Christ Enters Rest
Why Christians Observe the Lord’s Day
By Robert Clanton
This purpose of this article is to explain the chronological and Christological process that gave The Lord’s Day the prominence in Christian worship.
Among the Sabbatarian groups such as the Adventist and the many splinter groups of the former Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong followers, there is a general condemnation of the non-Sabbatarians as being breakers of the 10 commandments. They all will generally acknowledge when forced to that the teachings of most Protestants and all the Catholic groups is that these churches do teach that Christians should keep the other 9 commandments. Their argument is over the Sabbath day. In other documents I have addressed the arguments as to why non-Sabbatarians groups do not keep the Sabbath. But, Adventist what to know where is the reason and scripture for keeping the 1st day of the week. Because they are fundamentalist groups, they expect a “thus saith the Lord” from scripture to observe the 1st day of the week as holy or at least as a reason to attend church and worship on that day. I hope to be able in this document to give them a true picture from both scripture and from history as to why and how the church from the beginning observed the Lord’s Day or Sunday as memorial of both death and resurrection of Christ.
Because the scriptures are not a collection of books designed to be a systematic theology of doctrine and methods of worship, one must work to find the general genre of the intent and meaning behind each gospel and epistle in the New Testament. The collection of books we call scripture do demonstrate the thought processes in heart and soul of the writer inspired by the Holy Spirit, without obligation to be explicit about each and every doctrinal issue. At times, because a doctrinal issue itself is being addressed, the scripture is explicit as is the case of the resurrection of the flesh in 1Corinthians 15. . Beyond these explicit addresses, it because the devout Christian student and theologian to peer deeply into history and scripture to arrive at the more subtle exposed mindset of the authors of scripture to find what their reasons for activity that may be normal, though not explicitly addressed. The observance of the Lord’s Day is definitely one of them. Although, there is plenty of scripture that gives us insight, the proof-textor will never see it because they tend to be impetuous and only casual students of the bible.
Every serious student of the bible acknowledges that the very first Christian disciples during the first ten years of Christianity were all practicing Jews. In other words, Jewish Christians. As such, it is not difficult to understand them attending a Jewish synagogue on a Sabbath day or holy day. But, how did any celebration of Christ’s resurrection begin to occur? And, how did it become a new Sabbath Day from the Saturday Sabbath the Jews had always kept?
No doubt, the resurrection of Christ had huge impact on the minds of the believers, beginning with the Apostles and the Elders and all of the disciples. From that point on, all of the Old Testament was re-read in a Christocentric manner, lead by the mind of the Holy Spirit that had inspired them from the Moses to the last prophet. Thus, we see John’s Gospel being with “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” further in the text John identifies Christ as the Word, eternally begotten of the Father and with the Father from the beginning. The Christocentric manner of interpretation is always the manner throughout the New Testament for understanding the text of the Old Testament.
When we read Genesis 1, we find that the Lord made both the heavens and the earth. Each day beginning with the first day of the week is created and set into motion by the Lord. At the end, the Lord himself looked upon all that he had created and called it very good (Gen.1:31) The Lord himself had made nothing evil, as so many Adventist and Sabbatarians falsely suppose about the first day of the week. The Lord let it be written of the first day of the week as well as the last being “very good”.
The resurrection “upon the first day of the week” , caused the Holy Spirit to enlighten the texts from the Genesis to Malachi, everywhere they saw Christ. The very first place was Genesis 1. As much as John sees Christ in “the beginning” , he also sees Christ as “the Light of the World”, from Genesis 1. The mind of the Holy Spirit saw the separation of Light from the darkness and reinterpreted these scriptures in the Christocentric manner as those of the Light being the followers of Christ separated from the darkness of the minds of the unbeliever. Christ shines Light and is the Light according to John and darkness received him not, but rejected him. John 1., The light shined upon the first day of the week both in Genesis and on the day of Christ’s resurrection, as Paul wrote in Romans and Peter in the Epistle of Peter.
The first day of the week became a day of endless meditative profundity beyond all that could have been possibly expected. The days of creation were similar to the work that Christ did on earth, preaching the gospel to the poor and working miracles of DIVINE proportion, as Peter records in Acts 2. On the sixth day man and woman were created, and sinned not being allowed to enter the DIVINE Rest that God had so ordained for them on the seventh day, when God had rested from all his works. They are excluded from scripture as keeping a single Sabbath Rest in Gen.2, when God rested, though he had blessed the day and He Rested, both Adam and Eve were not so much as hinted at as “entering his Rest”.
In the mind of the Holy Spirit, Paul is moved to look at the Genesis account and find Christ as “the second Adam” , that would enter God’s Rest that Adam and Eve did not and could not enter. However Christ was making open to the first Adam and Eve, the way for them to enter Rest as well. Not just as the weekly rest of the Sabbath but the eternal rest promised in the mind of the writer of Hebrews 3-4. The priestly writer of Hebrews, is clearly writing to a Jewish audience familiar with the rituals of the Holy Days, Sabbaths and sacrifices. Yet, the writer beacons them “not to harden their hearts as in the day when the provoked God, but to once again walk in the faith of the Christian believers, knowing that the Jewishness of the Old Testament was insufficient.
The Holy Spirit opened the mind of the Apostles to lead them into all truth as the scripture says. … The Christian readers meditated over the Old Testament scriptures and saw the resurrection of Christ as the promise rest hinted in the blessing of the seventh day. The commandment in Exodus for the Jews to keep the temporal Sabbath was directly linked to God’s saving of the Israelites from Egypt, while they were in bondage. Though, the act of saving of Israel out of Egypt from physical slavery was a saving of them from the bondage of being captive slaves, it was not the saving act that would bring them true rest and salvation from the bondage of sin. The Holy Spirit though, used this event to bring to mind the saving act of Christ at the Passover. The Passover lamb is Christ, the blood on the door posts is Christ’s saving them from death, the entire Jewish Passover event is reinterpreted with the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment as the shadow of the reality in Christ.
So missing from the Exodus event is any significant symbol or shadow of the profound resurrection of Christ. The lamb is not raised but slain and there it remains. The Jews are left to relive by commandment and the law these events, year after year and remember they were slaves but God had saved them out from bondage from the nation of Egypt.
The Sabbath Commandment and the Rest of the Creator
The Holy Spirit when giving the law of Moses, perpetually sowed together in Exodus and in Duet.5 the Sabbath and the Passover exodus with “Remember” . It was natural then having been commanded by God to ‘remember the Sabbath” and to “Remember they were slaves” that the Holy Spirit would guide the first believers and followers of Christ to reinterpret in the Christocentric manner both “Remember” they days when they were in bondage to sin and remember the promised redemptive Rest associated with the coming of Christ, his death and resurrection. . Christ words, “Come unto me all ye heavy laden with burdens and I will give your rest” rang in the minds of the Apostles.
The Holy Spirit had inspired the rest of God in creation of Genesis 1 to be connected with Duet 5, the remembrance that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. On the Sabbath day rest the children of Israel would contemplate both the creation account ,remembering that it was the very same God that created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, that brought them out of the land of Egypt with a high hand. The saving of the Israelites out of Egypt did not occur on the Sabbath day or in relationship to the Sabbath Day. However God inspired that they should be so connected together that he made the Sabbath as a covenant sign between both He and the Children of Israel (Ex 31:12). Because of this, every generation after this recognized the Jew as the sign of the Sabbath. The Sabbath day became as God had ordained, the very sign between God and the Jews.
During the wandering of the Children of Israel in the wilderness, the Sabbath became as much a hope of a rest from wandering to a hope of rest where Israel would have their own homeland. The Israelites that God had once rested a perpetual rest. The weekly Sabbath became more than just a looking back at creation but a looking forward to a permanent rest in a land that was their own, as much as it was a joyful reminder that God has saved the Jews out of slavery and bondage of Egypt.
All of these things were re-examined in the Paschal death and resurrection of Christ. For the Christians, the Christocentric manner of re-reading and interpreting the Creation and the saving of Israel out of bondage took on a spiritual and grander view of these scriptural accounts. The Passover of the Israelites sacrificial lamb became Christ and the Lamb of God, was to take away the sins of the world. Remembrance of the saving children of Israel from bondage was reinterpreted to become not just the saving of a Jewish nation from slavery but the freeing of all peoples, even the whole world, from the bondage of sin and death and more, even unto eternal life.
For the new Christians the hope of rest, would not be an earthly homeland where to rest, but a heavenly place. The Rest of the creation would become the rest found in Christ, the Creator in the Genesis account who came to suffer, die and be resurrected and entered into his rest, which part we have, if we suffer with him, we shall be raised with him.
We may ask, and what day is it that we are “raised with Christ?” It is the day of his resurrection, the first day of the week. Thus, as the day of rest of creation is connected with the redemption of the Israelites from being slaves under the Egyptian bondage, the 1st day of the week in creation finds itself to be the fulfillment of the spiritual salvation of the people of God from the bondage of sin. This salvation is exceedingly greater than the mere declaration of independence from under an earthly kingdom in a temporary life. This day of redemption, is the eternal salvation of mankind, not for a small select people but for all mankind. How is this so?
The first century Jewish Christian constantly reflected on the temporariness of the Seventh Day rest compared to fullness of rest by available by Christ’s death and resurrection, of not only himself but all Christians who are joined to him by baptism.
The Lord's Day Observance Foretold In Scripture.
At the Christian baptism we are buried with Christ and raised with him, (Rom.6:3-4) entering the rest of Christ, as Christ did enter Rest. Paul refers to it as “walking in the newness of life” (vs 4). Like the Creation account of God resting from all his works with he had done, Christ on Sunday, the first day of the week entered into HIS Rest, was an unmistakable parallel. Where does the scripture declare that Christ entered His Rest at the resurrection? The disciples of Christ who were “called out ones” from among the world worshiped together apart from the Synagogue worship and the Holy Spirit lead them to understand the meaning of verses such as Ps. 132 7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. 8ARISE, O LORD, INTO THY REST; thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy." Unmistakably, this verse speaks of “The Lord, himself entering into His (the LORD’S) REST at the day of his resurrection. Not only does this scripture speak of the Lord, Himself entering into His Rest, but it first announces by what means he enters when it speaks, “arise” . The notion to “arise” is never associated in human terms with entering rest, it is always, laying down or sitting but not arising. Who can ignore the profound exclamation of such words, “arise” and enter into THY Rest. The saints are to shout for joy (vs 9).
It is the Lord which arises and the Lord, which enters into “His Rest”. Such characteristic writing of rest immediately reminds us of the Seventh Day rest of the creation event in Genesis 1. Yet, it is a second Rest, a new rest that the Lord Himself, being both fully God and fully man that enters His Rest, even as God did rest on the Seventh day in creation.
In knowing the Lord, entered into His Rest at the resurrection, it is also reflected that there must be a new creation attached to the new rest, which is the Lord’s. And this is reflected throughout the genre of the New Testament passages. 2Cor.5: 17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. Moreover, Christ becomes the first fruit of the new creation, in 1Cor.15 after giving up his life for us “in the fullness of time (Gal.4:4). 2 Cor. 4:6. For the particle connects with the preceding verse and forms the basis for it. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness. Genesis 1:3. Hath shined in our hearts. This contemplates the new creation. The new creation genre is plentiful throughout the New Testament scriptures.
The First Man Adam and Second Adam
The Apostle Paul further utilizes the “new creation” genre, in the Epistle to the Church at Rome. Paul makes a distinct comparison between the “first Adam” of the old creation in Genesis with Christ, the “second Adam”. Rom. 5:14-21. Not only is the first and second Adam comparison used by the Apostle Paul but also the contrast of the two periods. Paul speaks of the darkness of sin and death, condemnation and judgment by the first Adam under the first Creation and the “Grace, free gift of righteousness and justification of life, even the righteousness” which abounds unto those in by the second Adam.
Christ Himself Enters “HIS REST” Upon the First Day of the Week.
Returning to Ps. 132 7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. 8ARISE, O LORD, INTO THY REST; thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy." The saints are those who are the called out ones and disciples of Christ, who enter his tabernacles of praise and worship. The day of the Lord’s rest was the day of his resurrection and ascending to the Father. It is our day as well, when we through baptism are were buried with him in and are raised with him in the resurrection of Christ. It is there, at the rising of the “Sun of Righteousness arose with healing is his wings” (Mal.4:2) that we “enter his tabernacle” and “shout with joy” and the priests are cloth with righteousness.
The Psalmist writes of a day that Christ is resurrected as the Lord's day that shall be established of celebration to be glad in it and rejoicing in it. “Because it is The Lord's doing and shall be marvelous in our eyes,” says the scriptures! I it is where the gates righteousness will be open and all will go in and praise. Christ, Himself, as man, enters “His Rest” on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week. This powerful example foretells the true rest of man, because Christ as both man and God entered his rest “upon the first day of the week” , by his arising and entering Rest.
This often quoted scripture by the Apostles, is another foretelling of the The Lord’s Day worship in scripture. Psalm 118: 19Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: 20This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. 21I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 22The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 24This is the day, which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” The day the Lord became the head stone of the corner is on the day of his resurrection, when he was “declared to be the Son of God with Power” as Paul writes.
Thus, the “this day” the day of Christ resurrection is properly called, “the Lord’s Day” . It is “the day the Lord has made” The stone which the builders refused is Christ. The culmination of the refusing is the death by crucifixion of Christ by the Jews. But Christ is declared to be the chief cornerstone on the day of his Resurrection, a day which the Lord by the scripture commands us to “rejoice and be glad in it.” Because it is a marvelous work “in our eyes”. Christ is exalted above all creation. On the day which this great labor of the second creation is completed, and the Lord himself, entered into his rest, is commanded to be a day of rejoicing by the brethren of the church. The church rightly called the day of Christ’s resurrection “the Lord’s day” because it is the day, which the Lord himself has made to declare himself as Lord of all things. In Romans 1 Paul speaks of the gospel, “3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” When Christians worship and rejoice and marvel at the resurrection of Christ “upon the first day of the week as God did rest and marvel at his own creation in Genesis. So, Christ when he had completed his salvation works was resurrected in the flesh “and sat down at the right hand of the Father”. That is the day “the Lord himself” has made for us, we openly declare and witness the resurrection of Christ. Again, another often quoted scripture states in Ps.2: The scripture says, 7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” The Lord’s day was declared to be a day of worship by God and it to be a day of rejoicing and worship in which we believers declare Christ is the Lord.
When the Lord himself, has made this day, a day of rejoicing and commands us both to "rejoice and be glad in it" . Not only is "this day" a day of rejoicing but it is also, the Lord's Rest! Ps.132 says, " 7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. 8Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy."
Mt.9: 15And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they mourn.” When the Sabbath came at our Lord’s crucifixion, the disciples mourned. Upon the first day of the week, The Sun of Righteousness arose with healing in his wings (Mal.4:2-3 ) and the saints shouted for joy.
A new exodus is proclaimed not from an earthly kingdom, as the Children of Israel from the slavery of the nation of Egypt, but from the darkness of the kingdom of sin and darkness. The Passover lamb, has accomplished the new exodus far more exceedingly greater than the Israelite from physical slavery but all mankind from the slavery of sin, darkness and death.
1Peter 1: 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Therefore, it was looked upon as the new day when Christ finished his redemptive work on earth and Christ as God, rested in the heavens. The logic is that we should rest even as he rested from all his works which he had done. The Lord’s saving work being completed, just as his creation work was completed in the seventh day rest, “ entered into “his Rest” on the Day of the he was Resurrected and ascended to the Father. We who rest in Christ, enter “his Rest” when we are united with him in his REST on the Resurrection. The shadow of the Sabbath is fulfilled in the Rest of Christ. The true rest was that which came to us when Christ entered into “his rest”.
It now becomes so clear why in the Genesis account of the creation, conspicuously missing is the absence of Adam and Eve resting with God on the Seventh day. The Holy Spirit had no intention on portraying Adam and Eve as enter God’s rest with God. The rest which God did at creation looks forward to the Rest which is offered and entered by Christians who believe in and follow after Christ. The scripture declares that Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world”. God foreknowing the fall of man also foreknew the salvation of man through Christ. Adam and Eve could not have rested with God and kept a Sabbath Rest, otherwise, there would have been no need for a promise Rest in the future. The Seventh Day rest in the creation account was not the Rest that man would find fulfillment in by resting from his works after 6 days.. Therefore, the Holy Spirit and the Lord did not speak of Adam and Eve Resting as God did from his creation. In Christ, however, we see the fulfillment of man’s rest as Christ being both fully God and yet fully man enters his rest “upon the first day of the week”. Thus, the clear avoidance by scripture under inspiration of the Holy Spirit deliberately intended the absence of Adam and Eve resting with God in the Genesis creation account. The Holy Spirit knowing that the true rest was to be fulfilled in Christ after the redemption of man from the sin of the first Adam through the second man and God, Christ.
Christ is said to have been “slain from the foundation of the world”. The Lord knew that man’s fall would come through Adam, but man’s rest would come through Christ in the new creation. The rest on the seventh day, then becomes the shadow of the rest that is to be found and fulfilled when one believes and follows Christ. This is exemplified in the words of Christ in Matt. 11: 28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
The First Day of the Week Becomes “The Day of Our Salvation” The Apostle Paul writes in 1Corinthians 15: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Furthermore, he then writes: 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Again, Paul makes an unmistakable comparison between the first and second creation, between the first “Adam” and the second Adam, Christ.
If it were not for the resurrection upon the first day of the week, we would still be “yet in our sins”. Death would still reign over us and we would have no life. Thus, the first day of the week becomes a memorial of our salvation won through Christ Jesus. It becomes for the Christian “The Day of Our Salvation”.
As the seventh day of the week became the day of remembering the earthly redemption of the Israelites out of physical slavery from Egypt, so the first day of the week becomes for the true Christians the day of our eternal salvation from sin and death. Enormously surpassing the mere redemption from an earthly slavery and promise of an earthly promise land, the true Christian recognizes the day of his eternal redemption and heavenly home to be that which Christ wrought for him “upon the first day of the week” at Christ’s Resurrection.
Rom.6:4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Col.2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Rom.6: 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
The Day of Our Justification
Not only is the First Day of the Week our day of salvation, it is only so because it is first the day of our Justification. Once more, we see the Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit regarding this matter. In Rom. 4: 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Lastly, the first day of the week is when Christians, who were buried with Christ in baptism became dead to the law but now are married to the Christ. It is the wedding day of the church. Rom. 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
The Lord connected the creation rest in Genesis 1-2 with the Israel exodus from Egypt redemption of physical slavery. Yet, they were still enslaved to sin and death. But in this place, the Lord’s rest is connected to a far greater work than redeeming from physical slavery! When the Lord rested from his works in the second creation, the redemption work of all mankind is completed. As much as the Sabbath day in the Old Testament is linked with the freedom of the children of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, so the First Day of the week, the Lord’s Day is perpetually linked to the salvation and freedom of God’s people from sin and damnation to the freedom of light in Christ Jesus.
The Sabbatarians are quick to show the connection of the blessing of the Seventh Day at the creation event and make it binding upon all the Gentile nations. They often ignore the fact that scripture does not say a single person kept a Sabbath day in Genesis. However, that is not the point I wish to expound on in this section. The Sabbatarians look back at the Genesis creation account every Sabbath day and remember God as the Creator and remember that God rested from his works. Their focus and study and worship all revolves around this event because they have staked their whole elite-ness over the rest of Christianity by loudly proclaiming the Sabbath is and thus emphasizing how important they are . In any conversation regarding the Sabbath and Lord’s day controversy, the Sabbatarians will imply that God rested on the seventh day and therefore all mankind must as a commandment from God, rest on the seventh day. They directly link their salvation to the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath and link the condemnation of the rest of the world and Christianity to the observance of the first day of the week, commonly known as “the Lord’s Day”.
Jeremiah the fourth chapter tells us how the first creation was plunged back into darkness and being void and without form again after the sin of Adam and Eve. Jer.4: 22 For my people [the Jews to whom he gave the Sabbath as a commandment] is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.”
When the first Jewish Christians re-read Genesis in light of the resurrection of Christ that day, they read Genesis one and the “first day of the week” which God created light and separated the light from the darkness, to a day of light as much as the seventh day to be a day of rest. They saw themselves as “children of light” separated from those “still in darkness”.(Eph.5:8, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light and 1Thes.5: 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” .
However, the Holy Spirit so linked so as to perpetually bind together the first creation and the Sabbath by the Law of Moses itself commanding to “remember” the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy because God in the first creation had rested on the seventh day and blessed it.” God by the Holy Spirit entwined and knotted the Sabbath Day as the “sign” for the Old Covenant and the sign between God and “the children of Israel” after the flesh. The keeping of Sabbath day had become the single sign between the Jew and God. Not as though they were “spiritual Jews” but Jews after the flesh. Today, the spiritual Jews are those who have believed in Christ and follow him. However, the farthest thing from the minds of the apostles is that spiritual Jews, must live after the manner of the literal Jews in the flesh.
Both the scriptures and the historical writings of the early church show that the first Jewish and Gentile Christians mediated on the scriptures and had been taught to believe by the Apostles themselves, to look upon the Kingdom of God as a new creation. As the first creation rest was linked to and perpetually bound to the Old Covenant, so the early Christians saw that the Sabbath pictured the true rest that was found in Christ. And that the only means of entering that Rest was by believing on him. By participating and celebrating with shouts of joy, as was noted in the Psalm, the Christians understood that this was the day, the Lord himself had made being both man and God and entered into His Rest by his Rising. So much as the link of the rest on the seventh day was linked to the saving of the Children of Israel from the bondage of physical slavery in Egypt in the Old Covenant, now the “Rest” which Christ entered into by his “arising” would be linked to the New Covenant and perpetually bound together.
Christ, the Light of the World
From both Genesis and the gospel of John, we see the new creation event genre introduced by both the mind of the Holy Spirit as it moved John to write. The Holy Spirit saw Christ as God and with God in creation on the first day of the week. Not a though being two (2) gods, as the Armstrong’s and others who deny the Trinity would have it, but being one (1) God with 3 persons. The Apostle John spiritualized the Creation account and portrays the world in a spiritual darkness as did Jeremiah. The resurrection of Christ from the dead, send forth Light into the dark world, as Christ is declared to be the Son of man and the way unto salvation, only previously foreshadowed, but now openly declared.
Christ, as both God and man enters His Rest upon the first day of the week. The conspicuous and glaring leaving out of Adam and Eve resting on the seventh day in Genesis was inspired by the Holy Spirit! Had God commanded them to Rest as God did, truly they would have entered “God’s Rest” what then scripture could not profess, “they did not enter rest”. And indeed, ss the priestly writer of Hebrews proclaims, “If Jesus had then given them rest, He would not haves spoken of “another day”, the “today” of entering the Lord’s Rest, the day when God as both man and God did save mankind by his resurrection and ‘enter his rest”, which true rest, is offered to us who believe in him and witness to his resurrection. The Hebrews did rest on the Sabbath day, but were not able to “enter His Rest’ lest they believe on Christ, who had made the way into the promised rest. Heb. 4: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
In Hebrews 4, the author makes again an analogy by the comparison of the rest which Israel in the wilderness had to enter the earthly promised land. The author spiritualizes the event as a warning to those who once believed in Christ not to forsake, the true spiritual rest in Christ by returning to the older manner of Jewish worship in the temple and thereby refusing to enter the rest with Christ.
The author proclaims that the rest in a earthly land was not the intent of the promise of God, but of heavenly rest through Christ. The fact that 500 years after the incident (in Ps.95 God is still promising them rest and warning Jews not to provoke God again) where God swore in his wrath that he would not let that generation enter into rest But, God spoke of a “certain day”, the day called, “to day”, where the voice of God is calling them to enter into His Rest. Once again, the author Hebrews spiritualizes the lesson from Old Testament Israel to make a lesson from Christ. The “To day” is the day God offers the redemption from sin and bondage of damnation to the Grace and eternal salvation found in Christ.
For God did rest, he rested from all his creation works. But, the world was plunged into darkness and sin by sin of Adam and Eve, and they did not enter “HIS REST, until they could be redeemed by the Son of Man’s sacrifice, death and resurrection. It was only in the Son of God’s redemptive act that saved the dead from their sins. The Sabbath then became a promise of another future Rest and not the reality. The Sabbath Rest because symbol of a Rest that future rest would be entered through entering “God’s Rest” when all believers enter Rest, through being resurrected with Christ on the day of Christ entering “HIS REST” . All of this is exemplified by Christ as being both man and God in the flesh entering “His Rest” through the resurrection, “upon the first day of the week”. As it was in the first creation, when God had finished all his works which he had done on the earth, He rested and blessed the day of his rest. So, when Christ had finished all his works which he had done on the earth, He entered his Rest. The Lord’s Day becomes the Rest of the New Covenant.
As the seventh day in the creation event became a weekly reminder of the works which God did and rested, so the first day of the week became a weekly reminder of the works which God did as well. The work of God was the saving grace through Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection.
In Christ, Paul writes, " 2Cor.5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.". And Isa.65, Isaiah preaches to us that when the new creation comes the old should not be remembered or called to mind anymore as he says, Isaiah 65: "17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. This is spiritual Jerusalem, the Church. Earthly Jerusalem and the Israel after the flesh became the Harlot that rejected the Lord and crucified him in the city spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. Rev.11:8
And Isa.65, Isaiah warns us that when the new creation comes the old should not be remembered or called to mind anymore as he says, Isaiah 65: "17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Therefore, the new day when Christ finished his redemptive work on earth and rested in the heavens is in effect a “new creation” and a new day.
How strange it is, that some will keep the Sabbath which is a reminder of the first creation now in darkness, void and without form and the day of the redemption of physical Israel from slavery (Deut.5:15) but will refuse to worship on the Lord's day which is the celebration of their redemption of all mankind from darkness, sin and death and the new creation of us in Christ. Every Christian must be a witness to Christ's resurrection, he does so by declaring the stone which the builders rejected, the chief corner stone. The Sabbath day of the Old creation connected Israel with the declaration of the Creator of the Old Creation, by observing the day of the resurrection of Christ, Christians are declaring Christ as the Creator new creation in Christ, to whom every knee must bow and every tongue confess, Phil.2:10-11.
The day of Christ's resurrection became a memorial observed weekly as disciples of Christ would gather to celebrate Christ's resurrection. Because, it was the day that Jesus Christ was declared to be "Lord" and the Son of God. Rom.1: 1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: The resurrection of Christ is first and primary, the golden center and core of the gospel, of which all other facets of the gospel are built around and founded on it. The Lord’s Day became the center of the announcement as Jesus Christ is Lord! By celebration of the Lord’s Day, Christians became both witnesses of the resurrected Christ as Lord and preachers of such.
“Do This in Remembrance of Me” Practiced Every “Lord’s Day”.
The commandment by Jesus Christ to the Apostles at the last supper to “do this in remembrance of me”, was passed on in the form of a commandment by the Apostles to the churches to observe the weekly memorial of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week, in conjunction with the resurrection. The early Church Fathers all recognize the practice as instituted by the Apostles to observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. The practice often referred to as “the Oblation”, or the Eucharist (thanksgiving) is celebrated in every part of the Christian world upon the first day of the week. While not being exclusive to the first day of the week, it appears as the most sacred day of the week and time when the Christian community worshiped together and fulfilled the commandment by Christ to “do this in remembrance of me”. The origin of the commandment to keep the memorial is explicitly said to be from the Apostles.
The Lord’s day did not take on the restrictiveness of the Sabbath Commandment, though it took on the sacredness of the Sabbath. For obvious reasons it could not. The Sabbath was given to a whole nation, that of “the Children of Israel” as one nation, under a single theocracy. The Lord’s Day was given to all peoples, fulfilling the scripture of Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (the nations) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Many of the new believers were slaves and bond to their masters in the flesh. The Holy Spirit had no intention on bring hardship upon them over the Lord’s Day because our Lord had already spoken, “the Sabbath was made for man and NOT man for the Sabbath” The day of worship was not to be a day that caused men affliction because it was intended to be a day of rest, not affliction. Christians were encouraged to find it as a day of worship and rest but also a day of peace. Though some were not able to refrain from work, the sacredness of the Lord’s day remained.
The Christocentric interpretation of the Old Testament scriptures found the church understanding the resurrection day as a new creation, a new kingdom that the saints were to enter and the new way of living. The former creation had been thrown into darkness while Christ had initiated a new creation by entering into his rest. That rest came later to be known as “the eighth day” and the first day both. The first day of the week became the day of light and a day of the new creation in Christ Jesus. The church looked upon the 8th day of circumcision of the flesh in Israel, and found a parallel to the 8th day of circumcision in Christ in our baptism with him, as noted in Col.2:11. Once again, the profundity of the significance of Christ’s resurrection becomes the center of all religious worship both in day and in the re-reading of the Old Testament scriptures.
Following and continuing the teachings and Christocentric interpretation of the scriptures by the Apostles, those after them continued the Apostolic tradition. Thus, we find in the earliest of writings by the church fathers the continuing meditation and further development of the Lord’s day as significant. It is not as the Sabbatarians have falsely supposed as some trick to find believers by transforming paganism into Christianity. I have already shown explicitly from Genesis 1, that God had both created the first day of the week and found it, along with all his creation to be “very good”. The claim of pagan origins by the Adventist and Sabbatarians is sorely mistaken. The practice of Christians to observe the Lord’s Day was a proclamation of Christ, the Messiah as Lord and God in human flesh sent to save man. He was God in the flesh. It had everything to do with the consequence of Christ’s resurrection and the preponderance of its event in light of the teachings of the Apostles.
Christ ,as both God and Man entered His Rest “upon the first day of the week” as a full revelation of God’s eternal redemptive act, through which we must enter and unite ourselves with Christ, entering “His Rest” with Him. The church fathers from the earliest times all followed this same theme as demonstrated below.
The biblical outline and related text that given is not “speculation” as some claim. The truth of the matter is that it is purely the facts of how the Holy Spirit worked in and through the church during the Apostolic times and down through the following centuries. The evidence I give from the early church fathers, the bishops and the martyrs are clear confirmations of the Holy Spirit working throughout the church from Africa to England. The one united church kept the first day of the week in recognition of the Lord’s resurrection. And not only so, the observed the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion on that day recognizing it as the fulfillment of the commandment of Jesus Christ himself to “do this in remembrance of me”. It was only fitting that the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ should be remembered every Sunday. And thus, it was as all history attest to the same witness from one end of the earth to the other.
The Church Fathers.
- Epistle of Barnabas 15:8-9 (c. 130 A.D.)
"Finally, He says to them: 'I cannot bear your new moons and sabbaths. (Isa.1)' You see what He means: it is not the present sabbaths that are acceptable to Me, but the one that I have made; on that Sabbath, after I have set everything at rest, I will create the beginning of an eighth day, which is the beginning of another world. This is why we spend the eighth day in celebration, the day on which Jesus both arose from the dead and, after appearing again, ascended into heaven."
- The First Apology of Justin, Chapter 67
"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 ... 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 Savior on the same day rose from the dead." (17) 100-165AD
- 3. “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--whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith, and therefore endure, that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master." Ignatius, To the Magnesians, 9:1 (A.D. 110).
Clement of Alexandria
- 4. "The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest--abstraction from ills--preparing for the Primal Day,[The Lord's Day] our true rest; which, in truth, is the first creation of light, in which all things are viewed and possessed. From this day the first wisdom and knowledge illuminate us. For the light of truth--a light true, casting no shadow, is the Spirit of God indivisibly divided to all, who are sanctified by faith, holding the place of a luminary, in order to the knowledge of real existences. By following Him, therefore, through our whole life, we become impossible; and this is to rest." Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 6:16 (A.D. 202).
The Teaching of the Apostles
- 5. "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 lace 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." Teaching of the Apostles, 2 (A.D. 225).
- 6. "Hence it is not possible that the rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh of our God; on the contrary, it is our Saviour who, after the pattern of His own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of His death, and hence also of His resurrection." Origen, Commentary on John, 2:27 (A.D. 229).
- "The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord’s day was the beginning of the second (creation), in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord’s day as being the memorial of the new creation" (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).
- 8. "The churches throughout the rest of the world observe the practice that has prevailed from apostolic tradition until the present time, so that it would not be proper to terminate our fast on any other but the day of the resurrection of our Savior. Hence there were synods and convocations of the bishops on this question; and all unanimously drew up the ecclesiastical decree, which they communicated to all the churches in all places, that the mystery of our Lords resurrection should be celebrated on no other day than the Lords day." (15) Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, Chapter 23 (c. 315 A.D.)
- 9. "Then as one whom they must respect, there will be the presbyter among them and this will contribute to the security of the estate. There will be constant prayers there through thee hymns and Communions through thee; the Oblation on each Lord's Day." John Chrysostom, Acts of the Apostles, Homily 18 (A.D. 388).
Council of Laodicea
- 10. "Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ." Council of Laodicea, Canon 29 (A.D. 360).
- 11. "He [Constantine] also enjoined the observance of the day termed the Lord's day, which the Jews call the first day of the week, and which the pagans dedicate to the sun, as likewise the day before the seventh, and commanded that no judicial or other business should be transacted on those days, but that God should be served with prayers and supplications. He honored the Lord's day, because on it Christ arose from the dead, and the day above mentioned, because on it he was crucified." Sozomon, Ecclesiastical History, 1:8 (A.D. 443).