Thu, 09/26/2019 - 6:00am



How Did the Idea of the Observance of the Sabbath Come to America?

The rigid and scrupulous observance of the Sabbath as a divinely ordained day of rest arose out of the Scottish and English Reformation and was transferred to the New World by the Puritans. In both England and the American colonies, Sabbatarianism was intended to glorify God and enhance the covenant blessings which he promised to his people. The origin of Anglo-American Sabbatarianism can be traced to the publication of Nicolas Bound's True Doctrine of the Sabbath (1595), which advocated a strict Sunday Sabbatarianism.

Many Puritans embraced its ideas and sought to impose them on England and, eventually, on colonial American society. In England, the Puritan Sabbath was enforced by successive acts of legislation (1644, 1645, 1655) which prohibited any kind of work or recreation on Sunday. After the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy (1660), restrictions on recreation were relaxed when Parliament passed the Act for the Better Observance of the Lord's Day (1677).

Following the evangelical revival of the eighteenth century, however, Sabbatarianism regained its vigor in the Lord's Day Observance Act (1781), which prohibited any entertainment or debate involving an exchange of money. In the colonies, the first generation of Puritans enacted legislation against the desecration of the Sunday Sabbath and imposed severe penalties for violations. Contemporary Sunday restrictions and so-called blue laws in various states reflect its long-term impact upon American society.46

Which Day Should Be Set Aside to Worship God?

Some will say that the 7th day weekly Sabbath is the day that is to be set aside to worship God, where no work is allowed. According to the Jewish way of reckoning days, each day would begin and end at sunset (6:00pm to 6:00pm). Others would say that it is the first day of the week, the day following the Sabbath, the Lord’s day, the day of Christ’s resurrection, which if we mixed in the Roman description (name) of days while keeping in mind the Jewish reckoning, would begin on Saturday at 6:00pm (sunset) and end on Sunday at 6:00pm (sunset).

Keep in mind that according to the Roman way of designating time, each day began and ended at midnight (12:00am). As noted earlier in this study, Saturday was initially considered the first day of the week and Sunday the second day of the week. But in the early 16th century, there was an effort to make changes to the day of worship. The first day of the week was changed to Sunday and Saturday became the 7th day of the week.

So, which day should the Christian observe? I have provided for you a lot of information on this subject. You should be able to determine this for yourself.

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

If you choose the Jewish Sabbath from Friday at 6:00pm to Saturday at 6:00pm, my only comment would be that under this mandate I would assume that you are under obligation to obey all aspects of the Mosaic Law as deemed possible such as tithing, circumcision, observing the four yearly feasts (festivals), dietary restrictions, etc. If you say that the Lord’s day, the day of his resurrection is the day for worship then the gathering of the saints would take place on Saturday evening after 6:00pm. However, if you agreed with the change of the day of worship, which was promoted in England in the 16th century, then your day of worship would be Sunday, either in the morning, evening or both.

The last thing I would like you to consider is this. Doctrinal teaching varies from church to church. Some of its teachings are based on traditions while others are based on certain verses, which are used to support a particular Biblical topic. Maybe in this regard you are beginning to understand why there are so many differences in church teachings.

You might respond by saying, how do I know what to believe?

The best way I can answer this is by leaving you with these questions.

~ Have you repented (acknowledge your sins) to God the Father and believed in his Son Jesus Christ as to who He is and what He has accomplished for salvation?

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

~ If you have, are the spiritual qualities (e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.) of the Holy Spirit infiltrating your soul?

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

~ Are you learning by the teachings of the church you are attending about the new person you have become at salvation?

2 Corinthians 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.

~ Are you learning by the teachings of the church how to address the weaknesses and strengths of your sin nature?

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

If your answer to all of these questions is yes, yes, yes, and yes, then this means that you are operating in and relying on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will guide and teach you all things. If
your answer is no, no, no, and no, then either you have not received the indwelling Spirit or if you have you are not being taught how to be filled or walk in the Spirit. The latter condition would require a relocation to a different assembly of believers, where teachings on such are evidenced.

I have enjoyed presenting this study as I hope you have enjoyed reading about it. If you are still unsure as to which day is the day of worship, then continue this study on your own. GOD BLESS!

46Daniel G. Reid and Robert D. Linder and Bruce L. Shelley and Harry S. Stout and David H. Stern, Dictionary of Christianity in America (InterVarsity Press, 1990).

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