SATURDAY OR SUNDAY? Which is the day of Worship?
The aim of this article is to help anyone understand what the Bible teaches on this subject. Everything written is based on what the Scriptures teach. Reading all the Bible references which have been quoted will be the best way to get a clear understanding of what the article is teaching. So let your Bible be on your side as you read.
Some people worship on a Sunday while others worship on a Saturday. There is a lot of debate across the globe as which day God has given for worship. Those who worship on a Saturday say, “God has not given a direct command anywhere in the Bible that we should stop worshipping on the seventh day and start worshipping on Sunday.” They go on to say that God blessed the seventh day which is a Saturday and sanctified (made it holy) it and that the observance of the Sabbath is even among the Ten Commandments. None of the commandments have changed so why would anyone change the seventh day Sabbath to the first day when you cannot change the other commandments? On the other hand those who worship on a Sunday say the early Church worshipped on the first day of the week which is a Sunday. They do it in honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week and his disciples began to meet on the first day of the week in his honour (John 20:1,8; Acts 2:7; 1 Corinth 16:2) (Read the verses). This day, became known as the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10) Read the verse. “That’s the reason we worship on a Sunday,” so goes the argument. So who is right? When should we worship?
Where then does the problem come in? How do we deal with the issue of Saturday and Sunday?
The finest way to answer this question is to ask ourselves "What does the word Sabbath mean?" When you carefully examine the Scriptures, Sabbath does not mean Sunday or Saturday or Seventh day. In Leviticus 23:26-32 (Read it), God calls the Day of Atonement, which took place on the tenth day of the Seventh month, a Sabbath day. If the word Sabbath means “seventh day” then why would God call the Day of Atonement, which happened on the tenth day, a Sabbath? This is proof that Sabbath does not mean seventh day. Why would God call it a Sabbath if the day was the tenth day of the month and not the seventh day? God made days. He never gave the days names to say that the first day will be called Sunday or the Seventh day will called Saturday. I am yet to see in the Bible where it says “Saturday the seventh day of the week or Monday the second day of the week.” These are human decisions made to help with the managing of time. What you see instead from the Bible is that as God was creating the earth there was the first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, Sixth day and Seventh day. There is nothing like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The other thing is that when God created the universe, he rested on the seventh day and made it holy. Our question then is, what does the Bible mean when it says, “God rested?” Does it mean God got tired? I don’t think so. If God got tired then he would cease to be God. Our God does not grow weary (Isa 40:28). Read the verse. The word rest means God was satisfied with his creation. I remember some time during my bachelorhood; I was so hungry that I stopped working. I decided to cook myself a meal. I took my time. I boiled the chicken and dip fried it. I cut up the vegetables in their rightful size, cooked them, then prepared the soup and it was not long before the meal was set. I ate and had my fill and afterwards sat back and said to myself, “That was really good.” At that time, I “rested” from the cooking. I was not tired but was appreciating the goodness of the food. I was pleased with what I cooked. That is what God did. When the Bible says God rested it means he was satisfied or pleased with his creation. God was enjoying what he created. No wonder the word rest comes after the Bible says that all that God created was very good. If we say that God was tired then we are insulting him. We are saying he is not all powerful. We are saying he is like human beings who get tired. So Sabbath does not mean seventh day or Saturday. It means a day of rest. It means a day when we can enjoy God in a restful way, a day when we adore him as the only one through whom we can find true satisfaction. This day must be different from all other days. This day must be a day that will be similar to the way God looked at his creation and was fully satisfied. In the same way, when we gather on that day for worship, we should do so as an expression of our satisfaction in God. So the issue is not about Sunday or Saturday. It is about finding and expressing our spiritual satisfaction in God (finding our rest in God). Christians are commanded to meet regularly for fellowship (Heb 10:24-25, Acts 20:7) Read. That’s why there needs to be a day set aside when people are not working so that everyone can meet for fellowship. So apart from enjoying God in a restful way Christians must meet in order to fellowship (enjoy each others company), break bread and pray together.
After all that has been said, our question then is “Where can we find spiritual rest?” Remember we said that we must enjoy God in a restful way. So how do we do that without focusing on Saturday or Sunday? Is there anything that God has revealed in his word which can bring us spiritual satisfaction? I believe there is someone who gives us spiritual rest. Jesus does that. He is the one who said, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me... I will give you rest for your souls," Matt 11:28-29 (Read it). So it should not be about Sunday or Saturday but about honoring the Lord Jesus Christ who shed his blood for our sins. We honor him by submitting to his Lordship. We repent of our sins and he in turn gives us a new life. When we honor the Son, we honor the Father also. So, if you enjoy God in a restful way on a Saturday then go ahead. If it’s on a Sunday then go ahead. However, we need to be sure that we have found spiritual rest in Christ because God will not ask you whether you worshipped on a Saturday or a Sunday. That is not what will get you into heaven. Nonetheless, be assured that he will ask you what you did with the blood which his Son shed for you on cross. Paul says in Romans that, “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God…” Romans 14:5-6.
After all that we have talked about we must remember that the apostles did not gather for worship on the Seventh day. If you read through the Scriptures, you will never find the apostles giving commands for people to worship on the Sabbath or Seventh Day. Read through Matthew to Revelation you won't find it. In fact what you see is Jesus together with the apostles condemning observance of the Sabbath because it burdened people instead of drawing them closer to God. The apostles talk more about worshiping on the first day of the week than observing the Sabbath.
Let me state also that worship is not reserved for a day. We must worship God every day. When we read our Bible in the morning or evening and pray to God we are worshiping. When we present our bodies as living sacrifices as Paul says, we worship God in a reasonable way. Amen.