This is a frequently asked question about a subject that has caused much confusion in the Church over the centuries. The key to answering this question is laying hold of the heart of God. Hopefully, in the space that is allotted here, we will do just that. Dakes writes extensively on this subject, some excerpts of which are relayed in this article.
In reference to the Roman Catholic Church requiring Sunday to be the Sabbath:
The New International Encyclopedia on "Sunday" says, "For some time after the foundation of the Christian Church the converts from Judaism still observed the Jewish Sabbath to a greater or lesser extent, at first, it would seem, concurrently with the celebration of the first day; but before the end of the apostolic period, Sunday, known as the Lord's day, had thoroughly established itself as the special day to be sanctified (set apart) by rest from secular labor and by public worship. The hallowing of Sunday appears incontestably as a definite law in the Church by the beginning of the fourth century; and the Emperor Constantine confirmed the custom by a law of the state."
The Encyclopedia Britannica under "Sabbath" and "Sunday" says. "In the early Christian Church Jewish Christians continued to keep the Sabbath, like other points of the law ... On the other hand, Paul from the first days of Gentile Christianity, laid it down definitely that the Jewish Sabbath was not binding on Christians. Controversy with Judaizers led in process of time to direct condemnation of those who still kept the Jewish day ... In 321 A.D. Constantine made the Christian Sabbath, Sunday, the rest day for the Roman Empire, but it was observed by Christians for nearly 300 years before it became law by Constantine."
The Biblical and historic record reveals that Sunday, known to the early church as "The Lord's Day, was celebrated by both Jewish and Gentile Christians. Although the Sabbath was still observed by most Jewish Christians, Jewish and Gentile Christians alike met on The Lord's Day to worship. This pattern of worship commenced at the Resurrection and continued as Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection on Sunday. Below are nine reasons why Christians worship on Sunday.
1. To commemorate the resurrection and the finished work of Christ in His victory over death, hell, and the grave (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; John 20:1).
2. The Lord's manifestations to His disciples were on Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; John 20:1, 19, 26).
3. The first day is the prominent day after the resurrection (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; John 20:1, 19, 26).
4. The outpouring of the Holy Ghost came on Sunday. Pentecost was the first day after seven Jewish Sabbaths (Acts 2:1; Leviticus 23:15-21). Thus, both Christ and the Holy Spirit manifested themselves to the church on this day.
5. Paul commands all people not to be bound by any particular day (Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 5:9-11; Col. 2:14-17). Sin is sin whenever committed. It is transgression of the law that constitutes sin (1 John 3:4), not the day in which it is done. Anything sinful Saturday or Sunday is sinful on every other day. If it is not sinful on Monday, Tuesday, etc., it is not sinful on Sunday.
6. Although no set day is commanded to be the Sabbath in the new covenant, as in the old covenant which was abolished, they did keep Sunday as their day of worship. (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; John 20:1,19,26; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10).
7. Typology of the old covenant made Sunday a day of worship:
a) The Jewish Sabbath was a changeable Sabbath, changing at Pentecost every year to one day later until each day of the week was observed every seven years. Pentecost was the first day after the seventh Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-21).
b) The Feast of Firstfruits came on Sunday, typifying the resurrection (Leviticus 23:9-14; Matthew 28:1; John 20:1).
c) The Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles also were observed at least one Sunday, being seven and eight days long (Leviticus 23:6-36).
8. God honored Sunday by giving the law on that day (cp. Exodus 19:1, 3, 11 with Leviticus 23:3-6; Exodus 12:2-18).
9. God again honored Sunday when giving the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:10).
NOTE! The Sabbath was given as a day for man to rest and worship his creator. The believer finds spiritual rest in Christ, yet our soul (mind, will and emotions) and bodies still need a day of rest, because we are not given a glorified body until the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:42-57). Therefore, let's take the time to honor God and the temples He has given us by observing a day of rest, a day unto the LORD.
*The above information come from Dake's Annotated Reference Bible and has been selected and edited by J. Bruce Sofia for purposes relation to the question posed.
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