Can someone celebrate the Sabbath on a different day?

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tellville

Puritan Board Junior
I remember asking before whether it would be ok for someone to celebrate their Sabbath on a different day (say they treated Wednesday as their Sabbath and went to a Wednesday night service) and the response I got was an overwhelming "NO." But I'm wondering, where does scripture explicity change the Sabbath from a Saturday to a Sunday? And where does it change it from being evening to evening to midnight to midnight? Why was it ok to change the Sabbath to Sunday and not change it to some other day?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The Sabbath is the name of the OT day that God set aside for his meeting his people.

Only God can change a worship element, per the RPW.

Jesus is God.

Jesus' repeated meetings with his disciples on and after the Resurrection--including his meeting with them on Pentecost--when the day was explicitly noted, was on the first day of the week (with the exception of the Ascension).

The church seems to have assumed this was the new Divine pattern, as we see them continuing to meet for worship on that day (Act.20:7; 1Cor.16:2). We continue to call the "Lord's Day" the "Sabbath" in some circles.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
The Sabbath is the name of the OT day that God set aside for his meeting his people.

Only God can change a worship element, per the RPW.

Jesus is God.

Jesus' repeated meetings with his disciples on and after the Resurrection--including his meeting with them on Pentecost--when the day was explicitly noted, was on the first day of the week (with the exception of the Ascension).

The church seems to have assumed this was the new Divine pattern, as we see them continuing to meet for worship on that day (Act.20:7; 1Cor.16:2). We continue to call the "Lord's Day" the "Sabbath" in some circles.

Many say that no part of the fourth is ceremonial. That the Ten represents God's nature. Since God's nature can't change, then even God couldn't change the day. So do you believe that the fourth is ceremonial? If so, why? If not, why and how would that not be changing something that represents God's nature?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Another problem with Sunday vs. Saturday is reconciling their calendar with ours, which you can't. Every third year or so they added a 13th month to keep the first month in spring. Who knows what day it was on by our calendar? And the Commandment just says to rest after six days. As to which day is the day of rest, Sabbath, Lord's day, etc... Rushdoony once said in a sermon we shouldn't worry about it, since the guiding principle (on the Sabbath issue we're discussing) is that of public observance. Note the passage below deals with non-covenant people as well.

So the obvious answer to those who want to keep the Sabbath/Lord's day etc.. different than everyone else is that they are defeating one of the main purposes of the day, that of public observance and if fact are in rebellion against the day, especially the cohesion that the day can and has in history brought.

Neh 13:15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food.
Neh 13:16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself!
Neh 13:17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, "What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day?
Neh 13:18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath."
Neh 13:19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day.
Neh 13:20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.
Neh 13:21 But I warned them and said to them, "Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you." From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath.
 

HanleyBri

Puritan Board Freshman
approved examples

It must be remembered that God teaches through direct commands and ALSO through approved examples. As such, approved examples are as binding as direct commands.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
The Sabbath is the name of the OT day that God set aside for his meeting his people.

Only God can change a worship element, per the RPW.

Jesus is God.

Jesus' repeated meetings with his disciples on and after the Resurrection--including his meeting with them on Pentecost--when the day was explicitly noted, was on the first day of the week (with the exception of the Ascension).

The church seems to have assumed this was the new Divine pattern, as we see them continuing to meet for worship on that day (Act.20:7; 1Cor.16:2). We continue to call the "Lord's Day" the "Sabbath" in some circles.

Many say that no part of the fourth is ceremonial. That the Ten represents God's nature. Since God's nature can't change, then even God couldn't change the day. So do you believe that the fourth is ceremonial? If so, why? If not, why and how would that not be changing something that represents God's nature?

No, the fourth is not ceremonial.

It's not changing something that represents God's nature because the command wasn't changed. The fourth commandment doesn't say to "observe the sabbath on a Saturday", but rather to "observe the Sabbath". The command to observe the Sabbath is still binding. The difference is, under the new covenant, the Sabbath is on our Sunday. It's still the Sabbath, and it's still to be observed.

-----Added 4/2/2009 at 10:10:46 EST-----

It must be remembered that God teaches through direct commands and ALSO through approved examples. As such, approved examples are as binding as direct commands.

What constitutes an approved example?
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Yes, it is done as the corporate gathering.

But the Jewish calendar was set according to the ripening of the barley, and that stopped a while back. And the Gregorian calendar dropped 10 days when it was introduced...for a while a lot of Protestants refused to use it. So I don't think we have any idea at all which days of the week are seventh or first any more. Wednesday could be the sabbath.

I asked this recently about sundown to sundown, and the first link somebody posted to a former thread was fascinating:

http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/so-when-did-sabbath-stop-being-sundown-sundown-45742/

On a practical level, when all my kids were in school I tried to take one day a week from 8:00- 3 or 4:00 as a sabbath rest. Maybe went for a long walk at the beach and listened to teaching tapes while I drove there an hour and back. Sat on a bench overlooking the waves and read the bible and good books. It was very restful. I could never do that on Sunday. I think I was in the most emotionally rested and focused on God time of my life when I did that, and I felt like it was my personal sabbath rest more than Sunday.

Then I started home schooling :p
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
TimV;

Rushdoony once said in a sermon we shouldn't worry about it, since the guiding principle (on the Sabbath issue we're discussing) is that of public observance. Note the passage below deals with non-covenant people as well.

Isn't a Wend. Service still a public observance?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Isn't a Wend. Service still a public observance?

Hey, Bobbi

I meant public as in social institutions. Like the passage I quoted, the markets were closed on that day.

One day per 7 that people can refresh and enjoy themselves in imitation of God after creation. One day that everyone in society knows comes at the same time every week, and not just Christians. It really is a socially useful construct, just as are laws against theft.
 

Michael

Puritan Board Senior
For what it's worth, Calvin taught that the specific day of the week was not important, but rather that one day must be set aside.

It's not an individual decision however. It is a corporate day of worship and rest for the Church under the New Covenant.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
You may find GI Williamson's Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes, p. 220-225 (second edition) helpful.

Basically, the emphasis is not on the day of the week itself, as many posters above have alluded to. It is one day in seven as a proportion of time God gives us that He commands us to "set apart" from the ordinary activities of the rest of the week so that we may prioritize worship of Him the whole day.

There are some who argue that the pattern of worship of the early new testament church on the first day has been preserved sequentially through history and that the present Julian calendar represents that. I'm not convinced of that but would not make a point of that.

It's not impossible to change the day or provide alternate worship days, but it does take extra effort, time and money to do so. Practically, it makes it difficult to maintain unity of believers and harder for them to fully participate in the life of the church if Sunday is not the common day of worship.

I really think God knows the practical need for a common time for His people to set aside and does not wish to make a unifying sabbath day a logistical burden.

Sunday as a common day of worship greatly affects the communities in which we live, and impacts our culture, whether we realize it or not.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
For some important (in my opinion) clarifications on Calvin's Sabbatarianism, see Stewart E Lauer, "John Calvin, the Nascent Sabbatarian: A Reconsideration of Calvin’s View of Two Key Sabbath-Issues." in The Confessional Presbyterian v3.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I remember asking before whether it would be ok for someone to celebrate their Sabbath on a different day (say they treated Wednesday as their Sabbath and went to a Wednesday night service) and the response I got was an overwhelming "NO." But I'm wondering, where does scripture explicity change the Sabbath from a Saturday to a Sunday? And where does it change it from being evening to evening to midnight to midnight? Why was it ok to change the Sabbath to Sunday and not change it to some other day?

The question of changing from Saturday to Sunday I'll leave to the discussion that is already going on. I do want, though, to address one implication that the OP title asks - that is "Can someone celebrate..." The implication is that in principle individuals can choose to celebrate the Sabbath on a day other than the Lord's Day. One reason that a resounding "NO" was offered in response to the question is that individuals do NOT have the purview to celebrate the Sabbath on any day they choose. The Sabbath is not an individual function. One cannot treat one day as Sabbath simply based on his or her own whim. We don't have the right to tell God how we'll obey His commandments. The church has rightly recognized that the day of celebration of rest and worship is the Lord's Day. Nobody has the authorization to reject that declaration and go out on their own to choose the day that they find more convenient.
 

Ex Nihilo

Puritan Board Senior
The question of changing from Saturday to Sunday I'll leave to the discussion that is already going on. I do want, though, to address one implication that the OP title asks - that is "Can someone celebrate..." The implication is that in principle individuals can choose to celebrate the Sabbath on a day other than the Lord's Day. One reason that a resounding "NO" was offered in response to the question is that individuals do NOT have the purview to celebrate the Sabbath on any day they choose. The Sabbath is not an individual function. One cannot treat one day as Sabbath simply based on his or her own whim. We don't have the right to tell God how we'll obey His commandments. The church has rightly recognized that the day of celebration of rest and worship is the Lord's Day. Nobody has the authorization to reject that declaration and go out on their own to choose the day that they find more convenient.

I don't mean to sidetrack the discussion, but choosing one's own Sabbath day seems analogous to a couple deciding they could determine for themselves, for Seventh Commandment purposes, when they were and were not "really" married.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
toddpedlar
One cannot treat one day as Sabbath simply based on his or her own whim. We don't have the right to tell God how we'll obey His commandments. The church has rightly recognized that the day of celebration of rest and worship is the Lord's Day. Nobody has the authorization to reject that declaration and go out on their own to choose the day that they find more convenient.

Something that also goes with this is, an individual would be asking a minister (e.g. of Word and sacrament) to change to that individual's convenience and really, many others who "minister" (e.g. choir, fellowship meal providers, Sunday school teachers, etc.).

The sabbath is, after all a day for individual, family and corporate worship.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
toddpedlar
One cannot treat one day as Sabbath simply based on his or her own whim. We don't have the right to tell God how we'll obey His commandments. The church has rightly recognized that the day of celebration of rest and worship is the Lord's Day. Nobody has the authorization to reject that declaration and go out on their own to choose the day that they find more convenient.

Something that also goes with this is, an individual would be asking a minister (e.g. of Word and sacrament) to change to that individual's convenience and really, many others who "minister" (e.g. choir, fellowship meal providers, Sunday school teachers, etc.).

The sabbath is, after all a day for individual, family and corporate worship.

I don't think anyone's talking about an individual asking the church to change practices to conform to his or her preference... what we're going after here is the individual desire to say "Tuesday is my Sabbath day, and so on that day I rest from my normal labor and spend the day worshipping the Lord".
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
what we're going after here is the individual desire to say "Tuesday is my Sabbath day, and so on that day I rest from my normal labor and spend the day worshipping the Lord".

Wouldn't that person also be asking for corporate worship also as part of their sabbath?
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
what we're going after here is the individual desire to say "Tuesday is my Sabbath day, and so on that day I rest from my normal labor and spend the day worshipping the Lord".

Wouldn't that person also be asking for corporate worship also as part of their sabbath?

To be consistent, I suspect he would have to. But in this case, I think the discussion is regarding people who will attend church but still work on the Lord's Day, claiming that some other day is the day they give fully to worship of God.

Somewhat :offtopic: but didn't Tim Keller propose a choose-your-Sabbath principle, or no?
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
what we're going after here is the individual desire to say "Tuesday is my Sabbath day, and so on that day I rest from my normal labor and spend the day worshipping the Lord".

Wouldn't that person also be asking for corporate worship also as part of their sabbath?

No, they wouldn't. As Ben rightly notes below, most people who have this view do nothing more than say "MY Sabbath is Tuesday. I'll go to church on Sunday and work, too, but since my day off is Tuesday, that will be MY Sabbath."

Trouble is, it is the LORD's Sabbath... not "mine".
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
As others have emphasized, the Sabbath is not a day of idle rest. It is contrary to Biblical teaching to conceive of a Sabbath day apart from the worship of the covenant community.

"Too often we stop with the negative and the day is accented by the 'do nots.' God, however, does not want you to define the day by what you may not do, but rather by what you may do. Why does God want you to cease from doing your own business? Why does God tell you to stop pursuing your own pleasure and speaking your own words? So that you may pursue his business, that you may seek the pleasures of His word and work, and that you may delight in His worship and word."

(Joseph Pipa, The Lord's Day, p. 22)
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith

VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,[38] but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.[39]

Our Confession summarizes the doctrine of Scripture to require the (whole) day prioritize public (corporate) and private (individual, family) worship.

I cannot see the scripture, or by derivation, the confessions envisioning keeping the sabbath in a bifurcated way (e.g. work during the day, attend one church service at night) or not having, ordinarily, a day of worship that does not have both a corporate and individual worship aspect.

So, when one asks if their sabbath can be on another day, it would require it be the whole day and it would need, ordinarily to involve covenant community worship also.
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Ezekiel16 said:
For what it's worth, Calvin taught that the specific day of the week was not important, but rather that one day must be set aside.

It's not an individual decision however. It is a corporate day of worship and rest for the Church under the New Covenant.

Actually, Calvin wished believers could meet together corporately for worship every day. I think that would be pretty cool, too.

See this thread...

http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/calvin-4th-commandment-41322/

... which contains the article Chris referenced speculating about what direction Calvin's views might have taken with further development (which Chris kindly attached to a post on that thread); as well as the extensive quote from Calvin in Rich's initial post. Agree or disagree with him, Calvin is always worth a read.

NaphtaliPress said:
For some important (in my opinion) clarifications on Calvin's Sabbatarianism, see Stewart E Lauer, "John Calvin, the Nascent Sabbatarian: A Reconsideration of Calvin’s View of Two Key Sabbath-Issues." in The Confessional Presbyterian v3.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
Heb 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, NKJV

1 Cor 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, NKJV
or everyone, not leaving any out, each of you.

Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, NKJV

As for a ceremonial aspect to the 4th, I would not put it that way but there could have been a uniquely consonantal way the 4th command was given to the nation of Israel. As Calvin says, the Sabbath was abrogated but the 4th Command as moral law remains and is now the Lord's Day which is kept the same basic way, but with attention given to the fact they did not have light bulbs and so we have shift work now.
So though I would never take a job on the Lord's day, to nit pick over midnite to midnite, dawn to dusk or the working part of the day, daylight hours as it was, or other version I do not think is helpful. So would one choose to fly home by midnite Sat eve and get to bed so late they fall asleep in the sermon Sun morn this would not be keeping the Lord's day. Whereas for someone to make sure they had the Lord's day off and yet their shift was Sun 11am Mon morn I would not say they were absolutely violating the Lord's Day. These are matters of liberty of conscience.

So I think this discussion is healthy to consider for each of us, but careful not to fall back into the error of the Pharisees, Judaizers and theonomists of prescribing what is not clearly commanded in scripture.

There are already a couple other fully developed threads on which day on PB you can search and get great answers.

What part of day
http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/so-when-did-sabbath-stop-being-sundown-sundown-45742/

http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/when-does-sabbath-day-begin-end-revisited-16253/

Sabbath Observance

http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/sabbath-observance-11025/
 
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