“The Lord’s Day” appears just once in Scripture:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet (Revelation 1:10).
We are confident that John was speaking of Sunday because:
- John could have used the term “Sabbath”, but did not. The Sabbath is referred to eleven times in John’s Gospel, so John was not averse to using the term if it applied;
- John’s Lord was Jesus Christ;
- Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week:
Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mark 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
The Lord’s Day is the day Jesus rose from the dead, not the day he died. Without the resurrection, Christ’s death is meaningless. His death is not the most significant event in Christianity – it is his resurrection. Everyone dies. Only Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Scriptural Patterns of The Lord’s Day
The New Testament church quickly began the tradition of meeting on the first day of the week. Among the many examples are:
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. (Acts 20:7)
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. (I Corinthians 16:2)
The New Testament Church and Saturday Services
About 50 years ago, the Catholic Church approved Saturday evening worship as an acceptable alternative to attending church on Sunday. Within the past 20 years, that same trend has surfaced in many non-Catholic denominations.
Saturday evening services are not an attempt to reconcile “The Lord’s Day” and “The Sabbath Day” (see the bottom of this post for addressing the Sabbath). At the root of the decision for Christians to meet on Saturday instead of Sunday is – convenience.
A certain segment of the American population works on Sunday with some (i.e. law enforcement, emergency personnel, extended shift workers, professional athletes, etc.) working the entire day. This is a common argument to officially sanctioning Saturday evening services as a fulfillment of a Christian’s obligations.
But it begs a question: does the lack of attending an officially sanctioned assembly result in a deficient Christianity? A future post will address the specific issues of WHEN the New Testament church should meet – what day(s), what time(s) of day, as well as WHY Christians should meet when they do.
It’s All About You – Right?
The primary reason for church organizations sanctioning Saturday evening services is so Sunday can be freed up for sporting events, family reunions, travel, relaxation, etc. It provides an option of convenience so that one’s life may continue without undue disruption while a perceived spiritual obligation is met.
When three Federal Holidays – Independence Day, Christmas, and New Year’s – fall over a weekend, the holiday’s observance is changed to the following Monday. Therefore, in 2016 Christmas Day, which occurred on Sunday, was officially observed on December 26, a Monday. The reason is simple – it provides the convenience of a three-day weekend.
There are those who mutually choose to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries on a day different than the actual date. The reason is the same – convenience.
We assemble on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In truth, Easter Sunday is redundant to the Christian, as every Sunday is Resurrection Day.
So why would we choose to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on another day of the week? The answer is sobering – convenience. Jesus Christ gave up his life to die in my place and pay for my sins, which was terribly inconvenient for him. Does it seem right that our gathering together to celebrate his sacrifice should only occur when it’s convenient for us?
Hey! What Happened to Keeping the Sabbath?
Keeping the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. Christians don’t keep the Sabbath any longer. So, if it’s no longer a sin not to keep the Sabbath, is it still a sin to kill, steal, covet and commit adultery? Are there only Nine Commandments now? The relevance of the Ten Commandments is a separate topic that will be fully addressed in a later post.