Who Changed the Bible Sabbath?

One thing is for certain-God did not change the Sabbath. The prophet Malachi quotes God’s words this way, “For I am the Lord, I do not change”.

Malachi 3.6

Have you ever wondered that things aren’t always what they appear to be? Merely because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Just because everyone else believes it, doesn’t mean it’s so. Consider the story of the spider. Aristotle classified the spider as an insect. Insects, it was known, have six legs. So, for centuries no one questioned the great Aristotle and it was just commonly assumed that spiders were insects and therefore had six legs. It was Jean Baptiste Lamarck who presented the classification of the spider as an arachnid having eight legs. Merely because something is believed for centuries doesn’t make it true. Could it be a tradition like one of these long-held ideas has slipped into the Christian church? Is it possible that millions have accepted falsehood in the place of Bible truth and very few question it? Do you think that it’s possible that most churches have set aside a commandment of God to follow human tradition instead? Could it be that this tradition has been around so long that it is accepted as truth when it is solely of human origin? This is all part of Satan’s plan to deceive God’s people in the last days.

The value of a counterfeit is that it looks as much like the genuine as possible but that however would not mean that it would be the genuine one. Satan’s strategy is to counterfeit divine truth and especially attack God’s commandments. God’s law represents God’s authority. If Satan can do away with God’s law, he can do away with God’s authority. God’s law is the foundation of His government. God’s law defines what’s right and what’s wrong. And if Satan could deceive God’s people over the subject of the law, he can undermine the entire foundation of God’s throne. He can undermine God’s power, God’s credibility, and God’s authority. But right in the heart of God’s law is the Sabbath. Now, isn’t it logical that Satan the great deceiver would attack the Creator by challenging the symbol of creation, the Sabbath? Have you begun to wonder how the Bible Sabbath was changed from the Seventh-day (Saturday) to the first day (Sunday)?  One thing is for certain-God did not change the Sabbath. The prophet Malachi quotes God’s words this way, “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

God established the Sabbath in the days of Adam and Eve, ‘our-all of us’ first parents, 2300 years before the existence of the Jewish race. God instituted the Sabbath as a sign between Himself and His people Ezekiel 22:12, 20. You might ask who God’s people are, those who do His commandments. Rev 14:12. In fact, sincere Christians ask, “Who changed the Sabbath?” They see from the Bible that God didn’t change it and they discover Jesus didn’t change it either for, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

One aspect of blasphemy is claiming to have the authority to change the very law written with God’s own finger. Here’s why. If an earthy power has the authority to change God’s law it must be greater than the one who gave the law in the first place. If God’s law is the foundation of His government and attempt to change the law is an attack on the lawgiver. Any attempt to change God’s law exalts the one making the change above God and that is blasphemy.

From Daniel chapter 7, it is clear that the 4th beast represents the Roman Empire which came after the Grecian Empire ruled by Alexander the Great and his 4 generals named Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Seleucus, had collapsed, which takes us to the time of Christ. It was a Roman decree that brought Joseph to the town of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. It was Pontius Pilate, a Roman, who tried Jesus. It was a Roman soldier who nailed Jesus to the cross. Rome ruled the world in the days of Jesus. Christianity grew up in the Roman Empire. The prophecy of Daniel 7 clearly reveals the conflict over worship and precisely how the Sabbath was changed as God reveals how apostasy would enter the church at a time the Roman Empire was being overrun by barbarian tribes from the North who divided the Kingdom into little kingdoms.

The eyes of the little horn of the fourth beast represent not divine wisdom but human wisdom. It is a human, religious system based on man’s teachings which would rise out of Rome. Notice the Bible says in Daniel 7.24-It is diverse or different than all the rest. This is the fourth cue to understanding this little horn. “He shall be different from the first ones” (Daniel 7:24). All the other powers before it, Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece and Rome were political powers. This one is different. It is not primarily a political power; it is a religious power- A religio-political power. Verse 25 says, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws”. This power would attempt to change the very law of God. Now notice, the Bible doesn’t say it could change those laws; it would only ‘THINK’ to change them. It would make it appear it had changed them. No earthly power, however mighty it claims to be could ever change God’s law. This power would think it had the authority to change God’s law.

Dr. John Eadie helps us to understand the roots of this change in his Bible encyclopedia. He says: “Sabbath…A Hebrew word signifying rest…Sunday was a name given by heathens to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they worshipped the sun” Bible encyclopedia page 561, John Eadie, D.D., LL.D. Sun worship was common in Egypt, Babylon, Persia and Rome. In the 4th century, the Roman emperor Constantine was also influenced by sun worship. Constantine desired to unite his empire. He passed a decree to provide a common day of rest and recreation throughout the empire. His clear intent was to promote unity among the pagans and Christians throughout his realm. Here is the emperor’s decree from AD 321. It commands, “On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all the shops be closed.”-Constantine AD 321.

He calls Sunday the venerable day of the Sun. He declares all workshops be closed. In an effort to unite the empire he issued the first ever Sunday law. In the days of Constantine, church and state united in an attempt to Christianize the pagans and unite the empire. The Roman government and the Roman church united for this particular cause. Constantine wanted to unite his empire and Roman church leaders wanted to convert the pagans. Sunday became the vehicle to accomplish both; so the Biblical Sabbath was changed by the Roma Church and state. There was also another issue at stake. The Roman church wanted to distance itself from Judaism. There was an anti-Jewish sentiment in the Roman Empire. God didn’t change the Sabbath. Jesus didn’t change the Sabbath. The disciples didn’t change it.

The Roman Church Council of Laodicea records the first prohibition of keeping the Bible Sabbath. The Roman Catholic bishops met at Laodicea and decreed, “Christians shall not Judaize,” (that is, they shall not keep the Sabbath) “and be idle on Saturday.” (Council of Laodicea AD 325). Here the Church Council is saying, “We’re forbidding Christians to rest on Sabbath. They shall work on that day.”

There are numerous statements from Roman Catholic sources which acknowledge that the Church changed the Sabbath. The Converts catechism of Catholic Doctrines asks: Qn. What is the third commandment? Ans. The third commandment is: Remember that thou keep Holy the Sabbath day. Qn. Which is the Sabbath day? Ans. Saturday is the Sabbath day. Qn. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Ans.  Because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday, (Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrines by Rev. Peter Gierman, Page 50.)

You may wonder why these statements from the Catholic Catechism refer to the Sabbath commandment as the third commandment rather than the fourth as highlighted in the Bible. This is simply because the Roman church dropped the second commandment, on graven images and divided the tenth commandment, “Thou shat not covet,” into two commands; “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife” and “thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods” to still have Ten Commandments. The law of God was changed by the Roman Catholic Church in the fourth and fifth centuries. This is no secret. The church openly admits it.

The Catholic Mirror of September 23, 1893 states, “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”

The Catholic Encycopedia, volume 4, page 153 adds, “The church after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath of the Seventh-day of the week to the first made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept Holy as the Lord’s Day.”

Here the Church openly acknowledges changing the Sabbath. The Sabbath of course was never an exclusively Jewish institution. It was always “the Sabbath of the Lord.” St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Algonquin, Michigan published a remarkable statement in its May 21, 1995 newsletter. “Perhaps, the boldest thing, the most revolutionary thing the church ever did happened in the first century. The Holy day the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday….Not from any command noted in scripture but from the church’s sense of its own power.”

Karl Keating, one of the foremost Catholic lay scholars in the United States today, wrote a book as a challenge to Protestants. He explains the change of the Sabbath this way, “…Fundamentalists meet for worship on Sunday, yet there is no evidence in the Bible that corporate worship was to be made on Sundays. The Jewish Sabbath, or day of rest, was of course, Saturday. It was the Catholic Church that decided Sunday should be the day of worship for Christians, in honor of the resurrection.” (Catholicism and Fundamentalism, page 38, 1988). This Catholic author is reasoning with Protestants. He says, if you want to follow the Bible you should keep the Sabbath. He then argues that the Bible alone is not a sufficient guide without church authority and interpretation. The Pastor of St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Michigan reasoned the same way and then made this remarkable statement, “People who think that the scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh-Day Adventists and keep Saturday Holy” (St. Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, May 21, 1995).

The central issue regarding the change of the Sabbath is: does the Church have the authority to change God’s law, of which the answer to that is, No! In actual fact, if you accept Sunday or any other day which is not Saturday as a day of rest and worship, you are accepting a day based on the authority of the church and not on what God commanded.

Here is another quote from Cardinal James Gibbons again a foremost Catholic scholar in America in the 19th century in the book Faith of our Fathers. “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday,” Faith of our Fathers, page 56, Cardinal James Gibbons.

Now this subject is very complex but I hope I have been able to relay some of the most important information that might help you in your quest for the truth. It starts with biblical prophecy to modern day history to understand this so confusing subject to many people. The issues are much more than a matter of days. The issue is what is our guide? Is it the Bible or is it tradition? The issue is-does any human church or human religious leader, for whatever reason or motive, have the authority to change God’s Law that was written with His finger in those tablets of stone. Has God given any church, any human being, the authority to change His law? Has He done that? Not at all! And so the issue is one of authority. God says, “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalms 89:34).

In the last days of earth’s history God will have a group of people who love Jesus. They love Him so much that they obey Him (John 14:15). It is more than a matter of days. In the Garden of Eden Satan said to Eve, “What difference does a tree make? All trees are alike.” And Eve lost Eden because she bought into that lie. And many Christians today are buying into a deception. People say, “What difference does a day make, all days are alike.” With God all days are not alike. One day was blessed by God, the seventh. One day was sanctified by God, set aside, the seventh day. And God rested on only one day-“the Sabbath.”

When you really love Christ He is your final authority. His word is your guide. Some things are matters of personal opinion – a change in God’s law is not. To give up the Bible Sabbath, given by God as a sign of His creative Authority, does matter my brother my sister. A change in God’s law matters a great deal.

So what are you up to? The Bible or Tradition. Jesus or Religious Leaders. God’s Law or Man’s Dogmas. God’s Instruction or Human Teaching. God’s Way or Men’s Way. The truth has been made plain. The decision is now yours to make.