative.   He is said to have been martyred in Cyprus.  One of the oldest Christian Pseudepigrapha is an epistle attributed to Barnabas. He is named in the Canon of The Mass.  Feast June 11.”  The Columbia Encyclopedia.

 

Epistle of Barnabas probably written about the time of Nerva (96-98):

 

“We celebrate the eighth day (Sunday) in Joy, on which Jesus rose from the dead”.  Fortescue page 14.

 

This is early evidence of the reason why the Sabbath Day was changed from Saturday to Sunday.

 

Saint Ignatius:

 

“St. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch, (d. 107) and Christian Martyr.  A disciple of St. John the Evangelist.  He wrote the important letters to the churches in Rome and in Asia Minor, and to St. Polycarp.  The seven epistles are an invaluable testimony to the beliefs and internal organization of the early Christians.  He firmly denounced the Judaizing tendencies then prevalent.  St. Ignatius is the first in Christian literature to use the word ‘Catholic’.”  The Columbia Encyclopedia.

 

St. Ignatius’ Epistle to the Magu(esians?) IX,1: 

 

“For if we are still practicing Judaism (Saturday Sabbath), we admit that we have not received God’s favor.  For the most divine prophets lived in accordance with Jesus Christ.”  Ch. 8 The Apostolic Fathers, 1950 (page 213 Bacchiocchi).

 

“The necessity to renounce Jewish customs is again urged in Chapter 10:3, where the warning is given that ‘it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews’(Saturday Sabbath).”  Bacchiocchi page 213-214.

 

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Bacchiocchi himself, gives us the testimony of Great Saints and Martyrs as to the reality and need for The Sabbath Day to be changed from Saturday to Sunday.

 

Saint Justin

 

“St. Justin Martyr (100 - 165 AD).  He and some disciples were Martyred in Rome under Marcus Aurelius.  Of his writings ( in Greek), only two undisputed works remain, The Apology and The Dialogue.  The Apology is a learned defense of Christians against charges of Atheism and sedition in the Roman state; it contains an exposition of Christian ethics and invaluable records of the customs and practices of 2nd Century Christianity.  The Dialogue sets forth in the form of an argument with Trypho (or Tryphon) the Jew a philosophic defense of Christian beliefs, particularly with reference to Jewish writings.  Feast April 14.”  The Columbia Encyclopedia.

 

In his first Apology to Antoninus Pius (138-161): “And on the day called of the Sun (Sunday) an assembly in one place is made of all who live in towns and in the country....” (67,3)

 

“We all make our reunion on the day of the sun (Sunday), since that is the first day on which God, changing the darkness and water, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose form the dead.” (67,7) Fortescue p. 20.

 

Acts of John:

 

“John therefore kept company with the brethren rejoicing in the Lord, and on the next day, as it was a Sunday and all the brethren were assembled.” E. Hennecke, The New Testament Apocrypha, 1965, II, P 256.  See Bacchiocchi page 122-123, Footnote 99.

 

Acts of Peter:

 

“And on the first day of the week, that is the Lord’s Day, a crowd gathered and many sick persons were brought to Peter that he might heal them.” E. Hennecke, The New Testament Apocrypha, 1965, II, P 314.  See Bacchiocchi page 122-123, Footnote 99.

 

Eusebius (263 -339) Bishop of Caesarea:

 

“All that had been prescribed for the (Saturday) Sabbath, we have transferred to the Lords’s Day (Sunday Sabbath), since it is more authoritative, the one that dominates, the first and the one which has more value than the (Saturday) Sabbath.”  Bacchiocchi page 296, Footnote 88.

 

Saint Athanasius (297-373):

 

St. Athanasius was a Doctor of The Church, patriarch of Alexandria.  Bacchiocchi, (footnote 15, page 217-218): “Athanasius, Epistolae festales 14, 5 pg 26, 1421, exhorts his readers not to fall back again into (Saturday) Sabbath observance.”

 

Saint Cyril:

 

Bacchiocchi: “Cyril, Catecheses 4, 37, Pg 33, 502 warns the catechumens not to fall back into the Jewish religion.”

 

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Saint Basil (330-379):

 

St. Basil was Bishop of Caesarea, Doctor of The Church, and one of the Four Fathers of the Greek Church.  Bacchiocchi: “Basil considers heretics those who advocate the observance of the (Saturday) Sabbath, Epistula 264, 4, Pg 32, 980.”

 

Saint John Chrysostom (347-407):

 

“Doctor of The Church, greatest of the Greek Fathers” The Columbia Encyclopedia.

 

Bacchiocchi: “John Chrysostom denounces strongly those Christians who visited the synagogues and celebrated Jewish feasts, particularly the (Saturday) Sabbath, Aversus Judaeos 1, Pg 48, 843, 856 and 941".

 

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-74):

 

“In the New Law the observance of The Lord’s Day took the place of the observance of the (Saturday) Sabbath not by virtue of the precept but by the institution of The Church and the custom of Christian People.”  Summa Theologica 1947, II, Q. 122 art 4. P1702.  Bacchiocchi page 310, footnote 6.

 

The Council of Laodicea (AD 360):

 

“Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea (AD 360) explicitly condemns the veneration of the (Saturday) Sabbath and enjoins working on such a day in order to show a special respect for Sunday: ‘Christians must not Judaize by resting on the (Saturday) Sabbath, but must work on that day honoring rather the Lord’s Day (new Sabbath) by resting, if possible, as Christians.  However if any shall be found Judaizing, let him be Anathema from Christ.”  Bacchiocchi footnote 15, page 217.

 

The Church and Her Saints have spoken.  “Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven ...”  Matt. 16:19.  To hear The Church is to hear God.  Luke 10:16.

 

There is therefore overwhelming evidence from Holy Scripture, from History, from the teaching of The Church through Her Saints and Councils and Decrees, that The Sabbath Day to be kept Holy per the Third Commandment of God, has indeed been changed from Saturday to Sunday and for good reason. 

 

True, the Scriptural evidence, while quite strong, does not explicitly and clearly state that it is God’s Will that the Sabbath Day be changed from Saturday to Sunday.  It is this way because God wanted it this way.  Why?

 

6. Why was not such an important change indicated more clearly in The Bible?

 

RESPONSE:

 

Because it is God’s Will that we listen to His Church!  Luke 10:16

 

Those who refuse to “listen to His Church” are as “heathens” (Matt. 18:17). Almighty God has therefore made certain passages of Scripture “hard to understand” (Acts 8:28-31), so that those who refuse to “listen to The Church”, because of “the hardness of their hearts” towards Her (Mark 4:11-20; John 12:37-48; Acts 28:25-27), will be “fooled into believing a lie” so that they “would not be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10; 2 Tim. 4:1-5).  This is all very Scriptural!

 

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Which reminds us of the warnings of Christ, that Sodom will fair better on the Day of Judgment than those who have heard His Truth and have rejected It.  Matt. 11:20-24.

 

Even Bacchiocchi admits that The Church changed The Sabbath to Sunday by the 2nd Century.  It has been that way for almost 2000 years!  Scripture assures us that Christ would be with The Church ALL DAYS, even to the end of the world.  Matt. 28:20.  The gates of Hell will not prevail against Her.  Matt. 16:18.  God established His Church to be The Light, The Teacher, The Guide to lead souls to Him.  God could not allow His Church to make such a grave error as violating The Sabbath Day, and teaching Her children to do so also!  God could not allow it!  He is all Good and all Just.  The fact that The Church has always taught - through the long Centuries - that the Sabbath Day God intends for us to keep Holy, is now Sunday and not Saturday, is itself proof that God Wills It.  “To Hear The Church is to Hear God!” (Luke 10:16).

 

It is The Catholic Church that The Holy Ghost guided to write the New Testament.

 

It is The Catholic Church that The Holy Ghost guided to put together the Holy Scriptures, throwing out some questionable writings, keeping those that were truly inspired.

 

It is The Catholic Church that The Holy Ghost guided to protect these Scriptures from the Barbarians (of every Century).

 

It is The Monks of The Catholic Church that used up their eyes making copies of These Scriptures.

 

It is The Catholic Church that The Holy Ghost guided to teach Her children what was in Holy Scripture and the other Truths God intended us to know.

 

This same Catholic Church whom The Holy Ghost was without question guiding (or else there would be no Bible today), this same Church - The Catholic Church - was also Guided by The Holy Ghost with respect to THE SABBATH!  To say otherwise is to Blaspheme The Holy Ghost!  We cannot pick and choose.  To reject one Doctrine is to reject them all.  James 2:10!

 

7. What about attending Sunday Mass on Saturday?

 

RESPONSE:

 

The Catholic Church has established certain prayers and Scriptural Passages for every day of the year.  Until the New “Mass”, the Church has never allowed the Sunday Mass to be said on Saturday.  Sunday is The Sabbath Day and not Saturday.  Of course its OK and encouraged to attend Mass on Saturday and every weekday but these Masses do not take the place of Sunday Mass. 

 

Only the New “Mass” is offered as a Sunday Mass on Saturday!  We shouldn’t be attending this “Mass” on any day, because it is either invalid (improper Matter, Form, Minister, or Intention or all four) or its valid which is worse, because then it’s a Sacrilege!



[113]. De Utilit. Cred. Xvii.35 from Providentissimus Deus, Pope Leo XIII.

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QUESTIONS

 

Apologetics Chapter XXI - WHICH DAY IS THE SABBATH DAY?

 

1. Write your name so I can read it. (5 points)

 

2. Circle “T” or “F” when the following statements are True or False: (20 points)

 

   T   F   Every Saturday was a Sabbath day for the Jews.

 

   T   F   There were other Sabbath days the Ancient Jews had to observe besides Saturday.

 

   T   F   A Sabbath Day is a day of rest and giving honor and glory to God.

 

   T   F   The Saturday Sabbath Day was to commemorate the Redemption of Mankind.

 

   T   F   All Laws can be changed by the Authority that made the Law in the first place.

 

   T   F    Truths can be changed by the Authority that made the Truth in the first place.

 

   T   F   The Sunday Sabbath Day is to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ and the

              redemption of mankind.

 

   T   F   The Sabbath Day was changed from Saturday to Sunday by the Catholic Church in the

               2nd Century.

 

   T   F   The Apostle Paul offered Mass on Sunday.

 

   T   F   Often the word “Sabbath” is used to mean the Saturday Sabbath and The Lord’s Day is

              used to mean the Sunday Sabbath.

 

2. Fill in the blanks: The Saturday Sabbath commemorated   _____________________________,

     (10 points)          The Sunday Sabbath commemorates _______________________________.

 

3. Why was the Sabbath Day changed from Saturday to Sunday?  (10 points).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4. Why is a Saturday Sabbath now considered a great Evil when in the past it was good. (10 points).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Explain how 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 is a strong indication from Holy Scripture that The Sabbath day was changed from Saturday to Sunday during Apostolic times. (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6. Give one example from early History that shows that the early Christians celebrated Sunday as the Sabbath Day. (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Why did God allow the Bible to be hard to understand and even lacking many of the Truths we must know?  (15 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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