Why Worship on Sunday? A Saturday vs Sunday Comparison

The Ten CommandmentsI have been an advocate for “salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ” for more than forty years. I also believe in the perpetual and obligatory nature of the Ten Commandments at a time when many Christians have been led to think that faith and obedience are mutually opposed.

It is a joy to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and to see attitudes and lives changed through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. It surprises some people to learn that God’s amazing grace is only necessary because God’s laws are eternal. King David wrote, “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” (Psalm 119:160)

The Bible says that where there is no law, there is no sin. (Romans 4:15) It also says that sin is the transgression of God’s law. (1 John 3:4) If love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10), we can say that the Ten Commandments are an expression of God’s two laws of love.

The first four commandments describe what love for God will produce and the last six commandments describe what love for our neighbors will produce. The Ten Commandments were declared in the Old Testament and all of them were reiterated in the New Testament because collectively, they constitute the law of God.

The Ten Commandments do not say anything about eternal life because the purpose of the Ten Commandments is not salvation. When it comes to salvation, there are two kinds of legalists. One legalist believes that eternal life comes through perfect obedience to God’s law (like the rich young ruler who thought he was without fault in God’s sight).

The other legalist is someone who has convinced himself that he is saved because he totally believes that he is saved. This person regards God’s grace as a legally binding, “Get out of jail (Hell) for free,” ticket and he rejects the idea there is any connection between behavior and salvation.

Serious Bible students know that faith in God is the doorway to eternal life – not grace, not law. Grace does not save us, instead God’s grace makes the doorway to salvation possible. Law does not save us instead, God’s law transforms us into citizens of His kingdom. The Bible says a person is saved “through faith.” (Romans 3:22; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 3:9)

The word “faith” has many common meanings, but the only kind of faith that produces salvation is what I call “salvific faith.”* Salvific faith occurs when a person is prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something and the price for obedience is significant, yet the person is willing to obey the voice of the Spirit, leaving the consequences in God’s hands.

Consider these examples given in Hebrews 11: By faith, Abraham left his homeland behind when he was called to go to another land. By faith, Noah sold all he had and built an ark. By faith, Abel killed a lamb, put it on the altar, and it cost him his life. Paul declares that everyone who lives by faith is given the righteousness necessary for salvation (Romans 1:17) and this explains how sinners become heirs of salvation.

(*Note: Salvific faith is not to be confused with intellectual assent, arrogance, religious persuasion, or a “faith based denomination.” I define this faith narrowly because it pertains to the humble attitude and obedient behavior that leads to eternal life.)

The Ten Commandments are Ten Promises

When our Creator wrote the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets with His own finger, He wrote out ten promises. This may come as a surprise, but the Ten Commandments describe ten changes that will happen in a person’s life when they love God with all their heart, mind and soul, and their neighbors as themselves. This explains why the Ten Commandments are called a covenant. (Exodus 34:28)

When our love for a neighbor keeps us from stealing his possessions, God’s eighth promise has been fulfilled. When our love for God keeps us from using His name in vain, His third promise has been fulfilled. God has promised to put His ten laws within the hearts and minds of all who seek Him. (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 10:16) Every Christian knows that a person can only walk with God for as long as his heart and mind aligns with God’s heart and mind. Moses said to God, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” (Exodus 33:13)

Obeying the Ten Commandments has many practical and pleasant benefits, but these benefits have nothing to do with salvation until they become a test of faith. For example, in Daniel 3, the faith of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego was tested with being burned alive in a fiery furnace. Would they bow down and worship the golden image or would they put their faith in God and obey His second commandment which forbids worshiping images.

Of course, temptations are not always this drastic, but make no mistake about it. When we are tempted with little things such as lying to avoid the consequences, our faith in God is being tested. Should we do what is right and trust God to help us work through the consequences or should we deceive and humanly resolve the situation?

The Ten Commandments are now located in a box called the Ark of His Covenant – or the Ark of His Promise. Unlike many Christian believers, I understand the Bible predicts a day is coming when God will test the whole world to see whether we love Him and our neighbors as His law requires. At the end of this testing time, He will reveal the Ark of His Covenant from Heaven because His covenant and the blood of Jesus are the basis for our redemption! (Revelation 11:19)

If the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross as many Christians claim, why would God show an empty box to the world at the end of the Great Tribulation?

My Response to “Why Worship on Sunday?”

I do not wish to aggravate anyone even though the topic of Saturday vs Sunday can quickly become argumentative. So please consider this: Even though I have concluded the Ten Commandments are obligatory, I can only speak for myself. I believe that until/unless a person becomes convicted by the Holy Spirit that he should observe God’s seventh day Sabbath, he should not.

Keeping the Sabbath holy (or for that matter, keeping Sunday holy) should be a matter of Holy Spirit conviction. I have many friends that do not see in Scripture what I see. I understand this. The Bible teaches that spiritual things are spiritually understood (1 Corinthians 2:13–14; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Because we are at different places in our spiritual understanding, there will be differences, but our differences must not lessen our love for one another – although we recognize that spiritual differences affect our interactions with one another.

The fourth commandment declares the seventh day of the week is a memorial to God’s creation (Exodus 20:11), a day which He made holy before sin began (Genesis 2:1–3), and a day of rest for all humanity (Exodus 20:8–10). However, many Christians challenge this understanding with seven essential arguments used by Christians over the past 2,000 years to justify the observance of Sunday. When collectively assembled, these arguments appear to make a strong case for the observance of Sunday as a holy day if you are not acquainted with the details of each argument. However, when we consider each argument and see what the Bible says, I believe the conclusions that the majority of Christians follow are incorrect.

However, each person has to look at the evidence and determine for himself whether the Bible supports the claim that God has transferred the sacredness of His Sabbath to Sunday.

May I also say that since the Sabbath versus Sunday question has behavioral consequences, I am reminded of this remarkable statement: “When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease being honest.” — Richard J. Humpal, JD

1. The Holy Spirit Came at Pentecost on Sunday

Sunday worship advocates maintain that the Holy Spirit was given to the early church on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:1)  According to the Old Testament, Pentecost came of the first day of the week (Leviticus 23:15–16), so the Holy Spirit confirmed that Christians should worship on the first day of the week.

Sunday worshipers insinuate that the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost made the seventh day obsolete and the first day holy. But does it? According to Leviticus 23, we know that Pentecost always fell on a Sunday. The question is how can the observance of Pentecost neutralize the fourth commandment AFTER the cross when it had absolutely no effect on the Sabbath commandment PRIOR to the cross?

Therefore, claiming that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at an obsolete feast that took place some fifty days AFTER the cross suddenly cancels the divine authority of the Ten Commandments is not logical.

2. Jesus was Resurrected on Sunday

Christians argue that Jesus’ resurrection (John 20:1), appearance on Resurrection Sunday, and appearance a week later on Sunday (John 20:26) suddenly made Sunday holy.  Even though Jesus arose from the dead on Sunday morning, there is no text in the Bible indicating that the sacredness of God’s Sabbath was transferred to Sunday because due to Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday. It seems strange and out of character for God to suddenly initiate Sunday observance on Resurrection Sunday and not say anything about it.

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene on Sunday morning, He also appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and He appeared to the remainder of His disciples that evening. (John 20:19) Later, Jesus also “appeared” to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias on a completely different day. (John 21:1) When it comes to abolishing the sacredness of God’s Sabbath, what difference does it make if Jesus appeared to His disciples on Sunday or any other day of the week?

Luke 24:13 indicates the distance between Jerusalem and Emmaus was seven miles. According to the record, Jesus joined two of His disciples as they walked several miles to Emmaus. After discovering it was Jesus who walked with them (and Jesus suddenly disappeared), they walked back to Jerusalem that evening to tell the other disciples that they had seen a risen Jesus.

Luke’s account indicates that the disciples did not regard Sunday as a holy day for possibly three reasons. First, they traveled the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus on Sunday. If Sunday was to be considered a holy day, they were unaware of it because walking seven miles is not in keeping with the commandment to rest on God’s Sabbath. Second, when they discovered that Jesus was alive, they traveled seven miles again and probably arrived in Jerusalem on Monday evening. (Remember, in Bible times, when Sunday ended at sunset, Monday night began.)

Would the disciples have walked 14 miles if Sunday was considered a holy day? Acts 1:12 stated that a Sabbath day’s walk was no more than two miles. Finally, the two disciples had been raised as Jews. As such, they had observed the seventh day Sabbath rest all of their lives. Again, it seems strange that there was no discussion; not a single word mentioned about the sacredness of Sunday as they walked with Jesus to Emmaus.

Think back for a moment. Just five days before walking with His disciples to Emmaus, Jesus and His disciples sat on the Mount of Olives. The disciples were anxious to know about the end of the world (Matthew 24:3) and responding to their concern, Jesus uttered two prophecies. The first prophecy pertained to the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem which was forty years away (A.D. 70) and the second pertains to the end of the world.

When speaking about the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus said, “Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 24:20) If Jesus foreknew that the sacredness of His Sabbath would be transferred to Sunday just five days after uttering this prophecy, why did He encourage His disciples to pray that they would not have to travel on the Sabbath forty years later?

Given the profound impact and resistance that would have occurred if Jewish converts had been told to suddenly start resting and worshiping on Sunday and working on the Sabbath, the New Testament would have much to say about such an argument. There is an enormous amount of controversy over simple things such as circumcision and food offered to idols – but there is no mention of any controversy concerning the sudden arrival of a new holy day. Zero.

This silence indicates there was no controversy about the sacredness of Sunday between Jews and Christians in the New Testament because neither group considered Sunday to be a holy day during the first century A.D.

3. Paul Ate at the Lord’s Table on Sunday

Sunday keepers also use Paul’s actions at Troas to support Sunday observance.  They maintain that Paul preached to believers (Acts 20:7) and believers partook of the Lord’s Table, both on the first day of the week.

If I were advocating Sunday observance, I would not use Acts 20:7 because this argument always backfires when the facts are investigated. To begin, notice the timing of Acts 20:7. At Creation, God established a day as a period of time between two sunsets. (Genesis 1; Leviticus 23:32; John 19:31)

In other words, the evening is used to mark the beginning of the night and the morning is used to mark the beginning of the light. Given God’s method for measuring time, Paul met with the believers in Troas as the first day of the week began, but in our world today, the first day of the week does not begin until midnight. Do you think Sunday keeping Christians should still observe Sunday from sunset to sunset?

“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave [KJV: on the morrow] the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.” (Acts 20:7–8)

Three facts stand out about this meeting that need thoughtful consideration:

1. Advocates of Sunday worship argue “the believers partook of the Lord’s Table,” but Acts 20:7 does not mention the believers partook of the Lord’s Table. The text only says they “came together to break bread.” Breaking bread does not necessarily mean partaking of the Lord’s Table. “Breaking bread” is an biblical expression for sharing or eating a meal. (Luke 24:35; Acts 27:35)

Notice this passage, taken from Acts 2 because it predates Acts 20 by fifteen or more years: “Every day they [the believers] continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46–47, insertion mine)

Paul’s preaching was interrupted by an accident at midnight. Eutychus went to sleep sitting in a window and he fell to the ground from the third story. The fall killed him, but the Holy Spirit brought Eutychus to life through Paul. After this miraculous event occurred, Paul went back upstairs, broke bread again and continued talking until daylight. At daybreak he left Troas with his traveling associates because Paul and his associates did not regard Sunday as a holy day! (Acts 20:9–13)

Before we proceed, consider this question: Let’s assume the assertion that Sunday worship is valid for a moment. Does partaking of “the Lord’s Table” on Sunday make Sunday a holy day? Before you answer do not forget that Jesus and His disciples ate the very first “Lord’s Supper” on a Thursday night. (1 Corinthians 11:23–25) After comparing the timing of Jesus and His disciples with that of Paul and his associates, which example is more important? Does either example make either day holy?

2. Additionally, Acts 20:7 does not describe a regularly called church service. The Bible says that Paul regularly worshiped on the Sabbath. (Acts 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; 19:8) Acts 20:7 is a farewell meeting, not a church service on a holy day. The meeting was held during Paul’s final hours in Troas because many of the believers suspected it could be the last time they would see Paul.

3. Is it possible that two meals and a farewell seminar in Troas makes Sunday a holy day? Does any man have the authority to cancel the law of God, the Ten Commandments? The Bible says that Paul left Troas at daylight (verse 11). He continued his journey on the first day of the week because Sunday was not a holy day in his mind.

The evidence in Acts 20 adds up to a simple conclusion: Paul and his traveling associates did not consider the first day of the week to be a holy day over fifteen years after Christ’s ascension.

4. Paul had Believers Bring Their Offerings on Sunday

Another Bible reference that is often used is in 1 Corinthians 16:2.  In that text, Paul instructed the believers in Corinth to bring their offerings to the Lord on the first day of the week.  Sunday advocates maintain that the first day of the week obviously must be valid because they were assembling together on Sunday.

This assertion is not supported by the text. Here’s the text: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:2)

Why did Paul make this request? Paul admonished the believers in Corinth to gather up whatever cash they could each week so that when he arrived, he could collect the cash and take it to the suffering saints in Jerusalem.

Paul made this request because barter was the nature and order of business in those days. Paul did not want two things to happen when he arrived. First, he could not sail to Jerusalem with donated animals and a few thousand pounds of material goods. Therefore, Paul wanted all donations to be converted into cash before he arrived.

Second, Paul did not want believers in Corinth to wait until he arrived and then rush out and foolishly convert their possessions into a lesser amount of cash because they were in a hurry to get cash. So, Paul wisely advised that believers start on Sunday of each week, which was regarded as a regular business day, to begin the process of converting their possessions into cash and at a good exchange rate.

Does Paul’s request to the believers in Corinth support Sunday worship or the holiness of Sunday? Not at all. In fact, Paul advocated taking care of business on Sunday, a regular workday.

5. People were Baptized at Pentecost on Sunday

The Bible indicates that 3,000 people were baptized at Pentecost. To some Sunday advocates, this somehow makes Sunday a sacred day. They maintain that on the day of Pentecost, the first message in the New Testament church was given (Acts 2:14), the first converts were added to the church, and the first believer’s baptisms took place (Acts 2:37).

Baptizing people on Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday does not make the day holy. A prayer meeting does not make any day holy. Even if Jesus was baptized on Sunday, this would not make Sunday holy. As far as we can tell, John the Baptist baptized people every day of the week! (Mark 1)

6. Early Christians Did Not Change the Day of Worship to Sunday

Sunday worships who have researched the subject do believe that political history may have influenced the observance of Sunday.  However, they do not believe that Constantine changed the timing of the Lord’s day from Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday or the Council of Laodicea gave an edict which changed the timing.  Advocates of Sunday worship use this argument because know that mere mortals cannot change what the Creator Himself has declared to be holy. Men may “think” they can change God’s set times and laws, but no created being has the authority to override Almighty God.

Catholics and most Protestants observe Sunday as a holy day, which means most Christians accept the holiness of Sunday without ever investigating how and why it came to be. There is not one text in the New Testament associating “the Lord’s Day” with Sunday. However, there is one text that associates the Lord’s day with the seventh day Sabbath and it is found in Mark 2:27,28: “And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

The Romans hated the Jews so much they finally destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The Romans also thought the followers of Christ were just another sect of Jews (Christ was a Jew), so early Christians sought to distance themselves from the Jews in various ways after the destruction of Jerusalem. One technique used was to call the seventh day “the Lord’s day” rather than call it “the Sabbath.”

The Romans called the seventh day “Saturday,” so Roman Christians did not want to call Saturday “the Sabbath” because it sounded too Jewish. When Christians in Rome finally broke away from observing the seventh day of the week (around A.D. 150), they applied the term, “the Lord’s day” to Sunday, because they said, “Jesus came from the tomb on that day.”

However, a Bible believing Christian must ask, “Does the apostasy of early Christians in Rome affect the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments?” Did Israel’s apostasy cancel the perpetuity of the fourth commandment? Not according to Jesus! (Mark 2:27–28)

7. Early Believers Met on Sunday

Another argument is that  the writings of early church fathers such as Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Didache, Ignatius, Dionysius, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian affirmed that believers were meeting on Sundays as the Lord’s Day.

During the past two hundred years, Protestants have used this argument as a smoke screen to hide many essential historical facts from sight, but the historical facts tell a very different story than what is claimed.

During the first century A.D., Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire because of relentless persecution. The Caesar’s intent was to wipe the Jews off the face of the Earth. Therefore, certain compromises and transformations were made by Jewish converts in different places for the sake of survival. About 120 years after Jesus ascended and 70 years after Jerusalem had been destroyed, Judaism’s influence over Christianity had faded. Meanwhile, a large number of Gentiles in Italy had become believers in Jesus.

As they “joined the church.” they brought with them their peculiar religious baggage. As a result, Christianity in Rome mutated into a Romanesque religion largely free of Jewish influence. By A.D. 150, Christians and believers in Mithra had found a number of areas where compromise and mutual respect were possible.

About this time, a well-educated man by the name of Justin Martyr became a Christian. As a Christian apologist, he tried to soften the hostility that existed between Romans and Christians and the followers of Mithra. One area of compromise concerned religious meetings. The followers of Mithra worshiped on Sunday (actually they partied on Sunday) because Sunday was the birthday of their god.

Christians in Rome, anxious to erase their Jewish identity, found a good reason to celebrate with the followers of Mithra on Sunday, since Jesus was resurrected on Sunday! Hence, Justin Martyr wrote:

“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology of Justin Martyr, Ante-Nicean Christian Library, (Boston 1887) p, 187 Chap 67)

The justification Martyr used for holding a common assembly on Sunday is interesting. First, he cited the separation of darkness and light on the first day of Creation as grounds for holding a common assembly, and then the resurrection of Jesus. Martyr offered no Scriptural authority for holding a common assembly on Sunday, but his remarks did suggest how wary Christians divorced themselves from their Jewish roots.

In those days, Christianity had no “central office” or headquarters and each geographical location adjusted their beliefs and doctrines as they chose. During the last part of the second century A.D., Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, became alarmed at a number of heresies that had infiltrated the Christian movement. He was aware of how the Christians in Rome had begun to meet on Sunday and abandon the seventh day Sabbath and he spoke out against it. He wrote:

“For He [Christ] did not make void, but fulfilled the law [Ten Commandments].” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Vol 1 Ante-Nicean Christian Library, (Boston, 1997) p, 471 insertions mine)

Tertullian, another early church father, wrote extensively concerning Christian doctrine. He, like Irenaeus, was alarmed at the practices of certain Christians, especially those who lived in Rome. In regard to the seventh day Sabbath he wrote:

“Thus Christ did not at all rescind the Sabbath. He kept the law [Ten Commandments] thereof. . . He restored to the Sabbath the works which were proper for it.” (Tertullian, Book IV, Chap 12, Vol 3 Ante-Nicean Christian Library, (Boston, 1997) p, 362 insertion mine)

Considerable discussion on Sunday observance took occurred in those early days. Archelaus, a bishop wrote in his disputation with Manes:

“Again as to the assertion that the [seventh day] Sabbath has been abolished we deny that He [Christ] has abolished it plainly. For He Himself was also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Archelaus, The Disputation with Manes, Vol 4 Ante-Nicean Christian Library, (Boston 1887), p, 217 insertions mine)

By A.D. 320, confusion and compromise had taken a heavy toll on early Christian doctrine. Christians had been scattered by persecution to every province throughout the Roman Empire. Christians in Alexandria, Egypt (the South) were beginning to defend views that were different from those in Rome (the North).

Church authority was discussed, debated, and argued. Most church leaders agreed that church doctrine needed to be more clearly defined and controlled, but who was going to be in control? Many questions and issues were raised for which there was little agreement.

Distance, culture, education, language, and social factors were beginning to define Christendom according to geography. Thoughtful men anticipated the result would be a highly fractured church. Christianity needed a strong leader and the emperor, Constantine, soon concluded he was it! He believed he had been divinely appointed to lead the universal Christian Church.

When Constantine ascended to the throne as sole ruler of the empire about A.D. 312, he had transformed himself into a Christian solely for political advantage. Constantine was cunning and he saw Christianity as a means of unifying the Roman Empire. When he endorsed the “Roman version” of Christianity, Constantine set a powerful sequence of events into motion that he could not begin to imagine. In future years, the church in Rome would eventually dominate Christianity.

I hope that this historical information will help you understand how Sunday observance began in Rome. The Romans were the first to merge Sunday observance into Christianity. Strange as it may seem, early advocates of Sunday observance never claimed or used divine authority for this action. In fact, the early Roman Christians did not consider Sunday labor as sinful or contrary to God’s will.

Of course, this attitude stands in stark contrast to the fourth commandment which forbids work on the “Jewish” Sabbath. Sunday in Rome had been regarded as a holiday long before Christianity arrived in Rome and merging the worship of Mithra and the worship of God on Sunday became a matter of convenience. Therefore, Sunday was not a day of rest or deep spiritual reflection when Christians adopted it as their day of worship.

When Constantine became “a defender of the faith,” he had his army baptized into Christianity by marching them through a river. To promote the universal acceptance of a day of rest, Constantine implemented a Sunday law in March, A.D. 321. This law was a clever compromise. Constantine patronized Christians and pagans alike by declaring a national day of rest.

The political benefit of this law was well received by all Romans. Constantine endorsed the desire of the Christian church in Rome by setting Sunday aside as a day of rest and this law also favored a large population in Rome who worshiped the pagan god of Mithra on Sunday. So, the Sunday law meshed with customary Roman practice and it aligned the desires of the church at Rome and everyone in Rome was quite happy with a national day of rest. Notice that the decree issued by Constantine does not mandate worship on Sunday:

“Let all judges and all city people and all tradesmen, rest upon the venerable day of the Sun. But let those dwelling in the country freely and with full liberty attend to the culture of their fields; since it frequently happens, that no other day is so fit for the sowing of grain, or the planting of vines; hence the favorable time should not be allowed to pass, lest the provision of heaven be lost.” (Cod. Justin, III Tit 12, L.3., March 7, A.D. 321)

Although Christians in Rome were already meeting on Sunday when Constantine sent out his decree, other Christians in other locations were not. Most Christians were still observing the seventh day Sabbath. Socrates writes near the turn of the fourth century:

“Such is the difference in the churches on the subject of fasts. Nor is there less variation in regard to religious assemblies. For although almost all churches through the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Rome and Alexandria have ceased to do this.” (Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, Book V, chap 22, Ante-Nicean Christian Library, Vol II, (Boston, 1887) p, 132)

Even Constantine’s decree did not shut out the importance of the seventh day Sabbath. Something else would have to occur before that could be accomplished. The leaders from the church in Rome needed an elaborate doctrine that dealt directly with the issue of the “Lord’s Day” to present a strong case before a divided body of Christians. Eusebius, another apologist of the era, was a Christian confidant and advisor of Constantine. He masterminded a doctrine for Sunday observance that remains largely intact today. Carefully notice his anti-Semitic argument for the observance of Sunday:

“Wherefore as they [the Jews] rejected it [the Sabbath law], the Word [Christ] by the new covenant, translated and transferred the feast of the Sabbath to the morning light, and gave us the symbol of true rest, viz., the saving Lord’s day, the first [day] of light, in which the Savior of the world, after all his labors among men, obtained the victory over death, and passed the portals of heaven, having achieved a work superior to the six-days creation.

On this day, which is the first [day] of light and of the true Sun, we assemble, after an interval of six days, and celebrate holy and spiritual Sabbaths, even all nations redeemed by him throughout the world, and do those things according to the spiritual law, which were decreed for the priests to do on the Sabbath. And all things whatsoever that it was the duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord’s day, as more appropriately belong to it, because it has a precedence and is first in rank, and more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath.

All things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord’s Day.” (Eusebius’s Commentary on the Psalms 92, quoted in Coxe’s Sabbath literature, Vol I, page 361 insertions mine)

Did you notice the last sentence in Eusebius’ argument?

Eusebius is the first man to claim in writing that Christ changed the day of worship. However, Eusebius then testifies that he (and others, namely Constantine) had “transferred all things, whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath” to Sunday. Also notice that Eusebius offered no Scriptural authority for this change. Further, no church father or authority from that time period seconded the claims of Eusebius and notice that Eusebius did not quote from any other source.

As it turned out, Eusebius took the thorny problem of worship in hand and became the father of a false doctrine which favored the apostate practice of the church in Rome. If a mortal can declare on his own authority that the law of the eternal Almighty God is null and void, the mortal is both delusional and evil.

Who has higher authority—God or man; the Creator or the created? It is my observation that corporately speaking, Christians have repeated the failure of the Jews. As a body we have dismissed and altered “thus saith the Lord.” If Jesus were on Earth today, He would say of Christians the same thing He said of the Jews, “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” (Matthew 15:9)

History and Logic Do Not Support Sunday Worship

We have examined seven arguments Sunday-keeping Christians use to justify worshiping on Sunday. History and logic verify that none of the arguments are valid. When it comes to Sabbath versus Sunday, Christians face three general obstacles:

1. Christian Culture
Ever since the second century, apostate Christians have been advocating for Sunday worship. Today, 1.3 billion Catholics and Protestants worship on Sunday, carelessly regarding Sunday as “the Lord’s day” when there is no support for the sacredness of Sunday in Scripture or early church history. Going against the flow, Christian culture, and the wisdom of “the experts” who hold advanced degrees from seminaries is difficult for an ordinary person to do.

2. Lack of Education
Since Catholics and a large majority of Protestants worship on Sunday, very few Christians have a good reason to examine the roots of Sunday worship. Moreover, many people worshiping on Sunday do not regard Sunday as a “sacred day.” For them, Sunday is a day for going to church, but other than that, it is a day for recreation, working, or doing whatever a person wants to do. This disconnect between the sacredness of Sunday and worshiping on Sunday has created the following thought: “It doesn’t really matter which day of the week we worship on as long as we maintain a close relationship with the Lord.”

I would agree that one can (and should) worship the Lord every day of the week, but the requirement stated in the fourth commandment is altogether another matter. The fourth commandment demands that we cease from our labors and rest on the seventh day. God also commands that we include those who are within our gates. The fourth commandment is not about a weekly holiday, it is about spending time with God. Is God’s Sabbath a day of denial? See for yourself: “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13–14)

Most of us who observe the seventh day as a holy day find it awkward and difficult to overcome Christian culture and heritage. When you add the pressure of social stigma and consequences that often come with being different (weird), some Christians think that it is best to leave the Sabbath question alone. It’s easier to go along with a world in rebellion than to be an outcast from your own family and/or church family.

3. Sinful nature
The biggest hurdle militating against obeying God’s law is our own sinful nature. We are naturally opposed to doing whatever God commands. Paul wrote, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:5–7, italics mine)

When these three obstacles are combined and if we go along with the seven superficial arguments that some Christians use, it becomes easy to see why Sunday remains a holy day for most Christians. For 20 centuries this rebellion has been ongoing even though God clearly declares otherwise in the Ten Commandments.

If you have read this far and would like a free book titled, “Warning! Revelation is about to be fulfilled,” please go to Free Book on Revelation.

Watch an in-depth video seminar series on the Sabbath and its significance today

Larry W. Wilson

Larry Wilson, founder of WUAS, became a born-again Christian in 1972. His interest in the gospel led him on a 40+ year quest to learn more about what God has revealed to Earth’s final generation. The results of his research have been shared throughout the world in books, television & radio broadcasts, media interviews, and seminars that are publicly available on all different types of media (see our Christian Bookstore).

What is Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS)?
Wake Up America Seminars, Inc. is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization with a focus on the study of End-Time Prophecy. WUAS is not a church, nor does it endorse any denomination. Our focus is singular: We are dedicated to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. We are delighted that people of all faiths are diligently using the Bible study materials produced by WUAS. All study materials are based solely on the Bible alone.

Larry W. Wilson

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  1. Matt 12:5 Reads, “or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless”

    I appreciate that you are diligent in your study, discovering the truth of saving faith, and sensitive to the potential disagreements around Sunday and the Sabbath. In my own study, I ran across the above verse. I realized then that the misconception lies in ascribing the Sabbath observance to the level of moral law. That is what the Lord Jesus was correcting so often.
    Substitute the word “Sabbath” with any of the other commandments… priests could not be BLAMELESS, but in this case they are blameless because they have not broken God’s MORAL law.
    Just for your consideration.

    1. Hi brother Dan,
      i conquer with Larry W. Wilson concerning the sacred day Sabbath according to Genesis 2:1-3.
      i was born from christian family with a Roman Catholic faith.I used to go to church on Sunday as a catholic believer.However had always some conflicting ideas within me always that why some people go to church on Sunday others on Saturday. No one could could give me answer and it kept troubling me.I never supported the SDA because i was a Sunday worshiper.
      Today iam thanking the Almighty God of the Hebrews who is my God today through Jesus Christ to review to me which day is the divine worship of God. At 41 years of wanting to know which is the day of worship.Am married to a God fearing woman with 5 children the 6th one past away.
      God appeared to my wife in the dream in 2012 February 28 and reviews to her a scripture in the book of Jeremiah 2:20 3times and again Matt 5 :17 3times in the same night.
      If you read this scriptures ,you will find that God reminded the children of Israel to remember His commandment and in Matt 5:17 Jesus again reminding us to keep the Law of God.
      Not only these but a lot of revelations and this time from 19 th April 2016, we have started having fellowship on a Sabbath that is Saturday as a family.
      At times you may not understand the secrets of God unless HE reviews to you.

  2. Hello Dan:

    Thank you for your comments. We may have an honest impasse, let’s see. . .

    I believe the Bible teaches the Ten Commandments are ten moral laws which the Creator Himself declared from the top of Mt. Sinai. James affirms this. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” (James 2:10,11)

    With James’ words in mind, consider the sixth law given in the Ten Commandments:

    Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.”

    Moving forward two chapters in Exodus, we find that God told Moses that “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed.” (Exodus 22:2,3)

    Your logic is that the fourth commandment can’t be a moral law because there is no exemption from a moral law. Therefore, since the priests broke the law, but were guiltless, the Sabbath commandment is not a moral law. But we see in Exodus 22 that if a defender violates the sixth commandment and kills a thief in darkness (as a matter of self-defense) he is not guilty of murder. Does this mean the sixth commandment is not a moral law?

    Let’s take this a step further: God commanded Israel to put all murderers to death. For example:

    Numbers 35:17 “if anyone has a stone in his hand that could kill, and he strikes someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.”

    Does God’s command in Numbers 35 affect the morality of the sixth commandment? No! God Himself made the exception to the sixth commandment. Putting a murderer to death is not a violation of the sixth commandment. In fact, God said:

    Numbers 35:31 “‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. He must surely be put to death.”

    Jesus said the priests violated the fourth commandment without incurring guilt (Matthew 12:5) because they were doing what God commanded:

    Leviticus 23:3 “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.”

    Leviticus 24:8 This bread is to be set out before the Lord regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant.

    The priests set out the sacred bread and conducted a “sacred assembly” each Sabbath as God commanded. They were working, they were fulfilling God’s command and this is why their conduct was blameless.

    The morality of the Ten Commandments is not affected by human conduct. The morality of the Ten Commandments is based on divine authority. As we see, God has declared a few exceptions to the Ten Commandments, but these exceptions have no affect on the morality of God’s laws.

    I hope you will reconsider!

  3. Larry, thank you for such well written article. I agree with the overall of what was said. There’s just one thing that seems perplexing to me. In the beginning of the article you mention:
    “I believe that until/unless a person becomes convicted by the Holy Spirit that he should observe God’s seventh day Sabbath, he should not.”

    You have made it clear in this article that the validity of the 4th commandment has not changed through the ages. If we are to keep the 4th commandment merely on conviction, why wouldn’t you apply the same rule to the other 9? Does this mean that the person can commit adultery until he/she is convicted of the validity of the commandment? I guess another question could be what do you call conviction?

    Thanks again for your insight in this subject!

  4. Hello Guimel:

    Thank you for your questions. Please consider the following:

    Jesus said the two greatest law are laws of love. The first law is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and soul” and the second law is “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    The Ten Commandments are called a covenant (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13) because God has promised that He will some day restore repentant sinners to a condition (like Adam and Eve before their fall) where His laws are written in our hearts and minds. (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:10) Because we have sinful natures that are naturally hostile to God’s laws (Romans 8:5-7), sinners struggle with obeying the Ten Commandments out of love at all times. (Romans 7:14-25)

    The first four commandments declare what love for God will produce and the last six commandments declare what true love for our neighbors will produce. Romans 13:10 says “love is the fulfillment of the law.”

    If a person obeys the last six commandments out of love, he fulfills the intent of the law and society is wonderfully blessed! On the other hand, if a person obeys the last six commandments out of respect for the rule of law or out of fear of punishment, society is still blessed even though the intent of the law is not fulfilled. A happy wholesome society cannot exist unless the last six laws are fulfilled out of love. What we see today in this country is disappointing to God. Society needs an ever increasing number of laws to protect us from each other because love for each other is not in our hearts.

    Similarly, if a person obeys the first four commandments out of love, he fulfills the intent of the law. If he obeys the first four commandments for reasons other than love, his religious experience will become legalistic and toxic. What is the point of obeying God for any other reason than love? This is why I say that “until a person becomes convicted by the Holy Spirit that he should observe God’s seventh day Sabbath, he should not.” Those who properly observe God’s Sabbath are blessed. Those who improperly observe God’s Sabbath are burdened by it.

    A conviction created by the Holy Spirit is a test to live by faith. A conviction from the Holy Spirit is a stirring in the soul to do something that God wants done. No one else may have or understand your conviction (stirring or impression), but you know it is real and that to please God, you must go forward in faith obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit. This is why the rejection of the Holy Spirit is so serious.

    Jesus warned in Matthew 12:31,32, “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

    Allowing the Holy Spirit to speak and listening for His voice is where love for God shines. Because we are naturally rebellious and selfish we much prefer to listen to our own mind, we much prefer to go our own way and do things that we want to do. I think all of us can relate to the song, “I did it my way.” However, Jesus attempts to speak to us through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15) so that our lives and happiness will reach a higher plane, a level of fulfillment that human wisdom cannot attain. He has a higher ideal and life for us than we can imagine and it is hard sometimes to let go and accept divine wisdom.

    I hope this helps!

  5. Very well written article. I do believe it was written with careful thought, sincerity and respect for people of all walks of Christian Life. I would like to mention two things I believe are applicable to sound and effective Bible study especially for those pondering the Sabbath topic. First we ought to pray and ask God for his kingdom to come and his will to be done on Earth (as he taught his disciples to pray). The reason I say this is so that when we embark upon the study of God’s word, we are clear and free of the influence of men and open to hear the voice of the holy spirit ( you must be able to hear him in your own relationship). He will reveal ALL truth as emphasized several times by new testament writers.

    Secondly one should examine the state of one’s heart as it relates to truth and love for God. Ask yourself these questions: “Do I love God? Do I love truth?” Jesus often asked this of Peter remember? My point here is Jesus himself said no man can serve two masters. Sometimes we “search” the Bible for truth when in reality we search for a means to justify our position or ideologies. Here’s a fact: the truth is always the truth regardless of what we think or feel. Furthermore a true love for God, will find the answers it seems in His word provided that the motivation for doing so is not of self gain but of a true desire to know and obey God. Mr. Larry Wilson I believe has written a sound article that demonstrates his careful desire for truth. Not the truth of “men” but a “thus saith the Lord”. Many here in the comments have their doubts which is fine. I pray for us all that we make God’s truth and righteousness our no.1 priority when it comes to Bible study.

    I have attended both Sunday and Sabbath services in the past and I am well aware of the conflicts that arise. I concur with brother Larry that my first hand experience is that most Subday worshippers are reluctant to face persecution (for lack of a better term) from brethren in the faith for worshipping on Sabbath Saturday instead of Sunday like everyone else. I find as well that most are not bothered to seek out the Sabbath truth for themselves. They would rather go with the “flow”. Brothers and sisters I urge you to please not go “with the flow”. Jesus made it clear that the ways of man do not take priority over what God has established. If we love God let’s seek him and serve him with every fiber of our being. Let’s not be concerned by the criticism of fellow brethren. Instead let us pray for wisdom and understanding and seek after God with our whole heart! Leave no area of your life out. Personally ask him to come into your bible studies and devotions that he may guide you into truth and righteousness as HE has said it. The Bible does not present any evidence for a direct authoritative change by God of The sacredness of Saturday sabbath to Sunday. Since it does not, we should be careful not to get excited or carried away by our own theories. We often complicate Christian living more than needed. Jesus by his example paved the way for us. Why not live as he did? Seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness. All other things will follow. May God bless you all.

  6. To the gentleman who said that the Sabbath is not a moral Law: how can a commandment that teaches us how to *not* transgress the other nine on that day by keeping that day holy and sinless not be moral command?

  7. Larry,

    Well written article. Thanks for sharing. I was convicted on Sabbath and have been keeping it for almost 2 years now. At first I thought I should keep it regardless of what my wife and family thought and attend Sabbath church by myself if they didn’t want to come with me. This was not loving. I understand now that I was condemning them instead of waiting for the Holy Spirit to convict them. I now observe Sabbath on Saturday and have gone back to attending church with my family on Sunday. It’s the love part that I couldn’t figure out at first.

    I had to register because I have something I’d like you to consider for your research. I notice that 6 of the 7 arguments that you share for Christians observing Sunday are all related to the same phrase used in English translations of the Bible. “First day of the week”. When I look at the Greek words used in this phrase, I don’t see this as referring to Sunday at all. “First” comes from the word Mia, and “Day of the week” from Sabbaton. That’s Sabbath! The reasons that you show above for why Christians keep Sunday, are the only instances that Sabbaton was translated to “day of the week”. All other cases were translated to Sabbath. It’s also interesting to note that these translations happened long after Sunday was established in the church. I believe that the correct translation is “the first Sabbath”. Which would be the next weekly sabbath after Unleavened Bread. The first in counting towards Pentecost. This translation works for every verse this is used in.

    I believe Firstfruits and Pentecost being on Sunday has been incorrectly translated as well. In Leviticus 23: 11 and 15 the word mimmahorat is used as “morrow”, and hassabbat is used as “after the sabbath”. Mimmahorat is also used as “next” and “next morning”, and hassabbat is only ever used as Sabbath anywhere else. What’s the next Sabbath after the first day of Unleavened Bread? The weekly Sabbath. The first Sabbath in counting to Pentecost.

    I understand this sounds like a Conspiracy Theory going back almost 2000 years, but it also fits in with end times prophesy. Daniel 7:25 says the antichrist will think to change the times and laws.

  8. I agree that the Bible never specifically abolishes the Sabbath nor does it at any point, in any way, definitively transfer solemnity from Sabbath to Sun-day. And given the reference to the antichrist (pope) thinking to “change times & laws” in Daniel combined with the historical facts that back up the Sun-day mandate, it becomes pretty clear who made the change and why. (Hislop’s book, The Two Babylons should be required reading at every Protestant church in the world. Too many have & are cozying up to the apostate church in Rome.) However, this article doesn’t give the whole picture. For instance, you don’t even address Colossians 2. When this book/chapter is studied it becomes pretty clear that the Sabbath is now to be viewed as a shadow (symbol) of good things (The actual heavenly rest in His glorious presence) to come but the “body is of Christ”. Hebrews 4 verses 6-11 also appears to back up the shadow (symbol) reference in Colossians 2. It seems to make it sound as if believers keeping the Sabbath is meant to be a witness to the willfully lost and the yet to be evangelized masses. However, Colossians 2 makes it clear that we are not to judge people for how they keep it because it is just a symbol….much like baptism and the Lord’s supper. Are people gonna go to hell if they don’t keep Saturday? If so, then that means not getting baptized and not partaking in the Lord’s Supper will send you to hell also because they are all symbols, but the body is of Christ. And if not partaking in symbols cancels salvation, then please explain how the thief on the cross (the one who acknowledged Christ as Messiah right before they died) was told he would end up in paradise? Cause based on how the scriptures describe this man and the things he said (we deserve to be punished like this but Jesus was innocent) it defies logic to imply that he or his unrepentant partner on the other cross would have ever got baptized or kept the Sabbath all the time. (Of course the Lord’s Supper could not be applied to them.) I’m not trying to be argumentative so don’t take it that way. I actually am sympathetic to and do keep the Sabbath. (although not in a legalistic, Talmudic sense) But, Sunday worship is not the mark of the beast like the fringe SDA folks claim (the mark is to be IN the back of the right hand or IN the forehead, how can a day of the week be implanted in you?) and it is clearly not a salvation issue once you compare scripture to scripture. One of your commenters above referenced a passage where Jesus mentioned the priests profaning the Sabbath and being blameless. Doesn’t the Bible tell us that once we are in Christ, He will make kings, rulers and priests out of us? Furthermore, there are 2 other instances (can’t remember exact books/chapters/verses) in the bible where Jesus & Paul (I believe) lists off the commandments to keep, and oddly enough, neither mention the 4th commandment.

  9. Hello Mullet:

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your kindness and honesty.

    I fully agree with you that the mark of the beast is not worship on Sunday. Some years ago, I created a short video series for Seventh Day Adventists, showing why their “prophetic anchor” is not Biblical:


    If you would like to consider a recent series of four Bible studies on the identity of the Antichrist, his arrival, his deceptions, his throne and tattoo, please check out these articles (for best results, please read in order):

    1. https://www.wake-up.org/beast/the-antichrist-the-man-of-lawlessness.html

    2. https://www.wake-up.org/beast/the-antichrist-when-will-he-appear.html

    3. https://www.wake-up.org/beast/the-antichrist-his-worldwide-deception.html

    4. https://www.wake-up.org/beast/the-antichrist-his-throne-and-tattoo.html

    As you noted, Colossians 2 was not included in my article above because this article was written (point by point) to address another article advocating the sacredness of Sunday published on the web. (The original article that prompted my response has been removed.)

    Since you have brought up Colossians 2, please consider the following excerpt from a rough draft. It is an unpublished commentary on Paul’s epistles which I have worked on as time permitted. To facilitate understanding, my words are in brackets:

    Col 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

    Col 1:2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse [this is a church in Asia Minor largely made up of Gentile converts who came to know Christ through the ministry of Epaphras– a Greek convert. Since this church did not have a Jewish heritage to deal with, it was among the first to be uniquely “Christian.” After while, Jewish converts began to attend the church at Colosse and they brought with them a sizeable amount of “Jewish baggage.” As a result, theological problems began to rise within the church. This epistle was written to silence the Judaizers]: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

    Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

    Col 1:4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints–

    Col 1:5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel

    Col 1:6 that has come to you. All over the world [interesting statement given Paul’s world view] this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

    Col 1:7 You learned it [the gospel] from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,

    Col 1:8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

    Col 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

    Col 1:10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

    Col 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully

    Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

    Col 1:13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

    Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

    Col 1:15 He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God [the Father — whom no one has seen or can see], [Jesus is] the firstborn [the Preeminent One, the heir of Earth and Judge of mankind] over all creation.

    Col 1:16 For by him [Jesus] all things were created: Things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

    Col 1:17 He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    Col 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and [the end,] the firstborn [the Preeminent One] from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy [He was tempted in all points as humans are and overcame the world].

    Col 1:19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in him [Jesus is a self-existing, co-eternal God, equal with the Father, a point which the Judaizers would not accept],

    Col 1:20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on Earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

    Col 1:21 Once you were [in ignorance] alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

    Col 1:22 But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation–

    Col 1:23 if [notice Paul used “if,” he speaks of conditional justification] you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard [from Epaphras] and that has been proclaimed to every creature under Heaven [well, not actually completed, but it was in the process of being proclaimed to every creature], and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

    Col 1:24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

    Col 1:25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness– [indicating the Judaizers did not have the whole story]

    Col 1:26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. [What is this mystery? It is something which the Judaizers did not understand. See also 2:2]

    Col 1:27 To them [e.g., the saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [What did this mean to the Gentile believers? It meant there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in God’s sight. The elect of God could be anyone. “Christ in you” means you are the seed of Abraham. Christ will justify any repentant sinner and dwell within the heart and mind any willing person.]

    Col 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

    Col 1:29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

    Col 2:1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.

    Col 2:2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding [which the Judaizers did not have], in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,

    Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. [Paul presents Jesus in a way that robs the Judaizers of their argument. In a nutshell, the Judaizers are trying to get the church at Colosse (mostly Gentile converts) to observe Jewish traditions in order to be saved and Paul ends their argument with the exposure of a mystery that abolishes Judaism – a mystery which the Jews did not and cannot seem to understand.]

    Col 2:4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

    Col 2:5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

    Col 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord [ taught by Epaphras], continue to live in Him,

    Col 2:7 rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

    Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human [Jewish] tradition and the basic principles of this world [driven by selfish ego and/or ignorance] rather than on Christ.

    Col 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, [1 John 5:20]

    Col 2:10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. [Ephesians 1:9,10]

    Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised [not in the flesh but], in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

    Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.

    Col 2:13 When you were dead in your sins [unaware of God’s love and will] and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God [sent the Holy Spirit and through Him He] made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

    Col 2:14 having canceled the written code [the Levitical laws], with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us [The Levitical laws could not and did not produce the people that God wanted. Laws cannot transform a sinner’s heart! Even the Judaizers have to admit that time after time, Israel abandoned the Levitical laws because they proved to be too heavy a burden for Israel’s carnal heart]; [so when Jesus died], He [God the Father] took it [the Levitical system] away, nailing it to the cross.

    Col 2:15 And having disarmed the powers [of the Levitical laws] and authorities [the teachings of the rabbis], he made a public spectacle of them [by sending Jesus to cleanse the temple twice and then, having the veil in the temple torn open revealing the only thing in the Most Holy Place, the center of Israel’s theology, was darkness], triumphing over them [the authorities of Israel] by the cross.

    Col 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone [especially the Judaizers] judge you [condemn you] by what you eat or drink [as required by Levitical laws that have been abolished], or with regard to a religious festival [as required by Levitical law], a New Moon celebration [as required by Levitical law] or a Sabbath day [defined by Levitical law — for example, the Day of Atonement was a Sabbath day according to Levitical law].

    [Note: Feast days were considered sabbath days, although they were not confused with seventh-day Sabbath. See Leviticus 16:31, the Day of Atonement was a Sabbath day that wandered through the week. Moreover, when a feast day and a seventh-day aligned, it was known as a special Sabbath. See John 19:31.]

    Col 2:17 These [matters] are a shadow [the Levitical law was a shadow – see Hebrews 10:1, given as a template, foretelling] of the things that were to come; the reality [to which they pointed], however, is found in Christ.

    Col 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen [claiming a divine revelation from God], and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

    Col 2:19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

    Col 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to [obey] its rules:

    Col 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? [Paul speaks about so-called holy relics, holy objects, food offered to idols, superstitions and meaningless traditions which both Gentiles and the Judaizers observed]

    Col 2:22 These [foolish notions] are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

    Col 2:23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

    Col 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ [no longer dead to righteousness], set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

    Col 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

    Col 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

    I hope this helps to explain Paul’s sentiment in Colossians 2 (which sentiment is fully consistent with his other epistles)!

    Best regards

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