1. Day of rest corresponding to the day of rest after creation (Gn 2:3; Ex 20:8, 11; 31:17).
2. When God gave the Israelites manna in double portion on the 6th day, they asked Moses what it meant; Moses said that half of the double portion was for the Sabbath on the 7th day (Ex 16:2230). This has been regarded as the beginning of Sabbath observance. Cf. Dt 5:1215.
3. God gave the Israelites Sabbath laws requiring, e.g., cessation from work (Ex 20:10) and increased offerings (Nm 28:910). The Sabbath was to be a reminder of creation (Ex 20:8, 11) and of the exodus from Egypt (Dt 5:15).
4. Most Christians regard the OT Sabbath laws as not binding in the NT (see also Sabbatarianism). Jesus defended a breach of the Sabbath commandment (Mk 2:2328): (a) David broke a ceremonial law by eating showbread (1 Sm 21:16); (b) The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; (c) The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.
5. Some OT observances, including the Sabbath. were only foreshadows of Christ (Cl 2:1617).
6. Jewish Christians continued to observe the 7th day as Sabbath for a time, but Sunday* soon emerged, by choice of Christians, as the day of worship because Christ had risen on that day (Mt 28:110); Christ's appearance on the following Sunday (Jn. 20:2629) and Pentecost (see Church Year, 10) helped mark the day. Cf. Acts 20:7; Rv 1:10. Civil regulations for Sunday observance were added at the time of Constantine* I and later. The view developed in 17th-c. Eng. that Sunday is the NT Sabbath (see also Presbyterian Confessions, 3).
7. There is no divinely appointed day of rest in the NT
8. AC XXVIII 5564: It is proper for the Christian assembly to keep such ordinances [e.g., regarding Sunday] for the sake of love and peace, to be obedient to the bishops and parish ministers in such matters, and to observe the regulations in such a way that one does not give offense to another and so that there may be no disorder or unbecoming conduct in the church. However, consciences should not be burdened by contending that such things are necessary for salvation or that it is a sin to omit them, even when no offense is given to others, just as no one would say that a woman commits a sin if without offense to others she goes out with uncovered head.
Of like character is the observance of Sunday, Easter, Pentecost, and similar holy days and usages. Those who consider the appointment of Sunday in place of the Sabbath as a necessary institution are very much mistaken, for the Holy Scriptures have abrogated the Sabbath and teach that after the revelation of the Gospel all ceremonies of the old law may be omitted. Nevertheless, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day so that the people might know when they ought to assemble, the Christian church appointed Sunday for this purpose, and it was the more inclined and pleased to do this in order that the people might have an example of Christian liberty and might know that the keeping neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is necessary.
There are many faculty discussions of the transformation of the law, of the ceremonies of the New Testament, and of the change of the Sabbath, all of which have arisen from the false and erroneous opinion that in Christendom one must have services of God like the Levitical or Jewish services and that Christ commanded the apostles and bishops to devise new ceremonies which would be necessary for salvation. Such errors were introduced into Christendom when the righteousness of faith was no longer taught and preached with clarity and purity. Some argue that although Sunday must not be kept as of divine obligation, it must nevertheless be kept as almost of divine obligation, and they prescribe the kind and amount of work that may be done on the day of rest. What are such discussions but snares of conscience? For although they undertake to lighten and mitigate human regulations, yet there can be no moderation or mitigation as long as the opinion remains and prevails that their observance is necessary. And this opinion will remain as long as there is no understanding of the righteousness of faith and Christian liberty.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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