Celebrating the Lord's Day (Sunset or Midnight)

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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I know that this topic has been discussed before and there are differences between celebrating the Lord's Day from sunset to sunset and midnight to midnight.

If we were to go by Scripture or even principles from Scripture, what is the correct position to take (or is there a correct position, is this adiaphora)?

What are the positives/negatives of celebrating it sunset to sunset or midnight to midnight (I know there is also a view out there of 6am Sunday to 6am Monday)?
 

JML

Puritan Board Junior
This thread should be interesting. I look forward to the responses.

I find myself leaning more toward sunset to sunset. It seems to be the practice of Scripture. Examples being creation along with Jesus' removal from the cross. I need to do more research but I find myself gradually changing over to the sunset view.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Personally, I just go by the time I go to bed Sat night until I wake up Monday morning. The exact times vary. I do however think the best case could be made for beginning at sunset on Sat because i think it's important to begin preparing for the Lord's Day. For example, we should be getting our minds focused on the Lord and fellowship with the saints. Also if you have small children some prep work should be done in getting baths in and clothes ready for Sunday morning. Plus, I think it's important to try to get to bed at a decent hour so as you are not tired during Sunday morning worship. With that being said, I don't feel comfortable ending my sabbath at sundown on Sunday. That would be around 8:40pm here and I wouldn't feel comfortable watching TV or doing housework Sunday night. Maybe that's just me being weird though.

(after typing that I realized it's almost one in the morning here, but I unfortunately have to work tomorrow morning so I will be missing church. I work in law enforcement though and only have to work one Sun morning every 5 weeks)
 

Matthew V

Puritan Board Freshman
Understanding that our sabbath rest is in Christ, how we understand the 'timing' of the Lord's Day seems to be a matter of practicality - not a matter which Scripture rules on. In my opinion, it's what you do with the Lord's Day that counts...not so much the exact time when it starts or ends.
 
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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sunset Saturday to Monday Morning for me. The preparation for the Sabbath, to me, is key to honoring the Sabbath. Putting things in order Saturday means more time to spend with God in His rest on Sunday.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Backwoods Presbyterian: Isn't that stretching the Sabbath then? Why not (just to make sure) make it Friday morning until Tuesday night?
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Backwoods Presbyterian: Isn't that stretching the Sabbath then? Why not (just to make sure) make it Friday morning until Tuesday night?

Not really. I mean I tack on an extra hour at most. "Preparation" for me involves helping my wife get meals set up and doing some odds and ends. It is not really that much.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Sunset Saturday to Monday Morning for me. The preparation for the Sabbath, to me, is key to honoring the Sabbath. Putting things in order Saturday means more time to spend with God in His rest on Sunday.

I like this alot. I will admit my wife and I are not here yet, (we don't begin exactly at sundown) but I think I would definitely lean toward this once we have children.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Sunset Saturday to Monday Morning for me. The preparation for the Sabbath, to me, is key to honoring the Sabbath. Putting things in order Saturday means more time to spend with God in His rest on Sunday.

I remember posting this on a previous thread about this topic. We prepare for the Sabbath on Saturday evening (not really honoring it as the Sabbath, but a dedication to having our house in order for the next morning), getting clothes laid out for the children, giving them baths, making sure the van is filled with gas, preparing food for the family, etc. etc. It brings greater peace to the Sabbath by removing as much of the prep work as possible from the actual day.
 

Matthew V

Puritan Board Freshman
I respect the intention of those to take the time to honour God on the Lord's Day. I am just wondering, what Scriptural warrant is there for these things though? I believe in the Lord's Day - but I fail to see Scriptures teaching me to hold as quasi-Jewish understanding of the Sabbath (which now comes 24 hours later than the creation-sabbath).
Can someone point me to a link or book which outlines "clock-watching", "iron-your-clothes-the-day-before" sabbath keeping in the New Testament? I am not being skeptical, but asking for help.
Thanks in advance.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I respect the intention of those to take the time to honour God on the Lord's Day. I am just wondering, what Scriptural warrant is there for these things though? I believe in the Lord's Day - but I fail to see Scriptures teaching me to hold as quasi-Jewish understanding of the Sabbath (which now comes 24 hours later than the creation-sabbath).
Can someone point me to a link or book which outlines "clock-watching", "iron-your-clothes-the-day-before" sabbath keeping in the New Testament? I am not being skeptical, but asking for help.
Thanks in advance.

The Lord's Day is a wonderful book. I'll add to that and point you to the confessional standard that you say you hold to in your 'About Me' section:

Chapter XXI of the WCF states:
1. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.

2. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.

3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue.

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter: but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.

5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: beside religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.

6. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshiped everywhere, in spirit and truth; as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.

7. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.

8. This Sabbath is then 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, 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.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Midnight to midnight for me, in this modern midnight to midnight culture.

I also observe the other days midnight to midnight.

If the days were measured sundown to sundown, I'd follow that.

---------- Post added 05-31-2010 at 12:01 AM ---------- Previous post was 05-30-2010 at 11:57 PM ----------

I respect the intention of those to take the time to honour God on the Lord's Day. I am just wondering, what Scriptural warrant is there for these things though? I believe in the Lord's Day - but I fail to see Scriptures teaching me to hold as quasi-Jewish understanding of the Sabbath (which now comes 24 hours later than the creation-sabbath).
Can someone point me to a link or book which outlines "clock-watching", "iron-your-clothes-the-day-before" sabbath keeping in the New Testament? I am not being skeptical, but asking for help.
Thanks in advance.

The Sabbath (sometimes called "The Lord's Day" in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) was established long before the New Covenant, long before the Old Covenant, and even before the Fall of Man.

Adam was to enjoy God's rest with Him from the work of Creation in a special way once a week.

We are to enjoy Christ's rest with Him from the work of Redemption and New Creation in a special way once a week.

The New Covenant Church Militant has not yet entered into Christ's eternal rest until death or the Eschaton, and therefore has no right to dispense with the Fourth Commandment.
 

Matthew V

Puritan Board Freshman
The Sabbath (sometimes called "The Lord's Day" in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) was established long before the New Covenant, long before the Old Covenant, and even before the Fall of Man.

OK. But, I'm looking for a clear argument based on the Scriptures that supports, as I have dubbed it, 'a quasi-Jewish' understanding of the Christian Sabbath being Sunday.
Hebrews clearly shows an understanding of the Sabbath rest as not essentially tied to any one particular day (cf. Rom. 14:5f).
Again, I believe in the Lord's Day, but I am chasing an exegetical argument from Scripture which will help me understand why Christians would discuss the 'timing' of the Lord's Day, and what constitutes proper observance of such a day.

thanks again.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The Sabbath (sometimes called "The Lord's Day" in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) was established long before the New Covenant, long before the Old Covenant, and even before the Fall of Man.

OK. But, I'm looking for a clear argument based on the Scriptures that supports, as I have dubbed it, 'a quasi-Jewish' understanding of the Christian Sabbath being Sunday.
Hebrews clearly shows an understanding of the Sabbath rest as not essentially tied to any one particular day (cf. Rom. 14:5f).
Again, I believe in the Lord's Day, but I am chasing an exegetical argument from Scripture which will help me understand why Christians would discuss the 'timing' of the Lord's Day, and what constitutes proper observance of such a day.

thanks again.

A helpful start is to look at the Scripture proofs which accompany every statement and/or proposition of doctrine in the Westminster Standards.

If I'm understanding your question, you accept that one day in seven is to be set aside (made "holy") by ceasing from our ordinary work and recreation, but wonder if we must prepare in advance for the day (e.g. Saturday night).

You are also asking for the basis for the change of day from Saturday to Sunday.

I'll quote only the appropriate sections of Westminster Chapter XXI to narrow in on those questions.

Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter XXI
Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
....

VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him:[34] which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week,[35] which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day,[36] and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.[37]
....
Scripture proofs

[35] GEN 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 1CO 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. ACT 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.
[36] REV 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
[37] EXO 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. MAT 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

....

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 wordly 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]
....

[38] EXO 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. EXO 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. 29 See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. ISA 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. NEH 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. 16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath. 19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. 21 Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. 22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

In addition to Mr. Pipa's book, and other context of the Westminster Summary posted by Andres, you may also find helpful The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes by GI Williamson.
http://www.cepbookstore.com/p-284-the-westminster-confession-of.aspx

Mr. Williamson, in the chapter about Chapter XXI of the Confession goes into sufficient detail about the change of day.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I know that this topic has been discussed before and there are differences between celebrating the Lord's Day from sunset to sunset and midnight to midnight.

If we were to go by Scripture or even principles from Scripture, what is the correct position to take (or is there a correct position, is this adiaphora)?

What are the positives/negatives of celebrating it sunset to sunset or midnight to midnight (I know there is also a view out there of 6am Sunday to 6am Monday)?

James Durham has quite an extensive section on this in his Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments. He argues that Sunday should be measured like the other days, and that they were measured from midnight to midnight, even in Genesis where "evening" is listed first. The supposed practice of measuring sunset to sunset he takes to apply only to special feasts, not to the weekly Sabbath. He also thinks it's ridiculous to start work at the end of the day when you're about to be interrupted in it by going to bed anyway. And extra time for preparation comes in under the heading of Remember. If we are remembering the Sabbath every day of the week, we are so ordering our affairs that we can come to Sunday with undistracted hearts, and if we are remembering what we will be doing on the Sabbath we will take some time on Saturday to prepare our hearts, as well as our affairs. But extending the Sabbath back to Saturday night is unwarrantable: it isn't that the Sabbath begins, it is that we are remembering it, and ever more as it approaches. I think it's very helpful, even if the language in a few of the arguments is a little Byzantine.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
I celebrate everyday as the Lords Day.... The sabbath is meant for man, not man for the sabbath......."Praise God from whom all blessings flow"
 

MLCOPE2

Puritan Board Junior
We generally follow the sunset to sunset pattern. Mostly because we also feel it beneficial to use Sat. eve to prepare both our hearts and our bodies for the Lord's Day. For those who don't understand the reasoning behind a time of preparation I would simply say that it is like anything else in our lives that we prepare for: work, school, trips, tests, etc. If we all agree that we need to spend time preparing for those things, how much more the blessed Sabbath?
 

Mindaboo

Puritan Board Graduate
We follow the midnight to midnight pattern. What do you do during daylight savings time? For us in the winter it would cut our Saturday pretty short. In general I try to have most things in order by around 7 or 8 pm.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The Sabbath (sometimes called "The Lord's Day" in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) was established long before the New Covenant, long before the Old Covenant, and even before the Fall of Man.

OK. But, I'm looking for a clear argument based on the Scriptures that supports, as I have dubbed it, 'a quasi-Jewish' understanding of the Christian Sabbath being Sunday.
Hebrews clearly shows an understanding of the Sabbath rest as not essentially tied to any one particular day (cf. Rom. 14:5f).
Again, I believe in the Lord's Day, but I am chasing an exegetical argument from Scripture which will help me understand why Christians would discuss the 'timing' of the Lord's Day, and what constitutes proper observance of such a day.

thanks again.

Well, see books such as "Call the Sabbath a Delight" (BoT) by Walt Chantry. The basic argument is that the principle of one holy day in seven hasn't changed, but the particular day on which it is celebrated has changed.

Why has the principle not changed?
It was given to Adam before the Fall so that He would enjoy a period of rest and worship with His God for a seventh of his week. What has changed about God or Man since then or in the Old Covenant or in the New Covenant that that principle should be abrogated or has been abrogated.

Is Man (or redeemed Man) more spiritual in the New Covenant?

Is God entitled to less worship and fellowship with Man?

We are still waiting to enter the eschatalogical Rest, therefore we still have the Seven Day Week and Weekly Sabbath that are typological of that Rest.

Why has the particular Day changed?
The Day has changed from the Last Day of the Week to the First, because on the First Day of the Week Christ, the God-Man entered fully, body and soul, into His Rest.

This was Rest from a greater work of New Creation than the work which God did in making the Old Creation.

It was also Rest from a greater work of Redemption than that carried out by God in taking the Israelites out of Egypt, and which was celebrated every Sabbath Day by them, along with the Sabbath Day being to them the First Day of the completed creation (Deuteronomy 5:14-15; Exodus 20:11)

We have no evidence that Adam or the patriarchs to the extent that they were faithful to this command kept it any differently top how Jesus kept it and how the Jews were meant to keep it apart from the ceremonies. Obviously Jesus spent a lot of time in clearing the Sabbath of Pharasaical additions.

See Richard Gaffin's "Calvin and the Sabbath" (PandR). The Old Covenant/Sinaitic/Mosaic Sabbath wasn't intended by God to be any more rigorous than the Sabbath that Jesus espoused.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
Andrew......Since before you were born.....so what? On Sunday I go to Church & then relax. However every day is dedicated to the glory of God, thats the stronger commitment I have with the Lord. You gotta remember that Christ put man & his needs before sabbath. I also know that He taught that sabbath was something to be enjoyed not something to become legalistic about.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
[Moderator]Cato, while I don't see a confessional subscription in your profile and thus can't call you to be consistent with your confession, nonetheless the board does not permit argumentation against the confessional position on the Sabbath - which is that the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath, and that the fourth commandment binds us as much as anyone in history.[/Moderator]
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I celebrate everyday as the Lords Day.... The sabbath is meant for man, not man for the sabbath......."Praise God from whom all blessings flow"

Andrew......Since before you were born.....so what? On Sunday I go to Church & then relax. However every day is dedicated to the glory of God, thats the stronger commitment I have with the Lord. You gotta remember that Christ put man & his needs before sabbath. I also know that He taught that sabbath was something to be enjoyed not something to become legalistic about.

...um, yeah, but Isaiah 58:13-14.

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].
 

ac7k

Puritan Board Freshman
As someone new to reformed theology... paint me a picture of what Honoring the Sabbath looks like from your perspective. Of course I am not looking for set rules in a legalistic way, but more of what does it look like in your life.

Thanks!
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Eric,

One that looks like what the Westminster Standards teach.

It starts with: To God be the Glory and not myself. He has commanded six days we shall work and one day (the Lord's Day since Christ's resurrection, Sunday) shall be a day for resting from work (except that which is taken up in works of necessity and mercy) and a resting in the Lord. Resting is not only a physical thing, it is spiritual as well. The whole day is to be taken up in private and public exercises of worship. What we do on the Lord's Day should not look like what we do on other days. The Lord's Day should be 2000x more important to us, the Lord's Day should be more important than our own wedding day, we have the wonderful privilege of worshipping with the people of God before His throne. The Lord's Day is not a day to seek out our own pleasures but to encourage our souls in the Lord and worship Him, by resting in Him. Some people misconstrue the rest and think it is a day to sleep. But it is not a day for idleness, it is a day to rest in God.

So the question you have to ask yourself is: How can I best rest in the Lord on this day? How can I best worship the Lord on this day, in private, with my family, and in public?

Basically, don't start out asking "what can't I do?", ask "What can I do to please and glorify God?"
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Eric,

One that looks like what the Westminster Standards teach.

It starts with: To God be the Glory and not myself. He has commanded six days we shall work and one day (the Lord's Day since Christ's resurrection, Sunday) shall be a day for resting from work (except that which is taken up in works of necessity and mercy) and a resting in the Lord. Resting is not only a physical thing, it is spiritual as well. The whole day is to be taken up in private and public exercises of worship. What we do on the Lord's Day should not look like what we do on other days. The Lord's Day should be 2000x more important to us, the Lord's Day should be more important than our own wedding day, we have the wonderful privilege of worshipping with the people of God before His throne. The Lord's Day is not a day to seek out our own pleasures but to encourage our souls in the Lord and worship Him, by resting in Him. Some people misconstrue the rest and think it is a day to sleep. But it is not a day for idleness, it is a day to rest in God.

So the question you have to ask yourself is: How can I best rest in the Lord on this day? How can I best worship the Lord on this day, in private, with my family, and in public?

Basically, don't start out asking "what can't I do?", ask "What can I do to please and glorify God?"

:amen: :agree: Andrew summed this up very nicely. I especially appreciate the last sentence. For me, this is the key to honoring God on the Sabbath.
 
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