The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Seventh-Day Adventist Eschatology: Sabbath


Did the Roman Catholic Church Institute Sunday Worship?

The Seventh-Day Adventists maintain that it was the Catholic church that changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday and enforced the change through a decree issued by Emperor Constantine in 321 AD. This contention is as invalid as the one made by Dan Brown in his book, The Da Vinci Code, when he asserts that the Church did not recognize the divinity of Jesus until Emperor Constantine forced them to do so at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. In both cases, the action simply codified what was already the accepted belief or practice.

The New Testament attest to Sunday worship in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2. And the writings of the Church Fathers also confirm that Sunday worship was the accepted practice long before Constantine:

The Epistle of Barnabas (100 AD) — “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead.”

Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians (110 AD) — “If therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death.”

Justin Martyr in his First Apology of Justin (ca 147 to 161 AD) — “On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits… Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the day… Jesus Christ our Savior… rose from the dead.”

Tertullian in An Answer to the Jews (ca 200 AD) — “The observance of the Sabbath is demonstrated to have been temporary…”

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Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • It seems in the Epistle of Barnabus that an 'eighth' day is spoken about. What day would that be? Saturday is the seventh and Sunday the first, soooo? What does this actually mean? How is it explained? Thanks for any extra information on this. God Bless!

  • Good question, Lily! It's been awhile since I've read any of the "lost books" that were purposefully left out of the Bible for obvious reasons, the Epistle of Barnabus being one of them, written in the sixteenth century. Anything it says I would take with a grain of salt.

  • What a weak argument is this entire article! First off, the believers met together daily to break bread, and the first day began at evening of the Sabbath and Paul continued to speak until midnight, so the meeting began during the Sabbath, the 7th Day. Second, the request to put aside and save is NOT taking up a collection in a worship service, it is setting aside in the home so it will be ready when Paul came by to receive it. As for the other statements of the church officials, most protestants take the Bible only as the basis of faith, so the later writings mean NOTHING.

    • Yes, weak argument indeed. The Catholic Church admits her changing the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday. Read Catholic Catechisms and other church writings. The TRUE Lord’s Day is Saturday (ISAIAH 58:13: Mark 2: 27) The Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor 16:2 are not proofs of Sunday keeping but speak of other things, never Sunday Keeping. On the contrary, the book of Acts speaks of Sabbath observance, a practice of the early Apostolic Church (Acts 13, 16, 17) . Sunday is man-made, whereas Saturday is God’s Institution. Choose you this day whom you will serve God or man?


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