Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 28, 1954

"The Lord's Day Versus The Sabbath"

T. F. Bohannan, Fullerton, California

Men erect monuments to commemorate important events, it may be a great discovery, a great invention, an important war or battle or the conclusion of a peace. Men instinctively feel that such an event calls for the erection of a suitable memorial to immortalize the occasion, and to stand as an enduring testimony to coming generations.

Such memorials are generally made of the most enduring material obtainable. Some of them have stood for thousands of years, and are still serving their original purpose. They constitute a kind of history, calling to mind that which men feel should not be forgotten. Witness the attempt now being made in the United States to convert whole mountain-sides into commemoration of men con netted with the decisive moments in the history of the nation.

There are other kinds of memorials that serve the same purpose as those of granite and marble. Practically all nations have days dedicated to the celebration of some great national event or achievement. July 4th is such a day in the United States, as is July 1st in Canada, July 14th in France, and May 24th in England.

Each of these days is a memorial occasion, calling upon the nation to remember the events that led to the setting apart of the day, and giving every citizen an opportunity to rededicate himself to the principles for which the nation stands.

From up in Oregon comes the request from a sister in the church, who seems to be striving with some Sabbatarian friends that contend for the Sabbath day of the week to be kept. She said the party urged that the first day of the week was the sabbath and asks that I write something of their contrast, and of the "Lord's Supper" how often observed? etc.

Even as men erect memorials, so also does God. To commemorate the great sacrifice on Calvary, Jesus instituted the beautiful and significant ordinances of the Lord's Supper.

"As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come."

"This do in remembrance of me." (1 Cor. 11:24-26)

From the time when Christ was here on earth the church has celebrated that event, in the Lord's house and upon the first day of the week. God's people will so celebrate till he comes again.

No, the first day of the week is not the sabbath. Just as we read of the seventh day as the sabbath, we read of a day following the sabbath, "The first day of the week." In Leviticus 23:10-12, we learn that the first-fruits of the harvest was to be waved on "the morrow after the sabbath." That day would be the "first day of the week." Note, 1 Corinthians 15:22-23, that Christ is the first-fruits of the spiritual harvest. He became such when he was resurrected from the grave. Hence, it follows that his resurrection had to occur on the morrow after the sabbath, which was the first day of the week. We are not surprised as we read the account of the resurrection, that the gospel writers declare this fact: Matthew says, "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week"; Mark declares, "And when the sabbath was past"; Luke says, "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning"; and John states, "The first day of the week." Christ came from the grave on the first day of the week as the first-fruits of the spiritual harvest, and was waved on the morrow after the sabbath. I am certain that I will not have to quote scripture to prove to you Christ's coming from the grave meant deliverance from the bondage of sin.

Those who accept his gospel have the promise of the forgiveness of sins, and a hope of eternal life. As the Jews were to keep the sabbath day in memory of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, so the first day of the week is to be kept in memory of the deliverance from the bondage of sin. We are not surprised at the prominence of the first day of the week in the New Testament. It is the day that Christ appeared unto Mary Magadalene, the two, and the eleven disciples as they sat at meat. One week later he appeared unto the twelve, and convinced Thomas that he was the risen Christ. Seven weeks later the Holy Spirit descended, and the church was established on the first day of the week. We know that this is true for the day of Pentecost was on the morrow after the sabbath.

Again we are not surprised to read that the disciples met upon the first day of the week to break bread. Also Paul tells them to lay by in store on the first day of the week, because that was their day of meeting. As the Jews kept every sabbath, so the Christian is to keep every first day of the week. How long? Just as long as the gospel dispensation shall last. And that is until Christ comes again. (1 Cor. 11:26)

The Jewish sabbath cannot be the same day as the first day of the week, the same Bible that tells about the seventh day, which was the sabbath day, tells about the morrow after the sabbath, or the first day of the week.

Neither is it hinted in the Bible that we are to call "the first day of the week the sabbath day." It is spoken of as the "Lord's Day."

The Lord Jesus is the center of all things scripturally. The New Testament is complete and bears his inscription. It speaks of the "Lord's table," "Lord's body," and the "Lord's day." He who takes the Lord's Day and uses it contrary to the Lord's plan, sins against the Lord and endangers his soul's salvation. How do you use the Lord's Day? As you want to use it, or as the Lord wants you to use it?