updated 07-20-2008
by John Raphael Hellmann.
All smaller type font is of a secondary importance.
All Scripture verses are from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible unless otherwise noted.


The Importance of the Sabbath

The Sabbath was a sign of the Old Covenant between God and man.  God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh.  God created man on the sixth day, the same day as the beasts.  However, unlike the beasts God created man for the seventh day, that is, to be in fellowship with God.  The Sabbath honored God who seventhed Himself to man in the Old Covenant.  Keeping the Sabbath honored God as the Creator who rested on the seventh day.

Word Study
The Hebrew word for “seven” is “sheba.” (Strong’s # 7651)   The word “sheba” is built on the Hebrew verb “shaba - to swear an oath.” (Strong’s # 7650)   Because of the close connection of the Hebrew words for “oath” and “seven” it could be said that when God established a covenant with His people by His oaths that He “seventhed” Himself to them. 

 Like the Seventh Day Adventists Catholics believe in the importance of the seventh day and how God has Seventhed Himself to us by His oaths or promises to us when He established a covenant with us.  The role of the Sabbath and all the other key elements of the Old Covenant are too significant for their importance to be limited to themselves.  Each of these beautiful aspects points to something else that is greater and beyond itself. 

The Old Testament (O.T.) is filled with types that prefigure the greater glory of God that is fully revealed in the New Covenant. These O.T. types find their perfection and completion in Jesus Christ, either in Himself or in someone or something that manifests His grace and glory in the New Covenant that He established.  So, it is in Jesus, who is God, that we can find the ultimate fulfillment of all these good things. 

Luke 24:27
“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.”

Adam, the father of all mankind, prefigures Jesus Christ, the New Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49,  Romans 5:14-21

Noah and his family were saved from the flood, and this prefigured how those who are united to Jesus Christ would be saved from sin.  1 Peter 3:20-21.

Abraham and Isaac:  Because Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac, Genesis 22:16 God promised to make him the father of a great nation, the Jewish people.  Jesus is greater than Abraham John 8:58

Isaac, the beloved son of Abraham Genesis 22:2  prefigured Jesus the Son of God.  and  Matthew 3:17

Isaac was going to be sacrificed. Genesis 22:2  This prefigured Jesus who was sacrificed. 

Moses: through whom the Law was given. Jesus refers to Moses’s law, but He expounds upon it and modifies it.  Matthew 5   John 5:45-46

King David: the greatest king in the Old Covenant, and to whom God promised there would always be a descendant on the throne. Jesus is the King of Kings.  Revelation 17:14

Solomon had been the wisest man to have been born because God blessed him with special wisdom. He prefigure Christ who had infinite wisdom.  Matthew 12:42

Temple prefigured Christ.  John 2:19

Jonah: The great prophet who spent three days in the whale and through whom God demonstrated his great mercy to those who repent and turn to Him.  Jonah prefigured Jesus who is the Prophet who rose on the third day. Matthew 12:39-41

The Difference for Catholics

Seventh Day Adventist focus on the importance of the Old Covenant and the Sabbath which was a sign of the Old Covenant.  The Catholic Church agrees and affirms the importance of these things, it is just that we believe that they are even more important because they pointed to greater realities beyond themselves.  They foreshadowed greater truths about the mercy of God that was revealed in the fullness of the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 31:13  “ ‘You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.’ ”  RSV 

The Sabbath points forward to when the God-Man won for the human race the grace to be sanctified, that is, made holy.  Jesus conquered Satan and sin by rising from the dead.  We read in Romans 4:25 how Christ “was raised for our justification.” However, Jesus was raised on the first day of the week.  And Luke chapter 24 makes that clear.

Therefore, the Sabbath points us forward to even a more glorious day, the Lord’s Day, the eighth day, or the first day of the week which in turn points us to that time in which we will spend with God in Eternity after our earthly journey.

Oaths are promises that invoke God’s Holy Name.  Covenants are established by oaths.  The Hebrew word for seven is based on the word for oath.  So, it could be said that when God makes a covenant by His word or oaths that He seventh’s Himself to mankind.

Just as the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant the Sabbath was replaced by a new a better seventh’ing of Himself to us which He did on the Lord’s Day, the day He conquered Satan by rising from the dead and the day of the week he sent the Holy Spirit to His people.  The Lord’s Day is the eighth day which is the new Seventh Day signifying the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

More than just a Creator, God is also a Redeemer and Sanctifier who opens the door of heaven to those who are a New Creation in Jesus Christ.  Jesus has seventhed Himself to us through the Seven Sacraments.

We Catholics can be inspired by and learn from SDA's  deep devotion who keep holy the Seventh Day.  For us, the Seventh Day is the Lord's Day, the first day of the week.


This article begins with the "Question" which presents the arguments of the Seventh Day Adventists for celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week.  Following this are eight reasons explaining that the Sabbath has been replaced with the eighth day- that is the first day - of the week, the Lord’s Day - and how the early church understood this to be so.  Click on the underlined words to go to that section.



Why do Catholics work on Saturday ?    Exodus 20:8-10   "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work…" RSV   And the Sabbath has been established as a "perpetual covenant."   Exodus 31:16-18   "Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant.  …And he gave to Moses… the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."   With the dramatic event of God writing these commandments with His own finger "in stone" He shows that the Sabbath would last forever.   After all, we Seventh Day Adventists claim that Jesus honored the Sabbath by resting in the tomb on the seventh day and waited until the first day to work His miracle of the Resurrection. 
Hebrews 13:8  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." 
Matthew 5:17-18  "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."   RSV



Celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week was a sign of the Old Covenant that God made with the Jews.  The Sabbath honored God as the Creator.  It was very good.  However, the fullness of its importance was not to be realized until the coming of Christ and the New Covenant.  The Sabbath of the Old Covenant pointed toward a greater reality beyond itself, a new and better Sabbath that honors God not just as Creator, but also as Redeemer and Sanctifier as God remakes us into His adopted children.   Since Christians are under the New Covenant we have a new seventh day which is the eighth day, or first day of the week and every seven days after that.  Just as the Old Covenant prefigured the New Covenant, celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day prefigures and points us toward the celebrating our community worship and the renewing of the consecrating of ourselves to God in Christ who was  "raised for our justification" [ Romans 4:25]  on the first day of the week in the New Covenant.  And so for Christians the Lord's Day, the First Day of the week, and every seven days after that became the new day for community worship and the breaking of the bread.  This change, which is God's will, took place while Jesus’ faithful apostles were still alive.

Luke 24:1,32-35 
1  But on the first day of the week .. . 
32 They [the disciples] said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he [Jesus] talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"    .. . .. 
35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 



Jesus is God.  Accordingly, He has full authority to interpret His own law, and to change it.
Jesus offended the Pharisees of his day by working on the sabbath and performing miracles.  It was on the Sabbath that He healed a man’s withered hand in Matthew 12:9-14.  Also on the Sabbath, He healed a woman who had curvature of the spine, Luke 13:10-17.  And in John 9:1-33, He heals a man born blind on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees also complained that Jesus let His disciples work on the Sabbath in Matthew 12: 1-8.  Jesus replied Matthew 12:8  "…For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath."  Instead of the Pharisee’s strict literal interpretation of the command "You shall do no work," Jesus provides us with a deeper understanding of Sabbath.  The Sabbath is not an end in itself.  Mark 2:27  "And he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;’ "



God commanded man to rest on every seventh day not because God got tired and  He needed it, but because man needed it.  God was giving us an example to follow.   Man was made on the sixth day with the other animals.  We work as do the animals of the field (e.g. oxen.)   We have dominion over the earth as other animal have dominion in their areas, for example lions and tigers in the jungle, bears in the woods and arctic, and alligators in the swamp, etc.  However,  unlike the other animals, even though we are made on the sixth day we are made for the seventh day.  We are made in the image of God.

God blesses and sanctifies or hallows, that is, He sets apart the seventh day, to reveal man’s ultimate destiny.  The Sabbath signifies two things:  One, unlike the other animals we will not find our fulfillment and happiness in just working for our food and our other bodily needs because we have a spiritual as well as physical nature.  Second, the purpose of man’s creation is to be in a covenant relationship with God and only in Him will we find true rest for our souls and lasting happiness.  We are made to love and worship God and to be united with Him in His Covenant.  By establishing the Old Covenant God entered into a relationship with man and He blessed him with the privilege to worship his Creator.

Because of Original Sin man has a tendency to wonder away from God.  Perhaps this is why God commanded the Jews to "remember" the sign of  the Old Covenant in order to help them regain their focus.   "It (the sabbath) is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money."   CCC  # 2172   -  The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Sabbathing on the seventh day is a sign of the glory of the Old Covenant.  However, it only prefigured the glory of the New Covenant.  Our destiny is to worship God in heaven.

2 Corinthians 3:5-10    "…our competence is from God,  who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.   Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness, fading as this was,  will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor?   For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor.   Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it."   RSV     The Sabbath ceremonial law was carved in stone, but it has been replaced with the greater glory that comes to us in the New Covenant. 

 "The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation.  The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of  creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first  creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation."   CCC  # 349.

If we only follow our animalistic instincts we will not find lasting peace and true joy.  We are set apart from the other animals.  The Sabbath indicated man’s need to worship God.  In order to find true happiness in our lives we must become united to the One in who’s image we are made. 

However, we are only able to reach our full destiny and become His children and worship God as we should by entering into the New Covenant, but this is only made possible by receiving the grace that was won for us by Jesus Christ.  The Sabbath of the Old Covenant only prefigured the new seventh day set apart by Christ in the New Covenant, the first day of the week.  Jesus set apart the first day of the week by manifesting His power and glory with His resurrection.  Since the Sabbath pointed to our need to worship God and to be united with Him in Covenant it has given way to our new seventh day of the New Covenant since only the New Covenant enables us to worship God as He desires and to be united with Him in heaven. 

Only by His power and grace are we enabled to worship God as we should.  John 4:23-24  "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.   God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."  RSV   God desires that we worship Him with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is only made possible by the New Covenant.  (Cf. Jn 16: 7)  And Jesus desires that we worship Him in His Church that He founded  (Cf. Mat. 16: 13-19.)  and to which He sent the Holy Spirit,  And of this Church it is called in 1 Timothy 3:15    "…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."  RSV  Under the New Covenant the Church received the Holy Spirit on the first day of the week on Pentecost Sunday so that they could worship God as they should.  Romans 8:26  "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words."   RSV

Because He is our older Brother His resurrection on the first day of the week  points to our own resurrection when He will raise us up after our death so that we will be able to enter heaven, our eternal rest, so that we may worship God forever.  So, the first day of the week is set apart as we look to that heavenly rest that is only made possible by the New Covenant.  Acts 4:10-12   "…the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."  In order to enter heaven we must receive the grace that was won for us by Jesus Christ and thereby become justified.  What Jesus did for us on the first day of the week cannot be over stated.  It was on that day that He was "raised for our justification" Romans 4:25.



The Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) was celebrated to commemorate God leading the Jews through their journeying in the desert and eventually into the promised land where they found rest and were blessed with bountiful harvests.   Leviticus 23: 34, 42-43   "Say to the people of Israel, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the feast of booths to the Lord… 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all that are native in Israel shall dwell in booths,  that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."     RSV

This feast is also mentioned in  Deuteronomy 26: 1-11  " (8) ... and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders;  and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey."  RSV

For the Feast of Booths the Jews had a solemn rest (a Sabbath) on the first and eighth day on which they held a sacred assembly to worship God. 
Leviticus 23: 34 -36, 39  "…LORD’S feast of Booths, which shall continue for seven days.  On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly, and you shall do no sort of work.   For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD, and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly and offer an oblation to the LORD. On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work… 39… you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast of the LORD for a whole week. The first and the eighth day shall be days of complete rest."  NAB

We see a close connection between the first and eight day.  The Jews held a solemn (Sabbath) rest and worshipped God on the first and the eighth day to celebrate His leading them into the promised land.  God had blessed them with the rest from their wondering in the desert by giving them the promised land.  Saint Paul alludes to this journey through the desert in 2 Corinthians 5 when he speaks of our present journey in this life and he refers to our bodies as "tents" or "tabernacles."   With the coming of the New Covenant Jesus reveals a better rest, the chance to be united with God in Heaven.  And He offers not just physical food, but spiritual food.  Matthew 11:28  "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

This Feast of Booths prefigures our new day of rest in the New Covenant as we journey  toward that ultimate rest that we will have in our Heavenly home with God.  Moses led the Jews out of the bondage of slavery to the Egyptians, and through the desert to find rest in the promised land.  Similarly, Jesus leads us out of the bondage of slavery to sin, and through the deserts of this life- the dying to ourselves (Luke 9:23f) - to that promised land in the Heavenly Jerusalem where we find our ultimate rest in God.  As will be shown later, we are a new creation in Christ and so we have a new and better seventh day, which is the first day or the eight day of the week.

This new day of rest prefigures that ultimate rest that we will only find with God in heaven.    "…you (God) have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."  St. Augustine, Confessions 1, 1, 1.   Since Jesus is the only way to heaven, the day that He especially hallowed, that is set part, with His miracles has become our new seventh day.  "In Christ's Passover, Sunday surpasses the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God.  For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ,"   CCC  2175 

Another foreshadowing is when God gave the requirements for Passover in Exodus 12.   Exodus 12:1-8  "…. they shall take every man a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household… Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening.  Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts … They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it."   Interestingly, God began these instructions with the announcement of a new way of measuring time.  Exodus 12:1   "The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you…’ "

Israel’s new year had been Yom Kippur in the autumn, but Passover is in the Spring.  There was a natural calendar, which began with Yom Kippur.  It coincided with the harvesting of the crops.  But, now God establishes a second calendar, or a sacred calendar.  The early Fathers of the Church saw in these events a foreshadowing or a type of what would take place in the New Testament Passover.  When Christ up came out of the tomb, up out of Egypt in a sense,  He inaugurated  a new measurement of time and of days.  Whereas, the natural calendar centered on the harvesting of crops, the fruits of the natural creation, the new sacred calendar centered on the spiritual benefits of the new creation - Redemption.  Mankind’s focus is now centered on the greater work and gifts of God- our Salvation.   As children of God under the New Covenant we live not for the naturally created goods, worldly things, but instead for the supernatural gifts and promises of Jesus Christ and our heavenly home.


The Holy Bible has both human authors and a Divine Author.  Scripture scholar Scott Hahn, Ph.D., writes: 

So when we read the Bible, we need to read it on two levels at once.   We read the Bible in a literal sense .. .. . But we read it also in a spiritual sense, searching out what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us through the words  (see Catechism, nos. 115 -19).

We do this in imitation of Jesus, because this is the way He read the scriptures.  He referred to Jonah (Mt 12:39), Solomon (Mt 12:42), the temple (Jn 2:19), and the brazen serpent (Jn 3:14) as  "signs"  that prefigured Him.  We see in Luke's gospel, as our Lord comforted the disciples on the road to Emmaus, that  "beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the scriptures" (Lk 24:27).  After this spiritual reading of the Old Testament, we are told, the disciples' hearts burned within them.

What ignited this fire in their hearts ?   Through the scriptures, Jesus had initiated His disciples into a world that reached beyond their senses.  A good teacher, God introduced the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.  Indeed, He had created the familiar with this end in mind, fashioning the persons and institutions that would best prepare us for the coming of Christ and the glories of His kingdom.

Learning to Type

The first Christians followed their Master in reading the Bible this way.  In the letter to the Hebrews, the Old Testament tabernacle and its rituals are described as  "types and shadows of heavenly realities"  (8:5), and the law as a  "shadow of the good things to come" (10:1).  Saint Peter, in turn, noted that Noah and his family  "were saved through water,"  and that  "this prefigured baptism, which saves you now"  (1 Pt 3:20-21).  Peter's word translated as  "prefigured"  is actually the Greed word for  "typify,"  or  "make a type."   The apostle Paul, for his part, described Adam as a  "type"  of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:14).

So what is a type ?   A type is a real person, place, thing, or event in the Old Testament that foreshadows something greater in the New Testament.  From  "type"  we get the word  "typology,"  the study of Christ's foreshadowing in the Old Testament (see Catechism, 128-130). [Hail, Holy Queen, pages 22-23.]

We are told in the New Testament that the Sabbath was just a shadow, or type, of a greater reality revealed in Christ.  Colossians 2:16-17  "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.  These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."  The Sabbath was not permanent.  It prefigured a more glorious rest that we can find in Christ and with Him in Heaven.  Because of sin we cannot be reconciled with God and get to Heaven unless we are Redeemed, and Justified before God.  Christ was "raised for our justification"  (Romans 4:25)   on  the first day of the week.  The glory of the Sabbath prefigured the greater glory of this new day, on which, we were enabled to enter that perfect rest in Christ. 



The Sabbath had two aspects, one ritual and one spiritual.  The ritual aspect of not working on the seventh day signified a deeper spiritual aspect.  It signified the consecration of the Jews to God and all that He had revealed and their acceptance and their living out of that Covenant that he had established with them.  Cf. Exod. 31: 13.  The Pharisees criticized Jesus because they got so caught up with the ritual aspect that they missed the more important spiritual one.

In the New Covenant the ritual aspect has been changed from the seventh day of the week to the first day, and every seven days after that.  This change in the ritual signifies an even deeper change in the spiritual aspect.  Greater spiritual benefits are available to those who live under the New Covenant.  With the coming of Christ and all that He has accomplished we now have a new and better Covenant. 

With the fuller revelation that He has given to mankind we can know God in a deeper way.  Matthew 13:17   "Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."    John 14:9  "…He who has seen me has seen the Father…"   Because of the grace that was won for us by Jesus Christ we can live out a deeper and more intimate relationship with God than was ever made possible under the Old Covenant.   Romans 8:16-17  "…we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."   When we receive the Eucharist, Communion, we renew the New Covenant that Christ established at the Last Supper.  



The book of Exodus tells us that the Sabbath is a sign of  the covenant that God had made with the people of Israel.  Exodus 31:13  "Say to the people of Israel, ‘You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.’ "  RSV  Circumcision was also a sign of the Old Covenant because it was the way to enter into it.  Genesis 17:11   "You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you."  RSV

The Sabbath was the sign of the Old Covenant, but the Old Testament prophets foretold a New Covenant.  The Old Covenant would cease to be, and it would be replaced by a New and more perfect Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-32  "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,  not like the covenant which I made with their fathers…"     Jesus established the New Covenant during the Last Supper.

Matthew 26:26-28  "…Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’  Then he took a cup… ‘…for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.’ "   NAB    The Seventh Day was a sign of the Covenant that the Jews had when God had written in stone with His own finger.  However, we now have a  New Covenant, not written  with a finger, but with Christ’s own Blood on the cross.     He gave His Apostles the chalice to drink and declared in  Luke 22:20   "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." RSV

In Hebrews we read;  Hebrews 8:6-7, 13
“Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.  For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second one. … When he speaks of a ‘new’ covenant, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.”


Development and change. Hebrews 13:8  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever."  RSV   The passing away of the Old Covenant and the giving way to the New Covenant should not be viewed as a reversal in God’s plan.  Rather, it is like the second part of an overall plan, but even more it is the culmination of God’s plan.  For example, a father may teach his young son obedience and forbid him to cross the street.  When he is older the father may require him to get a job across the street.  His overall plan is to raise him up to maturity.  The Old Covenant foreshadowed the New, but now it has given way to the New and more glorious Covenant.  Honoring God as our Creator on the seventh day of the week has given way to that which it foreshadowed, that is honoring Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer on the first day of the week.

Hebrews 7:18   "On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness…"   Hebrews 9:15  "Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant."  



We saw above how there are two signs of the Old Covenant, circumcision ( Genesis 17:11) and the observance of the Sabbath ( Exodus 31:13.)   However, when the Old Covenant completed its usefulness and passed away so did the signs.  Circumcision is no longer an obligation,  Galatians 5:2   "Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you."

Honoring the seventh day of the week is also no longer binding.  Saint Paul states that the legal demands of the Old Covenant are canceled and explicitly mentions the Sabbath as one of these.  We read how Christ  "…having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross…  Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath." Colossians 2:14-16  The festival, new moon, and Sabbaths are references to the yearly, monthly, and weekly observances of the Mosaic calendar. Therefore the whole Jewish festal calendar including the Sabbath is no longer binding. 

The Mosaic calendar is found in Numbers 28 and 29.   This terminology, "Sabbath, new moon, and festival," is used there.  Numbers 28: 10, 14   "Each sabbath there shall be the sabbath holocaust  …14 … This is the new moon holocaust for every new moon of the year."  NAB   Since our word for month comes from the word for moon it is sometimes translated as "month."  This Bible passage then goes on to list the major feasts of the year, Passover, Feast of Pentecost (Weeks), New Year’s Day, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Booths (Tabernacles).  Then it concludes with  Numbers 29:39   "These are the offerings you shall make to the LORD on your festivals…"  NAB  The festivals are the yearly holy observances in the Mosaic calendar.  Instead of  "festivals" it is sometimes translated as "feasts."

Exodus 31:16  "Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant."  This is applicable to the people of  Israel, the Jews, the people of the Old Covenant, whereas Christians are living in the new age, and they are the New Israel, therefore it does not apply to them.  There is a similar requirement concerning circumcision as an "everlasting covenant," but it is also not applicable to Christians.   Genesis 17: 11-13    "You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.  …both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised.  So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant."     There are other examples of perpetual ordinances that are no longer binding in Exodus 29:9 and 30:8 and Ezekiel 46:14-15. 


Just as Jesus gave us the New Covenant He also gave us new signs for it.  A person entered the Old Covenant by circumcision, whereas the rite of initiation into the New Covenant is Baptism. 

The prophet Ezekiel foretold how God would regenerate His people through a baptismal ritual.  Ezekiel 36:16-27  "…(25)  I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, …A new heart I will give you… And I will put my spirit within you…"  In the book of Romans, chapter 5:12 - 6:8,  Saint Paul relates how because of original sin everyone in Adam’s family, that is all mankind, is separated from God.  In order to be righteous we must get out of Adam’s family and into Christ’s family and he says that this is accomplished through Baptism.  Romans 6:3-8  "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.   …if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him."   Acts 2:38   "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  RSV   John 3:3-5   "Jesus answered and said to him,  ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’  … Jesus answered, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’ "   NAB

Matthew 28:18-19   "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…"  Galatians 3:27-29  "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."  Circumcision has been replaced by Baptism.  Saint Paul speaks of this parallel in Colossians 2:11-12   "In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ;  and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead."  



Just as circumcision, a sign of the Old Covenant, has been replaced by a new way to enter into God’s Covenant we also have a new holy day.  It is the Lord’s day, which is the first day of the week.

We can see that the term "the Lord’s Day" is a reference to the eighth or the first day of the week by examining the early writings of the church.  In each instance where the context clarifies the day of the week, "the Lord’s Day" is always the first day of the week. This still holds true even for the apocrypha.  (For example, see the Gospel According to Peter Chapter  9, written in  150  AD.  Unlike the Jews, Christians recognize Jesus as their Ruler and Lord.  The first day of the week is called the "Lord’s Day," because it exemplifies Him as Lord.  On that day He defeated death and conquered the Prince of darkness. 
John 12:31  "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out;"

This day replaces the Sabbath for the day especially consecrated to God by the community’s worship.  Christians celebrated their worship service in each others homes. Acts 2:42-46  "And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…  breaking bread in their homes…"   We can see in the New Testament the beginning of this substitution of the first day of the week for the seventh day that the Jews had honored.   Acts 20:7  "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight."  Here we see the two basic elements of Sunday worship which have been followed by the Church to this day:  1) the breaking of bread, which designates the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Catholics call it the Mass); and  2) the sermon. 

Seventh Day Adventist argue that the phrase "On the first day of the week" modifies when Paul intended to depart on the following day since he had preached beyond midnight.  They claim that the Christians had actually met on the Sabbath.  Adventists believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the most authoritative.  It reads in Acts 20:7  "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."  KJV   According to ENGLISH  GRAMMER  AND  COMPOSITION  by John E. Warriner, published by Harcourt, Brace and Company, on page 331 it instructs that a writer should "Place phrase and clause modifiers as near as possible to the words they modify."  On page 335 it instructs writers to place modifying phrases either at the beginning of the sentence or at the end in order to clarify that they definitely modify the nearest applicable word or phrase as opposed to leaving the phrase in the middle of the sentence and leaving doubt.  Therefore, if one admits that the authors of the King James Version used correct English, then one must conclude that the phrase "And upon the first day of the week" must modify the clause "when the disciples came together to break bread."

The same indication that the Christians came together on the first day of the week is also found in Saint Paul’s writings. 1 Corinthians 16:2   "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come."   Saint Paul thought that the most opportune time to collect funds for the poor was when they gathered for their celebration of the Lord’s Supper -the Mass.

Saint Luke must have had a special purpose for mentioning that they "gathered" on the "first" day of the week in Acts 20:7.  This is evident because no where else in Acts, with one exception, does he list the date or the day of the week that this or that momentous missionary journey began, or this or that significant event happened.  This implies that Luke was intending to convey the special significance that the "first" day of the week had come to represent.  His only exception is when he states that Paul or some other missionary went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.  Their purpose for going there on the Sabbath was to get a large audience to preach to.   The Jews had not assembled there to celebrate a Christian service. 

Saint Paul was always willing to meet people on their own ground in order to win them for Christ. 1 Corinthians 9:19-20 "…I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law—though not being myself under the law—that I might win those under the law."  Many Jews converted, but many also rejected them and kicked them out of the synagogue.  See Acts  14:1-6 and 17:1-9.  Jesus had prophesied in John 16:2 that they would be kicked out.

The Council of Jerusalem, see Acts 15, passed a law for Gentile converts to Christianity.  This Council which was presided over by Saint Peter, with the other Apostles attending, exempted the Gentiles from the law of Moses with a few exceptions.  However, the observance of the Sabbath was not listed as one of those exceptions that would still be binding on them.

When Jesus was asked what a person had to do to enter heaven in Matthew 19:16-22, he listed the commandments, but he did not mention the Sabbath. 

An Adventist might object that this passage does not explicitly mention what they would call the first four and what they call the last commandments.  Therefore, they might reason, that Jesus just assumed ones obedience to the first four commandments that deal with our relationship with God.

First, in order to clarify the different methods in which the commandments are numbered, a few points must be mentioned.  Protestants traditionally separate the commandment, "Exodus 20:2-3  "I am the Lord your God… (3)   You shall have no other gods before me,"     and the command in verses 4 through 5,    (4) "You shall not make for yourself a graven image…(5) you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…"  [RSV],  and they count them as two commandments, whereas Catholics consider making worshipping graven images a violation of the first commandment and therefore, part of it.  Catholics count all of this as the first commandment.

Protestants traditionally group together  "you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife"   with the prohibition against coveting "his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s," as one commandment, whereas, Catholics count them as two.  It should be noted that the numbering of verses is not in the original manuscripts - actually the originals are no longer in existence, but the oldest copies that we have which are copies of copies of copies of the originals, do not have them.  Therefore, the numbering of them is not inspired.   They were added after the invention of the printing press in order to facilitate that process.

It probably would be a lot easier for a man to forgive his neighbor who just used his brand new lawnmower against his explicit prohibition to do so, than it would be for him to forgive another neighbor who raped his wife.  Both sins are evil and wrong, but the second is much more serious  (Cf. 1 Jn. 5:16-17),  and so Catholics count prohibitions against them as two different commandments.

Contrary to the Adventist position that the commandment against violating the Sabbath was just assumed it should be noted that the other 9 commandments are mentioned in other texts but nowhere can we find Jesus’s affirmation of the Sabbath commandment.  In this discourse in Matthew, besides explicitly stating most of the commandments, Jesus paraphrases the following commandments.   Matthew 19:17  "There is only One who is good,"  [NAB] is a paraphrase of the first commandment, or the first two, counting as Protestants do.  His words in   Matthew 19:19  "You shall love your neighbor as yourself,"  [RSV] is a paraphrase of the last two.

Jesus also repeats these commandments in other Bible passages: 
Matthew 4:10  "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."    Mark 12:29-30  "…The Lord our God, the Lord is one;  and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…"


Against taking God’s name in vain we read Matthew 5:33-34  "Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’   But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;"  NAB      An oath is more than a promise because an oath means to invoke God’s holy Name. Cf. Heb. 6: 13-17. Therefore, to take a false oath was to take God’s Name in vain.  VINE’S  EXPOSITORY  DICTIONARY  defines oath as   "HORKOS (o{rko" , (3727)) is primarily equivalent to herkos, a fence, an enclosure, that which restrains a person; hence, an oath. The Lord’s command in Matt. 5:33 was a condemnation of the minute and arbitrary restrictions imposed by the scribes and Pharisees in the matter of adjurations, by which God’s Name was profaned."

And against coveting Christ also said;  Matthew 5:28   "But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  RSV

Matthew 5:40  "…and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well;"  RSV   Luke 14:33  "So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."   Cf. Lk 12: 13-15,   Mat. 6: 24-33


Therefore, Jesus mentions all ten commandments except the Sabbath.  The Sabbath which is a sign of the Old Covenant is no longer binding under the New Covenant.

Saint Paul rebukes the Galatians for reverting back to their Jewish customs and observance of feast days of the Mosaic calendar as if they were still binding.  Galatians 4:9-11  "…but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and destitute elemental powers? Do you want to be slaves to them all over again?  You are observing days, months, seasons, and years.     I am afraid on your account that perhaps I have labored for you in vain."   NAB 

A reference to Sabbath (7th day), new moon (monthly), and festive (yearly) feast days of the Mosaic calendar.  Colossians 2:14-16 "…Therefore let no one pass judgment on you … with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath."




Christians gathered on the first day of the week because that was the day of the Lord’s greatest triumph over Satan and death.  Luke’s Gospel proclaims that Christ rose on the first day of the week. 

Luke 24:1, 2, 6, 7, 13, 19-21
“1. But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 
2. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb …
6. He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said …
7. that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, andrise on the third day.” …
13. Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus …
19 … Jesus the Nazarene … 
20. how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.
21. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.”

Jesus also choose the first day of the week to appear to His Apostles.  And seven days later on the following Sunday He also chose to appear again when Saint Thomas was present.  John 20:19, 26. “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth.”  Leviticus 23:15  gives the method for computing the day of "Pentecost,” also called the Feast of Weeks.  It always falls on the first day of the week.  And it was on this day that God chose to inaugurate the Christian Church with the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.  Cf. Acts 2:1.

In the Old Covenant the Jews communed with God by worshipping Him on the Sabbath.  This only prefigured and has given way to the greater method of communing with God in the New Covenant by our reception of the Eucharist, Holy Communion, on the first day of the week.

Also, in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 24, we read about Christ’s example that we all should follow.  

Luke 24:1, 13, 27, 30, 35.   
(1)  “But on the first day of the week…(13)  That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, …(27) And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself…(30)  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them…(35)  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”  RSV  

Christ’s actions signify the two elements of the Lord’s Supper, the celebration of which Catholics call the Mass.   Jesus opens up the Word of God to their hearts and then blesses and brakes bread with them.  And He does this with the disciples on the first day of the week.

Saint Paul who says in  1 Corinthians 11:1  “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,”  gives us an example to follow in Acts  20:7  when he celebrates the Eucharist on the first day of the week.

 “Sunday recalls the day of Christ’s Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death, the fulfillment in him of the first creation and the dawn of  ‘the new creation’ (cf. 2 Cor 5:17) …
[I]n commemorating the day of Christ's Resurrection not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church seeks to indicate to every generation the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world’s origin and its final destiny lead … 
As in every Eucharistic celebration, the Risen Lord is encountered in the Sunday assembly at the twofold table of the word and of the Bread of Life.”
[Dies Domini, Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II 1998]


To make a covenant is to establish a family bond, and it is accomplished by the swearing of an oath. ( Ezekiel 16:8  “… I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you; you became mine, says the Lord GOD.”   NAB.   Also see Ez 16:59, 17:13, Lk 1:72-73. )   However, Jesus came to give us a better Covenant.   Hebrews 8:6   “Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.”  NAB    To make an oath is to make a promise and to invoke God’s Holy Name to that promise.  When Jesus makes a promise His Holy Name is already attached to it, so Jesus’ promises are His oaths.  He has established the New Covenant by these better promises, His better oaths.  When Jesus established the New Covenant, He made a new and better family bond with His people by His oaths.

The Hebrew word for “seven" is “sheba.” (Strong’s # 7651)   The word “sheba” is built on the Hebrew verb “shaba - to swear an oath.” (Strong’s # 7650)   Because of the close connection of the Hebrew words for “oath” and “seven” it could be said that when God established a covenant with us by His oaths that He “seventhed” Himself to us.  Because we Christians have a much better covenant than what the Jews had it could be said that God has “seventhed” Himself to us in a much better way than what He had done with the Jews.   Therefore, it is appropriate that God has given us a new and better “seventh day” to signify this better “seventhing” of Himself.

God had wanted the Jews to celebrate the  Sabbath on the seventh day.  It was a sign of the Old Covenant that He had made with Israel as they accepted Him as their Creator and God.  Saturday had special significance for the Jews because it was dedicated to the completion of God’s creative work.  But, God’s redemptive work is greater than His creative work.

“Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest 
 in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit.   It is the opinion of St. 
that 'the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the
 creation of heaven and earth,' because 'heaven and earth will pass away 
 but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass 
 away.' [43]   He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the 
 creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater 
 mercy.”   CCC  1994

The first day of the week, and every seven days after that, signifies Jesus’ saving and redemptive work, His greater work, that he accomplished by His death on the cross and His resurrection on Easter Sunday,  Cf. Romans 4:25.    Jesus choose this day to manifest His glory and inaugurate His Church as seen above.  By redeeming us in Christ, we are God’s New Creation. 

The Latin word for oath is “sacramentum” and it is from this word that we get the English word “Sacrament.”   CCC  #  1210  “Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven…”  # 1131  “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, …entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.”

Genesis 21:28-31 “Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart.   And Abimelech said to Abraham, ‘What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs which you have set apart?’   He said, ‘These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that you may be a witness for me that I dug this well.’   Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there both of them swore an oath."  RSV   Some Bible footnotes point out how Beer-sheba can be interpreted as “well of the oath,” or “well of the seven.”



The world is being transformed by His grace.  Matthew 5:17-18  “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”  An Adventist might contend that the previous passage does not allow for the abolishment or replacement of the Sabbath with an even better seventh day.  However, upon closer study we can see that this is not so.

Jesus perfectly fulfilled the requirements of the Law and the Prophets and ushered in a New Covenant where we might enter into the kingdom of God either mystically or at least partially here on earth and completely in heaven.  John’s death happens at some point between Luke 7:20 and 9:9.  (Cf. Mat. 4:10) Sometime after his death we read in   Luke 16:16  “The law and the prophets lasted until John; but from then on the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone who enters does so with violence.”  NAB   Luke 16:16-17  “The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently.   But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void.”   RSV   Jesus doesn’t say that it is impossible for part of the law to become void, only that it is very difficult.  And we will see that it was very costly.

Now, we already know that some of the Old Testament ritual laws are void, no longer binding, such as circumcision, temple sacrifices, etc.  Cf. Galatians 5 :2, and Acts 15.  Therefore the “heaven and earth pass(ing) away" must be some sort of spiritual reality that has already occurred or is in the process of occurring.   It is not a reference to the end of the world, but the coming of the new age, which occurs with the coming of the Messiah, and the New Covenant.   Hebrews 9:26  “…But as it is, he (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  We are living in the new and final age that was prophesied by Isaiah as the time of the “new heavens and a new earth."  Isaiah 66:22-23  “As the new heavens and the new earth which I will make Shall endure before me, says the LORD, so shall your race and your name endure.  From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, All mankind shall come to worship before me, says the LORD.”   NAB  cf. Isa.  65: 17-20.  The early leaders of the Church understood this prophesy to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ who brings both Jews and Gentiles to worship God the Father.

Jesus says that it was not easy for the Old Covenant laws to be dispensed with.  It was only by the sacrifice of God the Father of His only begotten Son that has freed us from the requirements of circumcision and the other Old Testament rituals, like Sabbathing on the seventh day, that are no longer binding. 

When Jesus took a human nature he also took upon himself all the sufferings that come with every day life and this eventually led to his crucifixion.   It seems that Saint Matthew wanted to remind his readers about the great cost with which we were sent free before telling them about that which is probably one of Jesus’s most difficult teachings to accept.  The verses immediately following  Luke 16:16-17 record Jesus’s prohibition against divorce and remarriage.  In verse 16 when Jesus says, “…the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone who enters does so with violence.”  [New Am Bible], He is probably referring to how we must die to ourselves to follow Christ.

The world has been corrupted by sin, but it also has been redeemed by Christ.  As the infinite grace of Jesus Christ is applied to ourselves and the world it transforms us and makes us holy.  The kingdom of God is not just in heaven but it is supernaturally made present here on earth.  The Church is the New Jerusalem.  Cf. Rev. 21:2, Gal. 4:26  Luke 10:17-18  “The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’  And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”      Matthew 12:28  “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”   We have a new heaven and earth transformed by God’s grace.

The writing of Pseudo -Barnabas shows that this idea was not unknown of in the early church. 
 “…  Further, He says to them, “Your new moons and your Sabbath I cannot endure.”   Ye perceive how He speaks: Your present Sabbaths are not acceptable to Me, but that is which I have made, [namely this,] when, giving rest to all things, I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead.   And  when He had manifested Himself, He ascended into the heavens.” 
Also see Saint Ignatius Bishop of Antioch’s letter to the Magnesians 8:1 -9:2 written about 107  AD.


2 Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 
Galatians 6:15  “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” 
1 Corinthians 15:22, 45    “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive…  (45)  Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” 
Ephesians 2:10  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…”   RSV 
In the New Covenant Christians are created anew in Christ. 

God is the creator of time and space.  The creation of the day and night, and the sun , the moon and the stars show God as the creator of time.  The creation of all the fish, birds, and all the animals that occupy the world that God created show God as the creator of space.  The two key elements in the Jewish worship service, the Temple and the Sabbath, manifested God’s Lordship over these.  The Temple manifested God’s sovereignty over space.  Although God is everywhere the Temple was especially consecrated to God.  He dwelt there in a special way.  However, in the New Covenant it is replaced with the new Temple, the Church, the Body of Christ.  Likewise, the Sabbath which manifested God’s sovereignty over time has been replaced with a better seventh day in the New Covenant.

Saint John the Evangelist, in the fourth Gospel, also shows how Christ’s redemptive work is also recognized as His new creation.  In the prologue to this Gospel we find several allusions to Genesis with this motif of the “new creation.”   They are;

1) St. John begins his first chapter with the words 
“In the beginning…” as we see in Genesis 1:1.

2) We see the theme of the light shinning into the darkness  John 1:4-5  “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”   This theme of light had been a prominent feature in the first creation as well.      Genesis 1:2-3  “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.  And God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”

3)  The Spirit in the form of a dove descends at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River  John 1: 32, and the Spirit hovers over the waters in Gen. 1: 2.

4)The theme of God’s creation coming through His Word is found in  John 1:3  and Gen. 1: 3.   John 1:1-3  “In the beginning was the Word… (3)  all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”   Genesis 1:3   “And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.   Our creator and our redeemer are one in the same.

5) We also see a new creation week.  At Cana, the new Adam, Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:45), changed the water into wine, symbolizing the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. St. John tells us that there were seven days  from “In the Beginning” to the beginning of Christ’s work here at Cana.

These seven days correspond to the seven days of creation in Genesis.  John 1: 1, 29, 35, 43.   “In the beginning…(29)  The next day…(35)  The next day… (43)  The next day…”  this brings us to the fourth day.  The next reference to time is found in  John 2:1  “On the third day there was a marriage at Cana…”  But the third day from the fourth day is the seventh day.  Thus the third day and the seventh day are the same day.  In the New Covenant of Jesus Christ we have a new seventh day, but it is also the third day - the day He rose from the dead,   Luke 24: 46.  The third day was also the day that the child Jesus was found teaching His Word in the temple.  We also find a close connection between the third and seventh day in  Numbers 19:12  “…he shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean…”  Saint John makes these parallels with the book of Genesis, including the new seven days, so that we might see that we are a new creation in Christ.  Along with the New Covenant and the new creation we have a new seventh day. 

John writes at the end of his Gospel  John 21:25  “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”   Saint John has more things to write about than he has paper to write it on.  With so many important things to write about he doesn’t waste words.  The Holy Spirit must of had a reason to inspire the Evangelist to record the chronology of these seven days.

The book of Revelations a blueprint for the Sacred Liturgy of the Christian community’s weekly worship.  There is the reading of the Word of God (chapters 2 -5), and the partaking of the wedding banquet of the Lamb of God, our Passover Sacrifice (chapter 19)  and this takes place on the Lord’s Day.     Revelation 1:10  “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…” RSV

The book of Revelation was written by Saint John.  For an explanation of the “Lord’s Day” see the quote listed below by Saint Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch,  who was also a disciple of Saint John.

Under the New Covenant the day of public worship has been changed to the first day of the week.  “Because it (the first day) is the “eighth day”  following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection.  For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) - Sunday.”  CCC  2174.

Jesus was given full authority to alter or change the Sabbath in any way that He wished to.   Ref. Matthew 12:8 and Matthew 28:18-20.   And He gave that Authority to the Church that He founded on Peter.

Matthew 16:15-19  “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’  Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.   And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.   I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ ” RSV  
Cf. Isaiah 22:15, 19-24  and Isaiah 36:1-3

Luke 22:29-32  “…and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom,  that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.   Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you (plural), that he might sift you like wheat,  but I have prayed for you (singular) that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”   RSV

“This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age.  The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful  ‘not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another.’ [Heb. 10:25]   Tradition preserves the memory of an ever-timely exhortation: Come to Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your sins, repent in prayer.... Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its prayer and do not leave before the dismissal.... We have often said: ‘This day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ ”   CCC  # 2178

Click below to see how 
Hebrews chapter 10 tells us why we should participate in the Mass, the Eucharistic, Liturgy. 

This change from the seventh day to the eighth or the first day of the week can also be verified by looking at the testimony of the early church. 




This change can also be verified by looking at the testimony of the early church. 

SAINT  BASIL :   LETTER  93            372   AD 
To the Patrician Coesaria,  concerning  Communion.

"It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, ‘He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.’  And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life. I, indeed, communicate four times a week, on the Lord's day, on Wednesday, on Friday, and on the Sabbath, and on the other days if there is a commemoration of any Saint."    (This is another example of "the Lord’s day" referring to the first day of the week.) 

THE    DIDASCALIA       225  AD 
"The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation, because on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven" 


"It follows, accordingly, that, in so far as the abolition of carnal circumcision and of the old law is demonstrated as having been consummated at its specific times, so also the observance of the Sabbath is demonstrated to have been temporary… He predicts through Isaiah: ‘And there shall be,’ He says, ‘month after month, and day after day, and sabbath after sabbath; and all flesh shall come to adore in Jerusalem, saith the Lord;’   which we understand to have been fulfilled in the times of Christ, when ‘all flesh’--that is, every nation—‘came to adore in Jerusalem’ God the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, as was predicted through the prophet…But the Jews are sure to say, that ever since this precept was given through Moses, the observance has been binding. Manifest accordingly it is, that the precept was not eternal nor spiritual, but temporary, which would one day cease…" 


"…And 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; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given (Eucharistic elements)... And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, … and in a word takes care of all who are in need. 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 Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration." 


"Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace…   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…" 

THE  DIDACHE  (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)   70  AD 
Chapter 14:1 - 5.     Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day

"But every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: ‘In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.’ " 



We look to the Bible for the understanding of the keys and what  Jesus was referring to.  The keys refer to the passage from Isaiah 22.

Isaiah 22:15-25

15  "Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, "Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him:

What have you to do here and whom have you here, that you have hewn here a tomb for yourself, you who hew a tomb on the height, and carve a habitation for yourself in the rock?  Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you,  and whirl you round and round, and throw you like a ball into a wide land; there you shall die, and there shall be your splendid chariots, you shame of your master’s house.

19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station.  In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.   And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.  And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house.  And they will hang on him the whole weight of his father’s house, the offspring and issue,

every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. In that day, says the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a sure place will give way; and it will be cut down and fall, and the burden that was upon it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken." 

Isaiah 36:1-3 
"In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah...  there came out to him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder." 

The key of the house of David implies succession because King David had been dead for hundreds of years at the time of King Hezekiah’s rule.  Just as the king had a successor so did the head of the household, the master of the palace, or in today’s language the ‘prime minister" or even better "the king’s regent", "viceroy", or "vicar" since he had absolute authority under the king.   His office was one of being a father to the people.